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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

27 October 2014

27/10/2014 - Teaching | Side Control | Gi Tail Choke

Teaching #220
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 27/10/2014

I first learned this choke at RGA Bucks from Matt Burn, back in 2010. It's become one of my main offensive options from side control since then, though I still don't have a good name for it. Gi tail choke will do for now, until I can come up with something better. It starts from the classic side control position, with an arm under the head.

Open up your gi with your far hand. In sparring, you'll sometimes find that your gi is already open, or you may need to be sneaky about it (e.g., from reverse scarf hold, so they can't see what you're doing with your gi). Punch that gi tail inside their arm, then feed the gi lapel to your other hand (that should still be under their head). Once you have the gi tail in place, get a firm grip: you may want to keep on feeding it further to make your grip even more secure.

Cinch it tight to their neck, straightening the arm you have under their head. Put your free hand on the floor by their same side hip, to stop them following you (always a good idea if you are transitioning to north-south). Keeping your upper body low, walk your legs around towards their head, as if you were going to north south. At the same time, move your head towards their near hip: they will probably tap before you get there, but if not, keep going until you can put your head next to their hip. If the submission still isn't happening, make sure you're keeping your arm straight and pressed into their neck, so that your gi lapel digs into the other side of their neck.

Teaching Notes: I'm not sure whether to add in details about hiding the gi tail in your hand, though that is useful. The difficulty with teaching this technique is that although I know from experience it's a good submission, if people are expecting it, then it's clearly going to be much tougher to apply. So, that meant progressive resistance was more challenging than usual, as the person on the bottom focuses heavily on blocking that gi tail going by their neck.

So, I instead emphasised that students should be thinking about how they would progress from that submission attempt to something else, paying close attention to the reactions of their training partner. If they are blocking the choke, perhaps they are leaving themselves more vulnerable to a joint-lock, or they forget about defending against getting mounted. This lesson could then become a handy exercise in combining techniques and the important 'chess' element of BJJ, where you're thinking a few moves ahead.

Having said that, there are lots of beginners in the class: is it too early for them to attempt thinking several steps ahead, before they've got a solid grasp of the fundamental submissions? I'll see how it goes in future lessons and if any of the beginners start trying this attack. It might be one to leave to the longer lessons at PHNX Fitness, so I have the scope to fit in a follow-up technique. As ever, we'll see. :)

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