Baseball Bat Choke
One of the most effective chokes that does not get enough love in the BJJ community is the baseball bat choke. The baseball bat choke is a highly powerful choke that can be used by novices, advanced students, and even no gi competitors. The set ups are endless and it can be attained from a variety of different positions on the ground. The actual mechanics of the baseball bat choke is relatively easy to do, which is another great reason to learn and use it in training. But where should you start?
Learning the Baseball Bat Choke from Magid Hage
To begin, it's highly recommended to check out the work of Gracie Barra's Magid "Gorilla Hands" Hage. He is most well known for his effective use of the baseball bat choke. Check out this short excerpt of his match from 2013 versus the ultra-tough Zak Maxwell.
In the video, Magid's laid back and playful style is on full display as he quickly pulls guard and moves into half guard using his knee shield to keep the incredible strength and pressure of Maxwell at bay. As a viewer, we watch as Zak seems to break through Magid's half guard defenses to come chest to chest with him. To the untrained eye, Zak is beginning to make progress and therein lies the beauty of jiu jitsu. We watch as the incredibly calm Hage easily adjusts his grips several time in Maxell's lapel until he finds the perfect "baseball bat" formation. At about the halfway mark of this short match, you can hear someone yell from the sidelines, "Watch the baseball choke."
As Maxwell continues to maintain "control" on Magid by stapling his lapel to the mat and gripping strongly at the gi on his back, Hage simply bides his time and waits to strike. When Maxwell begins to advance to knee on the belly with the goal of eventually mounting Hage, he falls into Magid's trap and gives him just enough space to be able to turn away rotating his arms into the proper position to finish the choke. Maxwell resists valiantly, but the choke is locked on and the pressure cannot be relieved. He is forced to tap. Also for some more submissions, check out our article "Three Submission Options from Knee on Belly."
In the short instructional below, Magid Hage teaches virtually the same variation. Check it out!
The Sneaky Nature of the Baseball Bat Choke
Pay special attention to the inherent sneakiness of the the baseball bat choke. If the grips are properly set up, the opponent has very little time with which to react and counter. As the opponent begins to make progress by seemingly taking away the knee shield, the trap gets set. As the person smashes you down, you are able to simply hip out and perform a sweep attempt. This sweep attempt makes the opponent feel as though they have escaped your half guard and they can begin controlling the bottom person in side control. But little do they know, the end is near as with one simple twist of the body away from the opponent while maintaining the baseball bat grip, a powerful and deadly choke is applied.
So from the top person's perspective, the entire sequence feels like they are winning and making progress and getting to more and more of a dominating position. But in the end, the mousetrap is set and the they find themselves without blood to their brain and quickly forced to tap out before they pass out. Such a beautifully sneaky technique, we must add it to our arsenal.
Check out this world class instruction from one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors of all time, Murilo Bustamante below where he displays all of the key details to a good and classic baseball bat choke.
To Learn More tricks and techniques from the one and only Murilo Bustamante check out his 2 DVd Set "Old School Crushing pressure and Submissions." This DVD set is perfect for people of any age, height, weight, fitness level, health level, belt level, and over all build. Murilo has a slow and methodical approach to bjj, he does not use athleticism, flexibility, and super complicated moves!
The Baseball Bat Choke from Side Control
Try the technique from side control. From side control, you can start to work the choke. Grab the collar, thumb in, almost behind your partner’s head. With your other hand, go four fingers into the collar, trying to get both of your hands close together. From the grips, scissor your elbows together and spin with your head to your partner’s body to finish the choke and get the tap. BJJ legend, Kurt Osiander shows how to attack the baseball bat from side control.
The Baseball Bat Choke form Other Positions
A popular way to attack the choke is from the knee on belly position. Knee on belly provides two great ways of attacking with it. You can go after it with the standard grip that you use for it from side control. But you can also attack it with another way. You can use the skirt of the kimono to submit your partner as well. If you can get your partner’s gi undone from under the belt, you can get the choke. It adds for a slightly fancy, yet effective way of finishing the baseball bat choke. Renzo Gracie black belt, Shawn Williams shows how to use the gi skirt to get the tap.
Gripping the Baseball Bat Choke For No Gi
But you don’t have to have a gi on to play with the baseball bat choke. It is also available when it comes to no gi. There are two main ways of gripping the choke for no gi. With these grips, you can either use a gable grip or an s-grip. Both are viable, and are good. It depends on how you like to finish the choke, and what works for your body type. The way to finish the no gi version is slightly different. Instead of getting the little spin that you get with the gi version, you sit out into a modified scarf-hold and finish with the same mechanics. This is one of my favorite side control attacks for no gi training.
This is a proven choke. It just needs to be used more in competition. If you attack with this choke, even if you don’t finish your opponent, you will almost certainly open up another attack. This choke does not give your opponent time to rest or catch their breath. If you think this technique could fit in your game, then give it a try. You could be pleasantly surprised with the results!
Now that you've studied this baseball choke primer, it's time to dig deeper into the world of chokes and take advantage of two time Judo Olympian and John Danaher black belt Travis Stevens' extensive experience with the art of strangulation in his "Chokes" DVD available today for only $47!
Also if you would like more tips and another resource to improve every single aspect of your Jiu Jitsu check out 5x Black Belt World Champion, Bernardo Faria's FREE E-book download. This is an excellent tool to see inside the mind of one of the best to ever do it.