Your cart
Total: $0.00

BJJ Instructional Videos
John Danaher Leglocks
John Danaher Back Attacks BJJ
Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
Catch Wrestling Techniques For BJJ With Coach Neil Melanson

Catch Wrestling Techniques For BJJ With Coach Neil Melanson


From The Man Who Does Everything Different – Yet All The Big Stars Worship Him

Catch wrestling is a grappling style and combat sport that was developed in Britain in the 19th century. The British term "catch as catch can" is generally understood to mean "catch (a hold) anywhere you can." First popularized by wrestlers of traveling fairs, catch wrestling is the result of a combination of different styles of wrestling, using a unique repertoire of submission holds or “hooks.” When catch wrestling reached the United States in the early 20th century it became popular with wrestlers at carnivals, with the carnival wrestlers offering challenges to locals as part of the “athletic show” in which locals had a chance to win cash rewards.

The anaconda choke and guillotine chokes are two of Neil Melanson's favorite chokes. The Blackzillians MMA Coach Neil Melanson’s Head Hunting Choke Game is one of the most deadly out there, and perfect for no gi grappling and MMA.


In modern times, catch wrestling is still taught around the world. As more and more styles of grappling merge, catch wrestling offers some amazing and unique insights into the world of grappling for any BJJ practitioner. Often times you will see cross training methods employed by high level athletes who no only train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but also study a variety of wrestling, SAMBO, Judo and more.

When it comes to using catch wrestling techniques for BJJ, Neil Melanson has all the years of professional experience as a coach. As the former head grappling coach for the Backzillians, and current head grappling coach at Jaco Hybrid Training center, Coach Neil Melanson is one of the most sought out instructors in the world. Melanson specializes in Catch wrestling, while drawing elements from Judo. He is especially known for his guard work, leg locks and triangle chokes. He has trained under Gene LeBell, Gokor Chivichyan, and Karo Parisyan (who awarded him his black belt). Throughout his career, the professional fighters Melanson has trained include: Randy Couture, Karo Parisyan, Gray Maynard, Todd Duffee, Goran Reljic, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Anthony Johnson, Patrick Cummins and many others. Today we are going to take a look at some catch wrestling techniques for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with coach Neil Melanson. Are you ready? Then let us get started!

Single Leg Sweep

As Melanson explains, the most important thing about this leg sweep is your positioning. Melanson likes to focus on his opponent’s arm using a C grip to cup the bicep. He uses a knee shield to control the distance between him and his opponent. Now when Melanson is ready he can escape his leg, come up, and establish an under hook. Melanson points out his head positioning. It is important to make sure you are using your head to control your opponent as well. Melanson has his head right against his opponent’s head, pressing firmly against his collar bone. Now he can come up to his knees, drive forward, and pick his opponent at the ankle in order to hit the sweep. When finished, Melanson is in the perfect position, controlling his training partner’s legs and ready to pass.

Two Birds One Stone – Triangle

Melanson starts off this technique with an emphasis on the over hook in a tight closed guard. Melanson clinches his training partner’s neck in order to pull him into his guard. On the same side as the over hook, Neil establishes connectivity by placing his foot in his opponent’s waist. Now he can adjust his body positioning, moving away from the center line of his opponent while controlling his bottom leg with his other hand. Neil secures his grip and pulls the arm into towards him like he is setting up an arm bar. From here he switches his grip by using his over hooking arm to trap his training partner’s arm to start setting up the triangle. Coach Melanson swings his leg up and over his training partner’s shoulder. From here he can either hook the leg or under his opponent’s arm. After some further angle adjustments the triangle choke tightens up, causing his opponent to tap.

Power Kimura

The power kimura is a very tight style of kimura arm lock. It uses pressure as its primary advantage. Once you lock up the power kimura, there is very little chance of your opponent getting out of it.  Melanson locks up the grip by hugging his opponent’s arm. He uses the outside of his wrist like a blade to dig into his opponent’s arm, making the position very uncomfortable. His hands are gripping his own tricep and elbow. Melanson sucks the arm tight to his chest, leaving no space his body and his opponent’s arm, preventing him from being able to counter. To finish the submission, Neil pushes his training partner’s head in the direction of the trapped arm. Then he passes over his opponent’s head by smashing it with his thigh. This causes your opponent to turn his head and eventually tap from the discomfort and pressure.

Behind The Back Guard Pass

In this technique, Coach Melanson starts by controlling the insides of his opponent’s arms at the biceps. He uses his head to apply pressure to the chest while establishing a downward grip (opponent’s arm down at his side). Or, he postures before getting the downward grip. Once Neil has that arm under control he puts his head into his opponent’s chest, and stands with a wide base. From here Melanson passes the arm under to his other hand and walks his hips over so that the guy on bottom is now lying on his own arm. Now that arm is secure, Melanson is comfortable with using his arm to posture, get up to his knees, and slide a knee inside the middle of his opponent’s guard, causing it to open. With the guard open, Melanson can push his opponent’s leg to the ground and pass by sliding his knee over the thigh. This sets up Melanson perfectly for the triangle. He uses a cross grip to pull his opponent’s arm, using his chest to trap the arm as he dives to the back , securing the arm and head. Melanson never lets go of the arm, and as he passes this locks up the triangle.

The Snap Guard

The snap guard utilizes a technique in catch wrestling known as the snap down. What is the snap down? It is an over hook behind your opponent’s neck that breaks down his posture and puts you in a very dominant position. Melanson sets this one up this one from single leg half guard. He keeps his knee out to prevent his training partner from countering. From here Coach Melanson blocks his training partner’s under hook by securing an over hook. He keeps his opponent’s wrist away from his body while pivoting with his hand in order to stretch him out and escape his hips. Melanson pivots and applies pressure to his opponent’s arm.

Catch wrestling provides an endless amount of techniques that are great for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and self defense. If you are looking for more amazing catch wrestling techniques then I highly recommend Coach Neil Melanson’s instructional series, “The Catch Wrestling Formula” available exclusively on! It is packed with tons of awesome tips and tricks that will give you a huge advantage over even the toughest guys in your gym. So be sure to check it out! And remember to try these techniques the next time you are on the mats.

The Headhunter Guillotine Series by Neil Melanson is one of the best DVD / On Demand series for those looking to attack and finish no gi chokes including the guillotine choke, darces and other chokes from just about everywhere. Neil's "head hunting" skills are what made him one of the most sought after no gi and MMA coaches. He teaches at Xtreme Couture and Randy himself considers Neil one of the best submission grappling coaches in the world.

Learn The Forgotten Secrets Of The Guillotine – From The Most Deadly Catch Wrestler On Earth.



Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!


Learn More

Half Domination by Tom DeBlass DVD Cover
Catch Wrestling Formula by Neil Melanson
Butterfly Guard Re-Discovered Adam Wardzinski DVD Wrap
Judo Academy Jimmy Pedro Travis Stevens