Triangle Choke

Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) wearing traditional gis demonstrate the Triangle Submission

This is a deceptively tight choke since visually it appears to be just a variation of the Guard position. 

In this choke, the defender’s carotid arteries are blocked on one side by the attacker’s leg and on the other side by their own shoulder. Once the defender’s posture is broken down, it is very difficult for them to recover it in this position since the attacker’s weight is centered so high on the defender’s body, and the defender must be careful about using their arms to push themselves up as they can quickly find themselves being caught with an Armbar or Omoplata submission. In fact, the Triangle, Armbar, and Omoplata submissions are all very closely related in terms of body positioning, and from any one of these positions it is easy to transition to the either of the other two. When chained together, they can make a powerful combination.

Key Triangle Details

Important details for the attacker (person in  blue gi):
  1. The angle makes the strangle. To finish this submission it is important to achieve the proper angle relative to the defender. In the image above, the attacker is square with the defender, which will make it more difficult to finish this choke. To tighten the choke, the attacker should take their right hand (the one currently holding the defender’s arm), release the arm and underhook the defender’s leg on that same side. Using this leverage, the attacker should be able to rotate their body 90º relative to the defender, which will make the attacker’s right leg push deeper into the carotid while also pushing the defender’s shoulder deeper into the carotid on the other side.
  2. Make sure the defender’s arm is across the centerline of your body. In order for this choke to work, you need to push the defender’s elbow across your body and trap it there. In the image above, the attacker should use their left hand to push the defender’s elbow as far past their right hip as it will go.
  3. Pull down on the head. If you are having trouble finishing this choke, it may be helpful to grab the back of the defender’s head and pull down it down towards your hips. This detail is an insurance policy. It is better to learn to finish this choke without pulling down on the head so that all of the other important details are understood and practiced. However, in situations where a little extra pressure is required, this can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Important details for the defender (person in white gi):
  1. Posture up. To complete this choke, the attacker must break your posture down so that your head is pressed down against your own arm. The best defense is to keep your spine straight and raise your chin towards the ceiling. Keep your posture rigid and tall at all costs.
  2. Build a frame. Do everything in your power to keep your elbow from crossing over the opponent’s belly button. Many people find it helpful drive their elbow into the attackers abdomen and use that pressure to brace their own arm into the attacker’s top leg. This takes strength out of the equation and prevents the attacker from being able to manipulate that arm to secure the choke.
  3. Beware the armbar and omoplata. When defending this choke, never forget that it is very easy for the attacker to transition to two other powerful submissions.

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