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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

29 April 2015

29/04/2015 - Open Mat | Saulo Choke & Armbar Combination

Class #641
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 29/04/2015

As I've said many times before, BJJ Library is a brilliant resource. Today, I had a chance to meet up with Chris for some drilling, so I wanted to practice a mount choke variation that Saulo calls, memorably enough, the Saulo choke. From high mount, you start by feeding your hand into the opposite collar, an initial step common to most chokes from mount. For this one, insert your thumb so your hand is palm down. Drive your knuckles right to the floor, then bring your elbow down, pressing your forearm into the side of their neck. You need to turn their head a bit, in order to expose the side of the neck properly.

At this point, you can also lower your head to the mat, making sure you stay on the same side as your palm down grip. The more you bring your head to the other side, the easier it is for them to roll you over. To finish, bring your other hand underneath your own stomach, gripping low on their other collar (I videoed myself doing the technique as a reminder: hence why there is that inset box in the picture, so I can see the second grip without my body obscuring the view). To finish, pull on that collar and twist your body away.

I like going to high mount and continue to go as high as I can, something for which this choke looks well suited. I haven't had a chance to test it much in sparring yet, but I think I could go higher in mount that a standard collar choke, because the second hand doesn't need to go by the neck. It's key to press into the side of the neck, as if you don't, when you drop that elbow you'll end up crushing into their throat. That might still get the submission, but it's not very efficient and I also don't like being that mean. ;)

Handily, the Saulo choke combines well with an armbar too. Set that up as normal, sliding into s-mount with a grip on the arm you want to attack. Having locked the arm to your chest, insert your thumb into their far collar, again dropping the elbow like before to get a forearm into their neck. Keeping a hold of their arm with your forearm, grab their other collar. You can now finish in the same way as before, twisting your body and pulling on the collar for the submission. If you need some extra leverage, lean sideways into their neck (not forwards).

The great thing about this version of the choke is that even if you can't get it, the armbar is still there for the taking. If you maintain your collar grip until you absolutely have to release it, you can switch back to the choke if the armbar isn't working for you.

Speaking of armbars, Chris wanted to practice the armbar from guard when you get stacked. I think I've seen Roy Dean teach this somewhere, but drilling with Chris and listening to his explanation, it clicked. You swivel out as far as you can, a movement that feels intuitive. Where both Chris and I have been going wrong is to then try and swivel even more or somehow roll them over. Chris realised recently that actually, all you need to do is push on their knee after you've swivelled as far as you can.

That puts you in a powerful belly-down armbar, where your entire body is brought to bear on their elbow joint. There's a chance they might try and jump or step over to free their arm, so it's worth grabbing their leg too if possible. However, I found it pretty hard to move once Chris had got into position, so I don't think it's easy to do that. But then that's another one I need to practice more, should be very useful once we get to our month of closed guard in a little while.

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