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Beyond the Basics: Roy Dean Explores the Triangle Choke

Beyond the Basics: Roy Dean Explores the Triangle Choke



The triangle choke is one of those fundamental moves that every white belt learns.  (But, honestly, it's not a move with which many white belts find a great deal of success).

To succeed at the Triangle Choke, a new BJJ player needs to keep at it.  This means attempting the triangle only to fail or, worse, to have your teammate use your triangle attempt as an opportunity to easily slip past your guard.

Those fumbling attempts (and failures) are a rite of passage in Jiu Jitsu, so--if this describes your current relationship with the Triangle Choke--don't beat yourself up.  Instead, keep trying.  Those attempts will pay dividends down the road.

In the video below, Roy Dean demonstrates the basics of the Triangle Choke from guard--the one we all learned in the first few weeks of our BJJ journey (0:30).


As his training partner reaches back to try to pass his guard, Dean uses that opportunity to swing his leg through the empty space where his partner's arm used to be.  He circles his partner's neck with that leg.  Then, he locks the triangle by clamping the back of his other knee around the top of the foot circling his teammate's neck.

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After that, Dean positions his teammate's trapped arm so that it is lying across his torso (if necessary) and reaches behind his teammate's head to pull his head down and tighten the choke even further.

After going through the basics of the Triangle Choke, Dean spends a good deal of time showing how the Triangle Choke can grow with you as you progress on your BJJ journey (beginning at 1:24).  

For Dean, it's a submission that's available from any number of positions, not just from the closed guard.

For instance, Dean shows how we can attempt the Triangle Choke without waiting for our opponent to begin a guard pass attempt (1:38).  In this case, Dean uses his knee to break his teammate's grip on his hip, pushing his leg over his partner's arm and around the neck.

Approaching from a spider guard, Dean shows us just how close that foot on our opponent's biceps is to a Triangle Choke (1:47).  In this case, he simply allows his foot to slip over the arm and around the neck.

Of course, the best attacks in BJJ involve deception.  And Dean shows how he uses an attempted guillotine choke to bait his opponent into pulling his arm in to protect his neck (2:07).

Once his training partner's arm is tucked in against his neck defending the guillotine, Dean has all the room he needs to swing his leg around and over his opponent's head, again setting up the Triangle choke.

Even an omoplata attack can lead to a triangle, as Dean shows us (2:33).  This time, instead of staying in the head-to-tail position needed for the omoplata, Dean surprises his teammate by spinning himself back to a position facing him.  From there, he circles his free leg around his partner's neck where it can easily lock with the other leg that remained under his partner's arm from the omoplata.

As Dean demonstrates, triangles are even available from mount or the back (turtle).  

Attacking from the mount (3:02), Dean slips his leg behind his opponent's neck.  A pivot to the other side of his opponent then provides the space for Dean to lock his legs into the Triangle.

From the turtle (4:23), Dean releases one hook as he's on his opponent's back and slides that leg under his opponent, below his opponent's arm and out beside his neck.  Dean's momentum spins his teammate around and toward him, where he can finish the triangle easily.

As if all of these approaches to the Triangle Choke aren't enough, Dean points out how the Triangle can itself be a holding position to set up other submissions (3:40).  A Triangle hold allows Dean to control his opponent's body, making it easier to isolate a limb and attack it while they are unable to defend.

Blue Belt Requirements 2.0 by Roy Dean  Digital

All in all, Dean offers a dizzying number of approaches to the Triangle--both as a choke and as a hold--in this video.  That means it's unlikely that you'll use everything he has to offer here, but you'll likely find one situation where Dean uses a triangle and you never imagined one was available. Check out his Blue Belt Requirements 2.0 instructional!



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