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Learn Marcelo Garcia’s Famous North South Choke

Learn Marcelo Garcia’s Famous North South Choke



The north south choke is one of the most elusive submissions in all of BJJ. Though it seems simple and direct, this neck attack can be a tough one to finish for many of us. There are elements of perfect positioning that must be observed and the entry into the actual position has to be clean if we hope to have a chance at making the submission stick. 

Most often the north south choke is acquired during some sort of side control transition. As we attempt to travel north south from a standard side control, or perhaps from knee on belly, it's likely that the opportunity will present itself to attack the choke. How high is your finishing percentage with the north south choke? 

I remember learning this particular submission and attempting it what seemed like hundreds of times, with a zero percent rate of finishing. It wasn't until I discovered some incredibly important details about body positioning that I began to understand the choke on a much different level and could begin applying it correctly. 

The north south choke is most often applied in a nog gi setting as the gi material makes this one a little tough to secure. It definitely makes sense to have this one on your radar for no gi application as neck attacks are one of our best options in a no gi exchange and the north south choke offers us a different option through our transitions. 

There are certain names that come to mind when we talk about particular submissions. Names that are synonymous with attacks and prompt us to ponder legacies, that have been cemented with famous technique. Marcelo Garcia is one of these names and the north south choke happens to be one of the techniques that goes hand in hand with Garcia’s long standing iconic status in BJJ. The proof is easy to find. There are dozens of videos that showcase Garcia’s incredible ability to attack the north south with a very high percentage finishing rate. He seems to enter the position with effortless ease and most of the time, the bottom player doesn't even appear to be in theat much danger, until the tap.

Garcia has earned himself one of the most successful careers in BJJ history. With multiple world and ADCC titles, there's not a forum of BJJ competition that Garcia hasn't been successful in. He's created one of the most successful and respected academies in the world, in NYC, and continues to train, teach, and produce some of today's most elite competitors.

Garcia has already given us access to one of his flagship skill sets, the butterfly guard, with the release of The Complete Butterfly Guard through BJJ Fanatics. This highly anticipated butterfly guard library has provided the BJJF audience a look at one of the most coveted skill sets in jiu-jitsu. Garcia is continuing his instructional ventures with a release that will detail the intricacies of Garcia’s north south choke. In this video, Garcia gives us a sneak peek of what to expect from the newest release with some fantastic details on the choke itself. Take a look! 


Garcia begins with some words on what many of us are probably encountering in a side control position. The bottom player is on full lockdown and unwilling to expose themselves to any danger. This is where Garcia points out that the north south choke may be most available. He likens the application of the north south choke to a rear naked choke but in reverse. This in itself is a helpful detail. Sage advice from Garcia reminds us that once we acquire the neck, the bottom player is not going anywhere. We can take our time and begin pursuing the tap. 

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Using his chest to manipulate his partner’s near arm downward and his hand to push down on the opposite arm, Garcia has cleared the hands from the neck area and now simply transitions his choking arm over the top of the head, securing the neck with a gable grip (choking hand is palm down). Keeping his body in a straight line directly out from his partner's head, Garcia focuses the bulk of his energy on holding the position rather than the “squeeze”. By dropping his shoulder down and putting only the minimum amount of effort into the actual submission, Garcia can command the tap. 

With one additional brilliant idea. Garcia shares what he likes to do when the tap is not being produced. If he lands the choke but the bottom player is defending and not giving up the tap, Garcia uses a bit of deception. Here, he begins to relinquish the position, letting go of the head and moving his body forward, giving the illusion that he is giving up on the submission. As soon as his partner realizes this and begins to move, Garcia promptly returns to the north south choke, this time establishing better position, and increasing the likelihood of a finish this time. This type of deception can be incredibly helpful when dealing with a stubborn partner or just simply someone that has excellent defense. Creating the illusion that we;ve given up is often very enticing for the bottom player and produces movement that we can take advantage of.

The video finishes with advice from Garcia that can only be acquired from years and years of experience. Garcia is one of the true humble champions of the gentle art. His demeanor is easygoing and his teaching is just simply on another level. So much can be gained from just listening to him speak about his experiences and his journey. His instructional materials will be some of the most highly anticipated and sought after in the community and we’re hoping that he continues to share his unique and highly effective game with the masses!


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