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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

05 April 2017

05/04/2017 - Teaching | Back | Bow & Arrow Choke

Teaching #649
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 05/04/2017

Tonight, it was time for the signature move at Artemis BJJ, the bow and arrow. Starting from standard back control with a seat-bet grip, you open up their collar with the hand you have under their armpit. Fold it over (a handy tip from James '300' Foster), then grip it with the hand you have over their shoulder. Don't grip too high, or you'll lack the range to finish the choke.

Next you want to get hold of their non-choking side leg. If you're having trouble grabbing it, Dónal suggests using your same side heel to dig in by their knee, curling your leg back. That should bring their trouser leg in range for you to grab with your free hand, establishing a good anchor point. You then want to swivel your body, in order to get your leg-grabbing side foot to the outside of their other thigh.

I tend to push off their non-grabbed leg side thigh with my same side foot, to help me move my other foot over. Once you've got that foot locked in place, you want to keep it there to block them from trying to turn into an escape. Along with your initial grip on their leg, that hook with your foot gives you better leverage to move into the main choking position.

A video posted by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on

To get there, swing out your non-hooking leg. You want to end up with your opponent's head on the thigh of that leg you just swung out. Tuck the elbow of your choking arm back by your hip, as pulling on the elbow is one of the main escapes. To finish, pull your hand down (like you were cracking a whip), pressing your forearm into their head (you can drive with your shoulder too). If that doesn't work, you can try increasing the range by gripping with less fingers (though this does make your grip weaker). Putting a leg over their shoulder and then crossing your feet can give you more leverage, as you can then thrust your hips up into the choke.

If that still isn't getting the choke, try bringing the hand that was gripping their leg behind their head, driving it through to push their head forward as you lock in the choke. For even more leverage, you can bring it under their arm. That then sets you up for yet another follow-up submission: the armbar is right there from that position.

Teaching Notes: On folding the gi over, it is just the one fold, rather than scrunching it up (as the idea is making a wedge to slide in, so bunching up lots of material is counterproductive). With hand positioning, that's going to vary depending on things like arm length, but I could do with some general market: chest, maybe? The main thing I'd like to try differently next time is foot positioning. Up until now, I've been saying to switch your instep over to the opposite hip. It may be easier to instead go with Donal's version, where he pulls his heel inwards on the leg-gripping side. That brings their leg to your hand, beginning the twist of their body which puts them where you want.

I didn't go through all the many submission follow-ups this time, just putting legs over the shoulder. It is handy to know the follow-ups, but there's a risk of overloading people with that. I could teach them in a separate class some time, perhaps? I just need to work out the best way of splitting it if I do that. Also, I teach an upright version of the bow and arrow. It's worth noting there is a version where you lean back instead, which would perhaps be worth teaching some time. I'm not keen on that one, as I find it limits the follow ups, but quite a few people end up leaning back because that's the instinctive way to add leverage. I don't want to be telling them that's 'wrong', because there is a version that does it like that, it's just not the way I prefer to do it.

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