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Front Triangles With John Danaher

Front Triangles With John Danaher

The Triangle choke submission is undoubtedly a very powerful technique that, when done correctly, can provide an extreme advantage for the attacker.  This submission gives the grappler the ability to use their legs to fight against their opponent’s neck and shoulder. There is no doubt that even someone who skips leg day is going to have stronger legs than the average persons neck and shoulder.  While overall strength is not extremely important when the techniques are executed properly, it stands to reason if you have the ability to use a larger muscle group when fighting your opponent, you will most certainly have an advantage.

Professor John Danaher discusses the history of the Triangle choke submission as well as different types of Triangle chokes and even a few drills he uses with his students in the first BJJ Fanatics Podcast “History of the Triangle Choke”.  One topic he mentions in this podcast is that the average Jiu Jitsu player uses only one Triangle choke submission most of the time, and possibly has a back up Triangle to attempt if the time is right.  The reality is there are 5 different Triangle choke submissions, 3 of which can, and likely should be strung together to create an attack series. The five types of Triangle choke submissions are as follows.

  1. Triangle from the front
  2. Triangle from the back
  3. Opposite side triangle
  4. Side triangle
  5. Reverse triangle

The majority of us know and use the triangle from the front most frequently.  While I believe if Professor Danaher made mention of all 5, they are all likely very important to the sport, we are going to start by breaking down a variation of the Triangle from the front in Professor Danaher’s video “Front Triangles Top Position Passing Guard” video.


We are starting standing in front of your opponents open guard.  Naturally, when we are working to pass open guard from standing there is a lot of grip fighting, reaching and extension of the opponent’s arm.  What we are looking for as we move back and forth trying to close the distance is the opponent to reach, extending their arm fully almost framing against our body.   

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As soon as we get this arm fully extended, we are then looking to step to the outside of the opponents open guard (toward the side of the fully extended arm).  

Next on the same side we stepped to the outside the opponent’s guard, we get a collar tie grip on the back of the opponent’s head.  Finally, it’s time to jump into our submission. Now that we have the position and grip we will use our opposite side leg as the strangle leg.  To do this we must throw that leg over the opponent’s shoulder pinching their neck with the back of our knee. Doing this will require us to jump across the opponent’s body landing on our side on the opposite side of the body with our now bottom leg pinching the opponent’s neck.  At this point we can now throw our other leg over our foot and lock the triangle.


As you can imagine, stepping to the outside of the opponent’s guard is imperative to making this work, without that step, we run the risk of our leg being trapped in between the opponent’s legs and ultimately losing the opportunity for the submission.  


Watching this video for the first time, it’s easy to come up with excuses why this wont work for you.  I have short legs, or I’m a big guy, I don’t jump well, whatever the excuse. The reality is Triangle choke submissions really can be for everyone.  While they certainly do allow for a slight initial advantage if you have longer legs, they also offer an advantage for the players with shorter legs.  If you have shorter legs, achieving the Triangle choke submission will require you to be more diligent in the angle at which you shoot the submission. Check out Professor Danaher’s extremely detailed Triangle choke submission breakdowns and training guides in his series “Enter the System: Triangle” video instruction.


The Triangle can be for everyone.  The Triangle submission is also a series of attacks and should be treated as such.  Professor Danaher states in his podcast interview with Professor Bernardo Faria that the first 3 of the 5 Triangle choke submissions can be chained together to form an attack series.  

If this is not part of your game, or if you don’t consider yourself a profession at the Triangle submission, Professor Danaher’s “Enter the System: Triangle” video instruction is for you.  Let’s be honest, who can honestly say that they can’t learn anything from Professor Danaher?  Exactly…

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