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Fine-Tuning the Basics: The Anaconda Choke
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Fine-Tuning the Basics: The Anaconda Choke

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The Anaconda choke is one of those essential moves in No Gi grappling.  However, it can also be a surprise tool when grappling in the gi.

But, like many of those fundamental techniques, it’s one that we can fine-tune.  In the video below, Chael Sonnen offers a few tips to improve your chances of getting a submission from the Anaconda choke.  (Note: the title card at the beginning of the video says “Darce Choke,” but it’s really an Anaconda choke).

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Sonnen begins by discussing the placement of his right arm.  It’s important to not reach all the way around to your opponent’s shoulder, because you can give your opponent control of your elbow.  The image below shows correct placement vs. incorrect placement.

Sonnen points out that when his right arm is placed correctly, his elbow is glued to his own ribs.

Then, with his left arm, Sonnen reaches behind his opponent’s right arm and places his thumb on any part of his opponent’s jaw.  With his thumb against his opponent’s jaw, Sonnen locks his hands using a grip with the fingers of one hand wrapped around the pinkie side of the hand.  This grip allows him to keep his thumb against his opponent’s face/jaw.

Once he has his grip established and his thumb against his opponent’s jaw, Sonnen falls back to his back.  The pressure of the grip on his opponent’s head forces him to follow Sonnen.

By rolling his opponent, Sonnen can now use his leg to capture his opponent’s right arm.  Only then is it time to reach deep with the right arm.

From there, Sonnen simply locks his Anaconda choke and gets the tap.

The key to Sonnen’s approach is to first use his thumb against his opponent’s face to torque his opponent onto his side.  Then, only after capturing his opponent’s leg, does Sonnen extend his right arm. If he extended his arm sooner, his opponent could get control of Sonnen’s elbow.  But, since that arm is now trapped by Sonnen’s leg, that’s no longer a concern.

A final key point that Sonnen makes is to extend the right arm so deeply that the bicep is against your opponent’s carotid.  The result will not be the same if you have your elbow or forearm against the carotid.

For Sonnen’s complete discussion of the Anaconda Choke, see the video below:

Chael Sonnen is a UFC Vet, and a world class wrestler. Now, you can learn all his best techniques! Get his DVD "Gangster Grappling" and improve your grappling game now! BJJ Fanatics has it! Check it out here!

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