Strangled by an opponent’s legs and unable to escape, your opponent search for a way out, knowing that if they fail, it could be all over. The triangle choke is technical, yet simple, and it is like the gift that keeps on giving if you can lock this position correctly. When you use it in your BJJ strategies, you’ll find yourself competing against your opponents even better than before.
The triangle chokeis a formidable move in BJJ, with a long and storied history. It was developed in judo and then brought over to the world of BJJ early on in the art’s development, and it has been a highly effective position for both sport grappling and self-defense. This move involves applying pressure to an opponent’s neck using both arms and legs — to choke them out.
Learning how to do a triangle choke and having the ability to execute and defend it can make or break your ground game. That’s why it’s an absolute skill for any grappler.
Though it is a devastating move on its own, multiple variations of the technique exist to make it even more so. Let’s get started, and explore these different variations and how they can be applied in live combat.
There are some variations of the triangle choke, but this hold is a way to control your opponent’s upper body and limit his fighting freedom. It is a ground-based submission that cuts off the blood flow from the carotid arteries to the brain, leaving your challenger unconscious.
This technique is applied like a triangle, using your legs to form a choke. It involves encircling one opponent’s neck and one of their arms with your legs while trapping the other arm by placing it between your legs. Then, using a combination of controlling pressure and bodyweight to choke them out.
To execute the triangle choke, it is necessary to get the opponent into a position where they are on their back in closed guard, and you have control of one of their arms. Then while keeping control of the arm, you push that arm behind your opponent, having your legs wrap around their neck and your ankles come together, forming a triangle shape to create pressure on their neck.
The key to this technique is trapping your opponent’s shoulder. Your thigh and shin hold the opponent in place while your other leg safely pins the arm. Once you’re in the position, your competitor will be looking to posture up. To prevent them from doing so, you’ll need to pull their head inwards (towards your body) and keep your knees against their body to maximize the effectiveness of the choke.
Here are four unique triangle choke variations along with a breakdown of the crucial details needed to execute them.
Developed by the legendary Estima Brothers, the inverted triangle choke is a popular type of choke in the grappling world. While the mechanics might look easy at first, you need an understanding of leverage to pull it off!
This effective submission starts from a side control position and is a great way to attack from half-guard. It begins with your far side leg, which you need to put over their head. Then, immediately use the opposite leg to secure the hold into a choke.
One of the chokes you can do in BJJ is the rear triangle choke. It’s frustrating for your opponent to battle with, and it keeps them stuck in a position for as long as you can keep it up. You may encounter a lot of defensive postures from your opponent, but this submission will be your solution to finish them off fast.
The rear triangle choke works like the rear-naked choke, but it is applied around the waist and across the neck. This attack can be effective when you are in your opponent’s guard using the seatbelt position. You will want to place one of your arms outside one of theirs and then place that same side leg over the opponent’s neck to secure the leverage you need for a successful choke. If executed correctly, your opponent will have no chance of escaping from this submission hold which can lead to unconsciousness after just a few seconds.
While you’ve seen all the triangle chokes so far are predominantly applied with the legs, you can also apply a very similar choke using many of the same principles, this time with yout arms.
All you need to do is strangle one hand on your opponent’s neck with their one hand trapped in between. Your head should be at the side of your competitor’s shoulder. Then, lock it palm to palm with your other hand. In this technique, your other foot should be straight with your opponent’s side, while you stretch your other leg on the side for support. Other than your other elbow and feet, all parts of your body should be off the floor.
To give it pressure, use your body’s movement to power the choke by moving yourself forward. Now, it is harder to escape from because your arms help you put it on.
The side triangle is a choke hold which is most effective when trying to execute a choke from the side on your opponent, who has taken a turtle position. Most Judo athletes use this technique, but if you are good enough to apply it in BJJ battles, it can make you an ultimate champion.
If your opponent shoots for a takedown, you can use this same submission to choke them out anywhere on the ground. It is an excellent transition if your competitor tries to wrestle their way out of a pinning position or when their arm slips into your legs.
To do this, first, you must grab your knee in between your opponent’s head and arm. Then, have your other foot stepping beside their armpit. After that, grab their hand, hook with your hand, and fall sideways. Your other foot on the armpit side should connect with your other leg, making a triangle choke. Once in that position, pull the locked arm and tighten your hold to choke them out.
A triangle choke isn’t an easy submission to pull off, and many new grapplers find that it can take a while to get the hang of it. If this is you, your best bet is to train in the triangle choke variations that are closest to the choke you’d like to use. Choke expertise comes from years of grappling, but once you’re comfortable with one variation, you should start training with other options.
If you want more in-depth training to master these strategies, the experts at Granite Bay Jiu-Jitsu are always here to help. We train you in the different ways in which you can transition into the triangle choke, prevent your opponent from getting out of this technique, and apply it properly.