Artemis BJJ (PHNX Fitness), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 04/10/2014
Today was the first open mat at PHNX Fitness (directions here: open mats will be every Saturday from 10:00-12:00), where we get a whole two hours to play with technique. As Chris had asked about the breadcutter choke I taught him a while back, I decided to have a play with that. I want to look at two variations, starting with the one I learned from Dónal, then an option I saw Saulo teach on BJJ Library.
Dónal's breadcutter choke is set up by moving towards north-south from side control. They will often reach past your hip when you do that, which leaves a space for you reach under their armpit and clamp it to your side, so that their arm is stuck between your side and your arm. Move back to side control, then with the hand of that clamping arm, grab behind their neck, gripping in the middle of the collar. Cinch that in.
Bring your free arm back towards you, then use that to turn their head away from you. This feels counter-intuitive, as you'd expect to drag that arm back and turn their head towards you. However, you want to expose the near side of their neck. So, bring your arm back, then drive it over their jawline, turning their head away. Grip their far collar with your free hand (this might require balancing on their chest, turned towards their head, which should also help keep them pinned to the mat), then put your forearm into the exposed side of their neck.
To finish, you need to create some pressure into their neck, in order to close off the artery. Turn towards their legs, in a sort of reverse scarf hold position, then use that base from your legs to lower yourself gradually into their neck, keeping your initial gi grip tight. Be careful, as this can come on quickly and it isn't very comfortable.
Saulo's version is a little different. In his breadcutter choke, he starts off by grabbing their far lapel with both of his hands. That means you can use one hand to pull their lapel, feeding your other hand deeper towards their neck. It also means you can push their lapel behind their armpit if they try to shrimp and turn towards you (if you aren't able to keep them flat here, they might be able to recover guard).
When you have that grip by their collar, put your arm into their neck, making sure it's on the side rather than over their windpipe. Reach your other hand to their near side elbow, pulling that elbow up towards their chest. If you can, reach even deeper and grab their shoulder, depending how much space you've got. You can then finish by leaning sideways and pressing into their neck, pulling on the arm. Saulo also mentioned a gentler option is to lean towards their far shoulder instead.
In sparring, working specifically on the breadcutter, I was finding that Chris was often able to turn towards me and get his knee in there, to recover guard. I think the problem was that I started off by getting my arm to the neck and gripping the collar, but I wasn't pushing the lapel into his armpit to keep him flat. Instead, I was hooking the elbow with my knee, as he was tending to flare that when turning.
I got into the step over triangle position as a result, but couldn't finish it. Still, at least that provided some control. I need to remember to be more upright on the triangle, driving the leg more into the neck. When I was underneath, I was staying tight and wriggling back to guard. I'm not doing the basic escape as much as I should, doing a powerful bridge.
After sparring, Chris and I reckoned that we need a follow-up to the choke that combines well. I think the answer could be going for their arm. When we were defending, that arm was starting to come loose. So, I could try attacking for americanas and the like when they defend the neck, after which I can switch back if they defend the americana. Something to play with.
Another purple belt who was there mentioned that he does that choke off a double-under pass, which is something worth keeping in mind. It's a bit meaner than I would like, but a potential attack that would combine nicely. The arm triangle is another submission I could try more from side control. I sort of had it in place in sparring, but lost the arm when I jumped all the way over to the other side. I should have tried finishing it from mount instead, which I'll try next time.