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Finishing the Choke From Crucifix
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Finishing the Choke From Crucifix

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The crucifix is a very powerful position used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to get submissions. The crucifix resembles back control in many ways, but mainly because you are control the defender from behind them. The crucifix, just like back control, has many entries, but is most commonly acquired when in the top turtle position. 

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The crucifix, as the name suggests, essentially makes the defender look like they are being crucified, and sometimes it feels that way. In order to establish this, though, the attacker needs control of both arms. From top turtle, this is usually done when the defender reaches for an under hook. From there, the attacker locks up the arm and can roll to the side, forward, or even backward depending on where the defender is trying to push.

From the crucifix, a number of submissions can be attacked, including chokes and arm attacks. In the gi, the attacker usually has more options and control due to the availability of grips and lapel chokes. Without the gi, the attacker is limited to a rear naked choke or arm locks. The arm locks from crucifix can be difficult to finish though, so many grapplers opt for the chokes.

Due to the angle the attacker has against the defender, it can be hard to get a tight squeeze for a strangle, especially if the defender stays stagnant. Fortunately for us, defender’s are often moving around and try to bridge to get their head on the mat. During this motion, they are exposing a wide variety of chokes, making it easier for the attacker to submit them.

In the video below, Thomas Lisboa illustrates a strangle from the crucifix as a counter for when defender’s bridge and try to roll on to the other side. Although he shows this technique in the gi, it can be done just as well without it, see below:

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