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BJJ TRIANGLE
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BJJ TRIANGLE

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In most combat sports, winning will usually happen by knockout, or by points, but Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all about the submission. Grappling has evolved considerably since the Gracie family first introduced the sport, and the rise of the modern day concepts have taken the art by storm.

What this article covers:

Leg entanglement positions, berimbolo transitions, and intricate lapel guards are all becoming the go to maneuvers for many high level athletes. Even though the modern technique has become popular, it is the old school traditional Jiu Jitsu that still reigns supreme, and this is measured by the effectiveness of which submissions are the most successful at the world class professional level. 

Perfect your Triangle Chokes with one of the most revered technicians in BJJ, Rodrigo Cavaca with the help of BJJFanatics.com.

triangle choke bjj

The triangle submission is number three on the list of all time submission moves, which is only beaten by the arm bar, and the rear naked choke. All three of these moves are iconic traditional submissions taught by early pioneers of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The triangle submission is one of the most brutal choke holds in the business, and athletes will commonly set this maneuver up from the guard position. However the triangle can also be set up from most of the control positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, including from the standing position. The high calibre of this traditional choke hold is extremely formidable, as even the modern day athlete has innovative ways to enter into these different triangle positions.

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WHAT IS A TRIANGLE IN BJJ

There are different meanings for the triangle in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Essentially it does refer to the act of a triangle being formed either with an athlete's arms, or legs. The most common meaning of the triangle refers to the submission. The triangle is one of the top three most utilised submissions in professional grappling. To secure the triangle an athlete will use both of their legs, with one leg shooting over the neck, and the other leg underneath the armpit. Both legs will connect into a position called the mix, and from here the athlete will pull their shin down into the back of their opponent's neck, as their other leg hooks over the foot, creating a triangle lock. To finish the submission the athlete will make sure to pull their opponent's arm across their throat, and cut to a forty five degree angle with their hips, as they squeeze with their legs. Pulling down the head can also add extra pressure into the choke, as well as pinching their knees together.

The triangle can also be applied with an athlete's arms, and chokes like the head and arm triangle, the darce choke, and the anaconda choke all use arm triangles to finish their opponent. Triangles are also utilised when an athlete takes their opponent's back, as they can bypass the hooks, instead securing a body triangle. Triangles can also be effective in the leg entanglement game, as some of the positions require an athlete to use a triangle with their legs to isolate their opponent's leg. The inside sankaku, or otherwise known as the saddle position is one of the major positions that athletes can attack their opponents for heel hook submissions. The use of triangles in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are extremely effective, and are fundamental concepts taught to all levels of the sport.

VARIATIONS OF THE TRIANGLE

There are many different entries into the traditional triangle from the guard position. Athletes will try all sorts of maneuvers like utilising a double wrist grip, before shooting a leg high up and over the neck. Setting up an omoplata, or an arm bar, before switching back into the triangle position is another common method. Athletes have other intricate ways of isolating an arm and the neck, like the rubber guard, or highly advanced lapel wrapping techniques, in order to initiate a triangle set up. Achieving the triangle from the guard is the most successful position that athletes can attempt this choke hold from, and with the high success rate of this submission, all athletes in BJJ need this choke hold in their arsenal.

The mounted triangle is another iconic way for athletes to secure the triangle submission. This is a triangle that can be achieved from the mount, or from the side control position. The most common way to secure the mounted triangle is from the s-mount position. This involves an athlete keeping their knee close to their opponent's shoulder, while their other leg is in a forward position with their foot sprawled out, trapping underneath their opponent's armpit. The opponent will always be trying to turn onto their side, and this will help an athlete to attempt the mounted triangle. The athlete will secure a grip on their opponent's arm, as they look to clear that arm, and shoot their leg around the neck of their opponent. There are two common ways to finish this choke, with the first being just to apply pressure downwards on the back of the tricep, and connecting their knee to the back of their heel. The other way to finish this choke is to lift their shin up into the back of their opponent's neck, as they thread their other leg underneath their foot to create a triangle. From here the athlete can simply pull up their opponent's head to finish the submission, or keep hold of their shin, and roll over onto their back, where they can finish in the more traditional guard position.

The flying triangle is one of the more intricate triangle setups in the BJJ arsenal. This is usually only attempted by highly athletic individuals that are extremely brazen. The flying triangle is commonly executed from the standing position, but can also be used by a standing athlete on a seated opponent. From the standing position the flying triangle will usually happen during a grip fight. The athlete will start by securing a wrist grip, and an over hook on their opponent. From here they can shoot their leg up behind their opponent's back on the over hook side, as they let go of the wrist a post off the mat. This will force their opponent to also post off the mat, and at the same time the athlete will shoot their other leg around the neck into a deadly triangle position.

The reverse triangle is another way that an athlete can secure a choke hold on their opponent. Even though this submission is not as common as the traditional triangle choke, it can be just as deadly if done the right way, and at the right time. The best time to switch into a reverse triangle is when an opponent defends the traditional triangle. Sometimes when an athlete has their opponent locked in a triangle, the opponent will be able to free their arm from against their throat, and place it towards the mat. This is the perfect opportunity to switch into the reverse triangle, which is basically using their other leg to come from behind the armpit, threading across the back of the neck, as their leg in front of the neck locks off the triangle. This choke is not as high percentage as a normal triangle, but what it can do is that if the opponent does not tap then the athlete can easily lock on to a kimura, or a wrist lock from this choke hold position.

