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Fine-Tuning the Basics: Cross Collar Choke
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Fine-Tuning the Basics: Cross Collar Choke

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Every white belt learns the cross collar choke as one of their first submission.  Every blue belt thinks they’ve got a good handle on the cross collar choke.

But how many of us actually get submissions with the cross collar choke during a live roll?

Not. That. Many.

The truth is that we view the cross collar choke as such a basic move that we don’t bother to drill it.  And when it fails during live rolling, we make the excuse that “everybody knows how to defend against it!” The truth, however, is different.  We don’t get submissions with the cross collar choke because we’re sloppy at it.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  We can fine tune our approach to the fundamentals and make them useful parts of our game.

In the video below, Bernardo Faria and Kyle Briere demonstrate the finer points of the cross collar choke that transform it from a forgotten option to a viable submission.

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Briere demonstrates the cross collar while Bernardo is in his closed guard.

Briere begins by trying to keep his hands and arms inside of Bernardo’s arms.  He begins to set up the choke by getting his collar grip with his right hand.

Notice, in the image below, that this grip needs to be deep.  Briere reaches so far into Bernardo’s gi that we cannot see his hand at all.

But Briere adds a twist to his grip.  Literally. After getting his four-finger grip on Bernardo’s lapel, Briere twists his hand so that his pinkie finger is turned toward his right shoulder.  This tightens the grip and places the bones of his wrist more directly against Bernardo’s neck.

For the second hand, Briere offers a few options.  You can reach behind your opponent’s head and grab the fabric on your opponent’s shoulder.  Or you can reach behind your opponent’s head and get a thumb-in grip.  

For both of these options, you would get your grip and then slip that arm to the front of your opponent’s head to complete the set up for the choke.

Another option is to get your second grip from the front, but that approach is easier for your opponent to defend, so Briere prefers to establish the grip from behind his opponent’s head.  That way, once he slides his arm around his opponent’s head, his choke set-up is complete.

To get the submission, Briere simply thinks of sitting up.  That motion tightens the choke and gets the tap. Along with the sitting up motion, Briere explains that, as he seeks the submission, he is also turns everything into himself.

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Bernardo points out how much more effective Briere’s technique is compared to the basic cross collar choke that everyone knows but never uses.  Twisting his right hand after getting the first grip and turning his body away from that first grip help to get a tighter grip. And Bernardo points out that, after getting his first grip with his right hand, Briere plants his right arm against Bernardo’s chest to prevent his opponent from defending against it.

View the entire video demonstration below.  Then surprise your teammates by making this basic move work for you during your next roll!

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