BOW AND ARROW BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is fast becoming the most popular combat sport in the world. As the art has continued to evolve, the innovations within the last ten years have raised the notoriety of the sport exponentially. Even though the rise of international No Gi grappling has taken over the scene, the old traditional art of the Gi will never die. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu started in the early twentieth century as more of a self defense combat system. As the Gracie family began teaching the Martial Art, many of their students were learning the intricate Gi fighting systems. wearing a Gi and learning Jiu Jitsu has always had many pros and cons. As an athlete can utilise grips to neutralise their opponent, or use lapel wraps to choke their opponent out, these components can also be done back to them.
What this article covers:
- What Is the Bow and Arrow in BJJ
- What Is the Most Common Way to Set up The Bow and Arrow
- Variations of The Bow and Arrow Choke
- How to Defend the Bow and Arrow Choke
There are a multitude of different techniques available when learning Gi Jiu Jitsu. Unlike the limited series of No Gi techniques, Gi Jiu Jitsu offers a much more extensive range of functional maneuvers. The Gi is well known for its comprehensive list of bjj chokes, as many of them have multiple variations. Utilising Gi grips in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, gives an athlete an extremely diverse range of options when it comes to setting up submission techniques. Athletes can use their own lapels, as well as their opponents lapels to wrap around their neck, and other parts of their body. The complexity of the Gi components gives the athlete creative control of many variations of each specific technique. However, it is the old school chokes that still reign supreme like the rear naked choke, the bow and arrow choke, the triangle, the cross collar choke, guillotine choke, and the bjj ezekiel choke.
WHAT IS THE BOW AND ARROW IN BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has proven to be a highly systematic form of Martial Arts. The intricate mechanics of Gi Jiu Jitsu may seem complicated to learn at first, but as an athlete begins to develop their game style, they will see how beneficial utilising Gi grips, and lapel wraps can be, when they are attempting to neutralise their opponent. The submission game in BJJ can be quite brutal, as there is a high calibre of choke holds that can be used whilst wearing a weaponized Gi. The bow and arrow choke is one of the most formidable choke holds that an athlete can use wearing a Gi. To execute the bow and arrow the most common place to start from, is having back control on an opponent. From this position an athlete will search for the rear naked choke which is not always possible.
The most common way to initiate the bow and arrow choke is to secure a seat belt grip. Predominantly the seat belt grip consists of one arm around the neck of their opponent, and the other arm underneath their armpit, with their hands linked in a gable grip. Athletes can also use head pressure into the back of their opponent, which can make the control a lot tighter. From here the athlete will take hold of a collar grip, as they attempt to pull the lapel underneath the chin of their opponent. The next step is to angle their hips, and move one of their hooks out of the groin area, and shoot it across the belly of their opponent. From here the athlete will grab hold of a grip on the pants, and use the leverage between the collar grip, and the pants grip to twist away from each other, forcing the opponent into an extremely tight bow and arrow choke. It is named the bow and arrow because the finishing position looks similar to someone pulling back an arrow, and shooting it out of a bow.
WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON WAY TO SET UP THE BOW AND ARROW
Setting up a bow and arrow choke is one of the more fun maneuvers to use in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The extremely tight nature of the bow and arrow choke is extremely similar to how the bjj darce choke is applied. The bow and arrow is almost always set up from the back control position, as this is the best way to gain the most leverage over an opponent with the choke. It is always a good plan to bait an opponent by attempting a rear naked choke, or a military choke with one hand, and as they defend the choke, shoot in the opposite hand underneath the chin, and take hold of the collar grip. This can be a great way to gain control over an opponent's Gi, which is not always easy to do. Sometimes opponents are too good at keeping their chin tucked, as sometimes all the athlete needs to do is take a Gi grip as close as they can toward the chin, and use their other hand lower on the lapel to pull down, which will help shoot their hand up underneath the chin.
The bow and arrow choke is about leverage, and athletes need to remember that taking hold of a collar grip is only one part of the battle. The tricky part is trying to angle an athlete's hips, while grabbing hold of the pants, and doing this while still being able to control an opponent's lapel. An athlete will not just allow this to happen, as they will continuously be moving, framing, and trying to escape. Grip strength in an athlete's hand is extremely important to be able to execute this type of choke. There are other ways to set up the bow and arrow, and sometimes they involve taking a collar grip first from side control, and then using a boat ramp to take an opponent's back, as it can give the athlete significant leverage without having to fight for a collar grip. These are both good methods of attempting a deadly choke like the bow and arrow, and athletes need to persevere with this type of Gi fighting to be successful.