The teepee is another modified triangle submission that is extremely useful, especially for athletes that have shorter legs. Sometimes when an athlete shoots their leg over the neck for a triangle, they do not have the dexterity, or the flexibility to pull the shin down far enough to lock off the triangle. This is where using the teepee comes into play, as all the athlete has to do to finish this choke is shoot their leg over the neck, while crossing their ankles with their leg that is underneath the armpit. Once they have this position, they can reach their hands up behind their hamstrings, connecting an s-grip, and using the power of their arms and their legs to squeeze inwards on either side of their opponent's carotid arteries. This can be an extremely brutal choke, and one that is highly successful.

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DEFENDING THE TRIANGLE

Triangle defense is an extremely important aspect for all athletes to master. The triangle submission is one of the most successful, and popular submissions used by most high level athletes. There are multiple ways to defend the triangle choke, with one of the most common ways starting from a postured position. The athlete will use their knees to pinch their opponent's hips, as they connect their hands together in a gable grip, and use their forearm as a frame in their opponent's hips. From here they will use good posture to straighten their spine, keeping their chin upwards, and this will stop a high percentage of triangle attacks. Once the athlete is in a formidable postured position, they can look to stack their opponent, which will force them to open their triangle. The athlete will then free their neck from the locking mechanism, and execute an easy pass into the side control position.

If an athlete finds themselves stuck deep in the triangle with their arm already across their throat, they are basically in the death zone. From here the athlete can still escape, and it starts by using their free hand to grip onto the knee of their opponent, and connecting their other hand that is trapped in the triangle, over the top of their own hand. This will create a two on one knee grip, as they begin to pull the knee down towards the mat, and use the power and momentum in their body to stack their opponent. At the same time the athlete will move slightly to the side, as this will force their opponent's triangle to begin to break open. From here the athlete can start to push the knee to the mat, and slide their knee over their opponent's leg, and pressure pass straight through the middle of their opponent.

THE ARM TRIANGLE

The head and arm triangle is an extremely common submission that is used from the mount, or the side control position. From the mount position the athlete will scoop their hand underneath their opponent's elbow, as they walk their hand towards their head. This will isolate their opponent's arm, as they look to trap their tricep with the back of their head, and at the same time use their other hand to thread around their opponent's neck. From here the athlete will connect their hands with an s-grip, as they dismount their opponent, and apply pressure to the neck, as they lower their body to the mat. The bjj arm triangle choke can also be applied from the guard, as the athlete can simply arm drag their opponent, and shoot underneath the arm, while threading their arm around the neck. This choke can be finished from the guard, or the athlete can slot in a butterfly hook, which will allow them to sweep their opponent and finish it from side control.

The arm triangle can also be set up straight from the side control position. A good way to set this choke up is by using the gift wrap control. From the side control position the athlete will secure a tight cross face, as they allow their opponent to turn away onto their side. From here they will use chest pressure to force the top elbow across their body, as they feed the arm across the throat and to the cross face arm. The athlete will secure the wrist from underneath the head, and can now shoot their other hand straight around the neck. This will enable the athlete to connect their hands together in an s-grip, and begin squeezing the head and arm choke. An important tip to note is that instead of fighting their opponent's frames by pressuring straight down into the choke, moving in a downwards angle to apply pressure to the neck is an easier way to finish the choke.

The darce choke is another variation of an arm triangle choke, and is one of the most formidable strangle holds in the business. Many modern day athletes utilise the darce choke at the world class level, because of the versatility of entries into this submission. The darce choke can be secured from every control position there is in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, including many sneaky ways after transitioning from an escape. The simple mechanics of a darce choke is to thread the near side arm underneath the armpit, and up around the back of an opponent's neck, while cupping onto the bicep of their other arm that will reach over the top of the head. It is important to make sure an opponent's head is not postured up, and that the athlete's chest is trapping the back of their opponent's tricep, and this is the best way to get a tight choke that an opponent will struggle to defend. 

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THE INSIDE SANKAKU

In the modern era of grappling the leg entanglement game has become an extremely popular position to attack submissions from. The inside sankaku is a position where athletes can attack heel hooks, toe holds, and knee bars from. Sankaku is the Japanese term for triangle, so this translates into an inside triangle, which is secured on the isolated leg of an opponent. This position requires an athlete to be on the inside of their opponent's leg, as they thread their leg underneath their opponent's leg, and around the outside, before threading it back over the top towards the inside. Their second leg will hook over their foot, creating a triangle, while their free hook can control the opposite leg by hooking underneath the hamstring. This has become one of the most popular leg entanglement positions used by world class No Gi athletes like Craig Jones, Gordon Ryan, Eddie Cummings, Nick Rodriguez, and Gary Tonan. 

THE BODY TRIANGLE

The body triangle is a tight control position that is secured from the back control position. Usually when an athlete takes their opponent's back they will secure both of their hooks, which is two feet in their opponent's groins, and this control will earn them four points in IBJJF competition. The body triangle is a position where the athlete will slide one of their hooks across their opponent's belly, as their  other leg will hook over the top of their own foot.

Perfect your Triangle Chokes with one of the most revered technicians in BJJ, Rodrigo Cavaca with the help of BJJFanatics.com.

bjj triangle

This will create a body triangle that can force a lot of pressure into the opponent’s rib cage. For an added control, the athlete can hook their free foot behind the hamstring of their opponent, and this can make it extremely tough to escape from. In the ADCC the body triangle is a position that is rewarded with three points, and in the modern format this can be highly advantageous for a competitor. 

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