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Bread Cutter Variation with DeBlass Black Belt!
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Bread Cutter Variation with DeBlass Black Belt!

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The more we train the more we learn obviously, and as we begin to develop our game, a key component of that is to spend more time training with more difficult opponent’s.  If as you progress to blue belt you only train with the new white belts so that you can easily dominate them, you will not progress as much as someone who is putting in the mat time with challenging opponent’s, someone who is suffering day in and day out with opponent’s that force them to learn new things. 

One of the first things you will likely realize as you start to level up and train with more experienced grapplers is that in a lot of cases they, much like you, know the vast majority of the submissions you are looking for, and therefore have an easier time defending these submissions.  Because of this, we must get creative with our approach to these submission attempts and look for ways to either surprise the opponent in the setup or surprise them through a submission attempt series that ends with the submission we are looking to get. 

Personally, I have always preferred to look for choke submissions because I like how well it translates in a self defense situation.  Look at it like this, sure, I can armbar someone in self defense, but then there is nothing stopping them from continuing to attack, whereas if you were to look at a strangle submission, you can easily choke the attacker to sleep and get out of the situation without causing any permanent harm to the attacker unnecessarily. 

I came across this variation of the bread cutter choke by Rob Hileman and I really like several things about it.  Before we break down the technique allow me to share my “why I like this so much”. I always like to look at Jiu Jitsu techniques from a self defense perspective.  When thinking about a self defense situation I always like to imagine sort of the “worst case scenario”. In my mind that means this situation is happening in a place that is very crowded with not a lot of room to move around and a lot of objects that could be used as weapons.  In this type of situation, I like to look at techniques that allow me to stay mobile. I’m not interested in being on my back where someone could easily stomp on me or kick me, or anything else. Lets face it, it takes longer to get up and get away when you’re on your back than it does when you are on your toes in top position where you can easily jump up and move quickly if need be. 

Let’s dive in and breakdown Rob Hileman’s take on the bread cutter choke. 

Rob is starting in top side control with his opponent defending by simply keeping their hands in the middle of their chest and keeping their elbows tight, which is very common in this position as it makes it very hard to start attacking or eliminating arms from the equation.  Rob is initially starting with his knees tight to his opponent with a standard cross face with his left arm. With his right hand Rob is under hooking the opponent’s left arm and cupping the bicep leaving him in a position where the opponent’s left arm and shoulder are off of the mat.  It is likely at this point the opponent is beginning to worry about the threat of an arm attack on his left arm because of how Rob is controlling it.  

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Next Rob is looking to switch his ride as many call it, essentially switching which side of his opponent’s body his hands are on.  To do this he first removes the cross face and brings hit left arm under the opponent’s left arm trying to bury their left hand in his armpit.  As he does this he can then remove his right hand and place is on the mat next to the opponent’s right hip to block their hips from moving. As he is moving his right hand to block the hips he is circling slightly towards the opponent’s head to make space for his right hand on that side of the body.

Once his right hand is in place he comes up on his toes and circles around the opponent’s head to the other side of the opponent’s body laying his right hip on the left side of the opponent’s face stopping here in a north south position.  In this position he is looking to flip his right hand under the opponent’s right arm pit so he can secure a four finger in grip on the lapel, which is the first grip that is needed for this choke. After securing the first grip he then works his way back to the original side, once again, on his toes ensuring to keep pressure on his opponent at all times.  As he is circling he uses his left hand to pin his opponent’s left elbow to the mat ensuring it can not interfere with his plan.  

As he makes it back to the original side he then switches control of the opponent’s pinned left arm and uses his head to keep it pinned freeing up his arm.  With this free left arm he can now lead with the elbow dragging it across the opponent’s neck, ensuring it is under the chin and when in position he can get his second grip on the lapel using a thumb in grip.  He is now in position to finish the choke submission. 

In order to finish Rob drops his left elbow to the floor first, and then slides it tight to the opponent’s ear, this increases pressure and reduces their ability to escape.  From here he simply stretches his left leg back allowing him space to drop his left him putting nearly all of his weight on his opponent. As you can see in the video clip, it doesn’t take long to get the tap once you start dropping your hip and the pressure begins to build.  

Again, from a self defense perspective I really like this because it could be done with various different clothing for one, and secondly, Rob is constantly in a position where he could quickly and easily abandon the position and get out of there if the situation turned from bad to worse.  It’s important that while training Jiu Jitsu we always consider it from not only a Gi or No Gi situation but also from a self defense perspective.  

Alpha Male Self Defense by Dean Lister

If you are looking to incorporate additional real world self defense training that is Jiu Jitsu based and will coincide with what you are already training, consider adding Dean Lister’s Alpha Male Self Defense to your video instructional arsenal.  There is no doubt that you will walk away with several tips and tricks that Dean and his Navy Seal friend have developed to give you the best chance at survival and self defense in the sometimes brutal world we live in. 

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