VARIATIONS OF THE BOW AND ARROW CHOKE
Executing a bow and arrow choke can have a variety of different versions. Most commonly after taking a collar grip, an athlete will search down for a pants grip in order to use leverage to twist out their opponent. Sometimes an athlete is too good at hiding their legs, and reaching for a pants grip may not be possible. In this instance after securing a tight collar grip, the athlete will shoot their other hand behind their opponent's neck, grabbing hold of their own wrist, which will almost create a similar choke to an ezekiel choke. This variation of the bow and arrow is extremely tight, and in some cases even tighter than a traditional bow and arrow. Theoretically it is more of a bow choke, as opposed to a bow and arrow, because there is no wide movement with an athlete's shoulders spreading. Be this as it may, the choke is extremely deadly, as athletes will struggle to defend this version.
Another variation of the bow and arrow choke is quite similar to the traditional version, with a slight difference. Most of the setup is the same, as an athlete will take a significant back control position, and grip fight in order to secure a collar grip. Once the athlete has significant control they will use a slightly different technique to gain leverage over their opponent. Instead of shooting their leg across the belly of their opponent, they will unhook their top hook, and drive their shin behind the back of their opponent, as they take hold of a pants grip. This will now put the athlete in an extremely dominant position, where they can execute a bow and arrow choke with the added leverage of their shin driving into the back of their opponent. This can be even worse than a traditional bow and arrow choke, as it can be extremely uncomfortable for the opponent.
Another good variation of the bow and arrow choke is from the side control position. And sometimes athletes are good at shutting down any attacks from the side control position, so a good option is to transition a lot moving from side control to the north south position jiu jitsu, and then back around to the other side landing in side control. This will keep an opponent guessing, and will allow a range of different attacks from either side. Once an athlete can get their opponent settled, they can secure their opponent with a cross face, and then use their other hand to grab the lapel, and feed it across to their cross face hand. This is how they can secure an extremely tight collar grip. From here they can use what is similar to a boat ramp to pull their opponent upward, and slot in slightly behind their back, before using their knees on their back, or their leg across the front of their belly, to initiate the bow and arrow choke. This is a sneaky way to achieve the bow and arrow, and athletes will try this during a range of different attacks. Using baits as a way to attack different chokes is always the best method in successfully securing a Gi choke.
There are many helpful tips that athletes should learn if they want to perfect their bow and arrow choke. The first tip to remember is that securing a collar grip can be difficult if an athlete already has their hooks in. Commonly an opponent is already defensive when an athlete has their hooks in, so it is always a good tip to start looking for the collar grip as they are beginning to thread in their hooks. An opponent will commonly be fighting off the legs, which can make them unaware of the collar grip. Another good tip is in how the collar is actually secured, as quite often an athlete can lose their grip halfway through the choke. It is important to twist the lapel so that the athlete will not lose their grip. Creating a handle will make it extremely hard for their opponent to escape from the grip. Most athletes that finish a bow and arrow choke will slide their leg over the belly, and grab the pants and twist, but for an added bonus they should bring their other leg up over the free arm of their opponent, which makes it impossible for them to defend this choke. The bow and arrow choke is one of the most reliable, and efficient chokes in the Jiu Jitsu Gi arsenal, and all athletes should aspire to become masterful at this technique.
HOW TO DEFEND THE BOW AND ARROW CHOKE
Defending the bow and arrow choke can be extremely hard once an opponent has an athlete deep in their clutches. Like most chokes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an athlete needs to defend the choke in the early stages. This means as soon as an opponent grabs a collar grip they should be framing, and trying to escape before their opponent can get settled. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all about muscle memory, and feeling out the moment, as athletes need to identify how to stop their opponents taking control of their collar. This also means using good blocking techniques, and not allowing their opponent to take a back control position in the first place, because this is the most dominant position in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and can leave an athlete in a lot of trouble if they allow this position to be taken. Sometimes grabbing lower on an athlete's lapel, while their opponent has a collar grip is a good way to stretch out the lapel, in order to get some breathing space back. All of these methods are good for early prevention of a bow and arrow choke.
Sometimes early prevention methods are just not possible, because an opponent may set up quicker, or use different entries for the choke. An athlete that is stuck deep in a bow and arrow choke is usually in trouble. However, there is a way to defend this choke attempt, and the first step for an athlete is to drop their weight down toward their opponents feet, making sure to stay parallel to their opponent. The next step is to drop the crown of their head into their armpit, while they fight their opponent's grip, before they can secure the grip on the pants. From this position they should reach back, grabbing their opponent's elbow that has a grip on the collar and push it forward, as they pop their head free from their opponent's control. Once they have begun to free their head, they should be turning towards their opponent, getting on top, and looking to progress the position, and take back their control.
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