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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

04 September 2015

04/09/2015 - Teaching | Side Control | Gi Tail Choke

Teaching #383
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 04/09/2015

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 (keep in mind that it is the gi material that will choke them, so keep your fist out of the way), 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. There's also the option of raising your hips and jamming your knee next to their head to increase leverage. I tend to avoid that, as I don't like to give them any space, but it's an option.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: The most common problem was people struggling to straighten their arm. The solution is to move your head further down, past their leg. That enables you to stretch out your body further, giving you the room to straighten your arm without relieving the pressure on your opponent. I also kept emphasising that it was important to keep in mind that this technique means you can return to a safe, solid side control at any point.

On top in specific sparring, I'm being too timid with attacks, locking up kimura type position, but not then trying to switch into armbars due to fear of losing position. Not tight enough on breadcutter under neck, also losing their arm too often. Keep testing, maybe throw in baseball bat too. It would be good to have some less grip dependent subs, maybe even north south choke? Hard to hit that sweet spot on the neck though.

More stiff arm during open mat, working on my frame. Drilling with a beginner, meaning it was easier, but hard to get cross face off. I could wedge my hand in, but tough to getthat properly in place. I switched to the classic stiff arm when that happens, trying to recounter as well (switching arms and directions, like Rockwell shows). Fun times.

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