We’re all familiar with the saying “With great power comes great responsibility”. As martial artists armed with technical knowledge, it’s our duty to ensure that we execute submissions with great care, especially during training sessions.
For any martial artist who is familiar with the ground game, he/she will know that there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a technical grappler submit his opponent. As we know, submissions are an effective way to finish any grappling match – but actually being able to execute them against a resisting opponent is a completely different story.
When practicing submissions, make sure to do so in a controlled manner. Know how fast to execute them and how to perform them without using full force.
Today, Evolve Vacation breaks down the different choke submissions used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:
Air Chokes (Tracheal chokes)
These types of chokes are usually applied to the front of the throat, usually with the forearm. This action compresses the upper airway passages as an air choke usually pushes on the Adam’s apple and compresses the windpipe.
The guillotine can be executed from a standing position or on the ground and is applied from in front of one’s opponent. When it is executed from the closed guard, it becomes a blood choke. To finish the choke, you must have your arm wrapped around the trachea with your hands clasped. As you pull upwards, this creates pressure to restrict blood flow to the head.
If you are flexible, the gogoplata is a great submission to add to your arsenal. It is usually executed from the guard, more specifically, the rubber guard. With one leg over your opponent’s head and under their neck, the pulling motion you make as you pull your opponent’s head towards you over your shin will help you finish the submission. The motion of pressing your shin or instep against your opponent’s trachea to block air from moving towards the lungs is what categorizes this submission as an air choke. To add more pressure, you can hold your own heel and push up while using your free hand to grab the ball of your big toe, pulling downwards after.
Blood Chokes (Sleeper holds/strangulations)
Also known as carotid restraints or sleeper holds, blood chokes are a form of strangulation that compresses one or both of the carotid arteries and/or the jugular veins without compressing the area. Instead, it restricts blood from flowing to the brain. Compared to air chokes, blood chokes require less physical strength especially if they are applied properly.
The creation of the brabo choke is attributed to BJJ World Champion Leonardo Vieira. Because it is done with the gi, it utilizes one’s lapel and one’s opponent’s collar as a means to restrict blood flow. As you trap your opponent’s arm with your chest, you constantly add pressure with both the trapped arm and a grip on your opponent’s far collar and your own lapel. It can be performed in both the top position and the guard.
The d’arce choke is the no-gi version of the brabo choke and is very similar to the anaconda choke. To apply the d’arce choke, you must wrap both your arms around your opponent’s neck, leaving one arm inside and the other one outside the hold. Just like the brabo choke, the D’arce choke is a blood choke, as it uses the pressure from your arms on your opponent’s neck to restrict blood flow to the brain.
Perhaps one of the most versatile chokes you could add to your arsenal is the loop choke. Quick and effective, they can be executed from a variety of positions, most commonly the butterfly guard. Just like the brabo choke, you will need to utilize your opponent’s collar to finish the choke. The pressure from your deep grip into your opponent’s collar and his own collar is what makes this choke extremely effective. If you’re looking to use the loop choke, remember to have the index finger of your collar touch your opponent’s collarbone and have your head higher than theirs.
If you have an opponent who likes getting into the turtle position, you should probably try the clock choke. The key to the clock choke is staying heavy on your opponent at all times, putting pressure on their back and hips. Once you’ve stabilized yourself and feel like you have enough pressure, you can go ahead and grip your partner’s collar and wrist. When you feel confident enough in your grips, drive forward while pulling on the collar and wrist to finish the choke.
Rear naked choke
Once executed properly, it is very difficult for your opponent to escape the rear naked choke. The rear naked choke is executed from the back control position (hence the name) and requires you to put both your hooks on either side of your opponent’s torso. Doing so prevents your opponent from escaping from the choke. Just like the other blood chokes on this list, it aims to block the oxygen and blood flow to the head.
Simple yet highly effective, the Ezekiel choke is often the choke of choice for people trapped in the closed guard or in the mount. To perform the Ezekiel choke, you would need to use your sleeve as leverage to choke your opponent in a scissoring motion. The pressure of your sleeve and wrist works to block your opponent’s trachea or carotid arteries.
Regardless of whether you are a top game/guard player, the triangle choke is one of those submissions that can be set up many ways and is easy to transition from. Although it is usually considered to be a risky submission because it involves being on your back and giving up a dominant position, it is one of the easiest and most natural submissions you could ever land.
One of the easiest ways to get the triangle choke is from the closed guard, while you control one of your opponent’s arms. The moment you open your guard, quickly use one foot on your opponent’s hip to help you get your other leg over his/her shoulder and lock both your legs. To finish the choke, you must put your hand behind your opponent’s head and pull him/her towards you.
Remember, when using submissions during sparring in class, do execute them with care and caution. Try to avoid using speed and strength whenever you can and rely on your technical knowledge to help you finish your opponent. Also, try to have some transitions in mind. If you are going against a skilled opponent, the odds of you finishing the first submission attempt can be slim – don’t forget to have a backup plan!
So tell us, which of these chokes will you add to your arsenal?