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Catching The Side Triangle Choke While Passing The Guard
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Catching The Side Triangle Choke While Passing The Guard

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When it comes to developing your game, everyone will likely have slightly varied preferences as to what submissions you like, how you like to pass the guard and so on.  

I’m personally a big fan of the triangle choke from anywhere it’s possible. The triangle choke gives you the opportunity to control your opponent with the strongest muscles in your body, all while freeing up your hands to land strikes if necessary, in a self defense situation.  To be clear, sliding a crisp jab into your opponent's face at a Jiu jitsu tournament is a sure fire way to get disqualified, and it’s just not a nice thing to do. Professor John Danaher calls the triangle choke “the most versatile submission there is” when discussing the submission for his video instructional “Triangles: Enter the System”.

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Professor Danaher has quickly become known around the world in the Jiu jitsu community for being one of, it not the most detailed instructors in the sport.  Professor Danaher’s attention to detail, body mechanics, and philosophy of always working to have the advantage and not expending energy unless it’s getting you closer to that goal has made his instructional videos among the best selling and most sought after around.  There is no doubt his entire Enter the System series is packed with details to help grapplers at all levels take their game to the next level.  


While there are tons of triangle submissions to look at from Professor Danaher’s series, one that I find particularly fascinating is the side triangle while guard passing.  Let’s breakdown how this submission happens.

First, we start standing in front of a seated opponent, as we would with many guard passes.  Professor Danaher notes that any time your opponent is seated they will almost always be reaching for you and in doing this they are exposing their upper back making it easy for you to grab the back of their shoulder.  The first thing we are working to do is two fold, one, we begin hand fighting and working to distract the opponent in order to achieve the grip on the back of the shoulder, while at the same time working to step in deep between the opponents legs with our leg on the same side as the shoulder blade grip we worked to get.  In doing this, the other leg should remain back outside of the opponents’ legs and our other hand is cupping the opposite shoulder or bicep area working to control that arm as well.


Next, we are going to need to do several things simultaneously.  We begin to shift our body across the opponents working to get our rib cage in front of the opponent's face, while also dragging our shoulder blade grip hand across the opponents back and shooting it under the opposite side arm (the arm we were controlling with our shoulder or bicep grip.  Once the arm is under we can slide our cupping bicep grip down the opponent's arm to the wrist and lock up our Kimura figure four grip. As we do this, we are also driving off of our toes at roughly a 45 degree angle from the opponent's shoulder that is now trapped in our Kimura hold.

We are looking to drive in this direction to the point that we can tuck our head and roll forward, lading on our back, perpendicular to the opponent, and having successfully passed their guard.  In this position we may need to walk the legs in towards the opponent to get the ideal position. Ideally their head should be resting on our midsection. At this point the opponents only escape option is to turn into you. Turning away is virtually impossible because of the Kimura.

As they turn in we lift the elbow in the Kimura grip to slow them down. While doing this we bring our outside leg out and over the opponent's face and work to push that foot under the opponents far side arm.  Once you have this position, you need to turn toward a belly down position allowing you to straighten both legs and then come back to your hip and lock up the figure four triangle choke. In this position it is important to note that the top leg should be locking under your bottom leg. This should be a rather quick submission due to how incredibly tight your triangle should be locked.


Professor Danaher notes that doing the side triangle this way will allow us to also link into the Kimura attacks shown in his video instructional “Kimura: Enter the System”.


This gives us another option when it comes to passing the guard and if done properly it should not put us at much risk, provided we have a solid Kimura grip prior to initiating the roll.  So many times, I feel like we look at the guard pass as either going over the legs (knee slice pass) or going under the legs (stack pass), but this gives us another option, simply rolling out of the guard.  I know for me this has always been a style of passing that I found intriguing however questioned if I had the athleticism for.

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Professor Danaher’s breakdown gives me confidence that this technique can be for everyone.  I find that sometime bigger practitioners shy away from techniques that involve rolls or cartwheels or other techniques where there is a risk of falling on the opponent. While I can appreciate not wanting to hurt your training partner, done properly, with the right drilling partner this pass should be effective yet not dangerous (from a safety perspective) to anyone involved.

John Danaher is changing the game with his DVD series. Get his DVD "Triangles: Enter The System" and learn from one of the best instructors in the game! BJJ Fanatics has it here!

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