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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

15 December 2011

15/12/2011 - Teaching (Attacking the Back)

Teaching #032
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 15/12/2011

Last time I taught attacking the back, I went with the very basic rear naked choke. This time, I wanted to continue keeping things simple by moving on to an equally basic submission. The main difference is that this one uses the collar, so isn't 'naked' like the RNC. I know it as the sliding choke, but I imagine there are various names for it.

Before I started, I wanted to quickly run through the five points I mentioned in a previous lesson for maintaining the back, as there were a couple of beginners there (most notably a friend of my gf's who agreed to pop down, on the condition I was willing to check out her kung fu class. Should be fun! :D). To recap, those points are:

  • Slide one arm under their armpit and grab a collar, then bring your other arm over their shoulder. If you can't grab a collar, lock your hands
  • Hook inside their thighs with your insteps. Don't cross your feet, or you'll get footlocked
  • Keep your chest pressed against their upper back: they need space to escape, so don't let them have any
  • If they move, follow them with your hips, again to remove any space
  • Keep your head next to theirs on the armpit arm side, which helps you with both control and visibility

So, getting back to the sliding choke, you'll have one arm slid under their armpit, the other coming over their shoulder. Reaching to their nearest collar with your armpit hand, open up their gi, then feed the material to your shoulder hand, getting a deep grip, thumb inside with the four fingers on top. Your armpit hand now goes to their other collar and holds it slightly lower down.

To finish the choke, pull across with your shoulder hand, so that you are curling around their neck. Your armpit hand pulls straight down. The aim of the armpit hand is to take the slack out of their collar, but also to prevent them from turning away to try and escape. To further help with that, make sure you also clamp the elbow of the armpit arm into their ribs.

Both hands are going to be twisting outwards, following the same principle as a cross choke. Finally, to tighten the choke even more, lean back and drive forward with your hips as you twist your hands and cinch the choke. Also note that if they manage to bridge up and put you onto your back, it will be tough to land the submission. Ideally, you want to roll to the side your shoulder arm elbow is pointing towards. That means you can arch back much further, because you are no longer blocked by the floor.

Before you roll, bring the elbow of your shoulder arm slightly back, as if you roll on top of it, you'll lock it in place and find it hard to get the leverage for the choke. Braulio has an interesting tip, relating to the grip. He uses a thumb in grip, and notes that if you have all four fingers on top, that can limit your reach. To extend your range, you can instead just use two fingers, which enables you to curl your arm around further.

A related submission is the bow and arrow choke, a favourite of my old instructor and friend Kev Capel (who recently got promoted to black belt, which is awesome). Again grip their collar, but this time, it doesn't matter too much if your hold is a little loose. You then grab their same side pant leg with your free hand. That will enable you to swivel your body, until you can bring your leg over their shoulder (because you have a hold of their pant leg, it should be difficult for them to take advantage when you shift your hooks). Move your other leg up to meet it and cross your feet. You can now use pressure from your legs to effect the choke, pulling on the pant leg if you need to.

As ever, Saulo does things slightly differently. After getting the grip and swivelling, he doesn't try to bring both legs over and cross his ankles. Instead, he simply moves the leg by their head a bit further away, so that he can sit up slightly. That also means the person you're trying to choke naturally rolls onto their side and slides down a bit further, giving you more leverage to effect the choke.

Like with the rear naked choke, you can also trap their arms to make things easier for you. Braulio has another nice tip, for when they're blocking your initial hand. If they are trying to grab your hand, then you might be able to counterattack by grabbing their hand and swinging it out. You can then trap it with your leg, tucking your leg behind their back to lock their arm in place. That means you can pretty much attack with impunity.

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