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Get on Board with The Loop Choke!
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Get on Board with The Loop Choke!

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When we train in the gi, one of our main focuses should always be how we can our opponent’s gi against them. Whether that’s to gain superior position, breaking posture, or involving the gi in the application of a submission, we must utilize the gi as a tool to frustrate and gain an advantage. 

Obviously one of the most functional aspects of the gi, is its use in submissions, particularly chokes. From the earliest days of BJJ, the gi has been used as a tool to strangle, and this will always be one of its main utilities. Whether you prefer a simple cross choke, a sliding collar choke, or more exotic forms of commanding the tap, choking with the gi should always be a cornerstone of your gi training. 

There are hundreds of different methods of choking with the gi, but today we will focus on one. The loop choke. If you’ve ever been caught in a good loop choke, then you know how incredibly tight and constricting it is. Applied properly, you not only feel the power of the strangulation, but it can also feel like your head is about to be removed from your body. 

I remember learning the loop choke for the very first time and falling in love with it. It quickly became one of my favorite submissions and it remains as one of my preferred attacks. Once its been caught, the security of the choke feels incredibly solid and the finish seems imminent. 

Let’s take a look at some different variations from some of the world’s best BJJ players. We’ll see a couple of different methods of acquiring and finishing this devastating choke, and gain a deeper level of understanding where its inner workings are concerned. 

Let’s start with a variation from Thomas Lisbosa. This particular version of the loop choke is performed from the closed guard, and it is nasty. Check it out!

Lisbosa begins with some insight as to why he likes this variation. We see a lot of loop chokes performed from a front headlock type scenario. There is nothing wrong with these of course, but they don’t offer as much control of the lower body and as you can see here, they can be easy to thwart off by performing a pretty simple roll through. 

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Starting in the closed guard, Lisbosa gets a solid grip inside of the lapel. He recommends we experiment here, as we don’t need a terribly deep grip and we don’t want to be too shallow either. It seems like Lisbosa likes to enter the hand somewhere just below his partners chin, which seems like a good reference point for starting out. 

Lisbosa then opens his legs and plants his feet on the floor. He backs up just a little bit, cups the back pf his partners neck, and begins to sit up. As he sits up, he feeds the head in to the loop he’s created with his grip, and then slides his hand over the back of the neck and through the loop, locking the head in place. To finish the submission, Lisbosa performs a hip escape and gets on to his left side and then stays the course, tightening the configuration of his arms and producing the tap. 

This is a great place to start with the loop choke, as this technique is very low risk, high reward. Worst case scenario, if the attempt fails, you’re still in the guard and can begin another course of action. I really enjoyed this one. Give it a shot!

This next variation is brought to us by Roberto Abreu, who you may also know as “Cyborg”. He uses a single leg attempt as a platform to launch a very effective loop choke. Have a look!

With his partner in on a single leg, Abreu beings to set up. He places lots or weight and pressure on his partner, to keep the head down and prevent any further action from the bottom player. He advises us to not get caught wrapping our arms around the waist and to also make sure that our free leg is in a kickstand configuration so that it doesn’t get snagged by the bottom player, which would almost certainly cause a reversal. Abreu’s back side hand blocks the hip and his front hand enters in to the armpit space to keep his partner from coming forward. 

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As the two players jockey for position, Abreu enters his left hand in to the collar, acquiring a four-finger grip and then locking the elbow down tight to the ear. He then begins to penetrate his opposite arm underneath his partner and out the other side, acquiring the triceps. As he falls to his side, the set-up cinches even tighter and here, Abreu tightens his elbow down once again. Applies some pressure and finds the tap. 

If Abreu needs a little extra horsepower, he performs the first part the move in the same fashion, but at the end he continues to roll through. As his partner lands on the other side, Abreu keeps all of his controls in tact and hips escapes to get up to his knees. Once he’s top side, he sprawls his weight down on the choke and completes an even more devastating variation of the submission. 

Let’s end this little study of the lop choke with a variation from Alexandre Vieira. He’s got a pretty unorthodox take on the loop choke that’s a must see! This is slick and very tricky! Have a look at this! 

Setting up in the open guard, Vieira places one hand in the collar and blocks his partner’s opposite side hip with his foot, so that he can only pass to one side. As his partner begins to pass his head is funneled directly in to the loop choke set up. As his partner settles in to side control and begins to feel the pressure of the choke, he begins to stand up to attempt to get his head free from the submission. As this occurs, Vieira transitions to what’s very reminiscent of a fireman’s carry position. As he steps up on to his outside foot, he loads his partners weight up on to his shoulders and begins to pinch his elbows together to complete the submission. Pretty demoralizing. This is very sneaky and looks to be incredibly uncomfortable. Amazing. 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey through some different faces of the loop choke. If the loop choke isn’t on your radar, you should get on board. Its an incredibly effective submission to have in the arsenal and you may find that it becomes one of your favorite submissions! Good luck!

Closed Guard Beyond The Basics by Thomas Lisboa

Closed Guard Beyond The Basics By Thomas Lisboa will give you the tools to have an AGGRESSIVE and EFFECTIVE Closed Guard. Lisboa’s newest instructional is an all encompassing breakdown of the Closed Guard. Get an in-depth look at all of the Sweeps, Submissions, and Transitions that go BEYOND THE BASICS!

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