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Sneaky Triangle Finish That Your Opponents Won’t See Coming!
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Sneaky Triangle Finish That Your Opponents Won’t See Coming!

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Arm on the Mat Triangle by Neil Melanson

Who is Neil Melanson? Neil could easily be considered one of the most dangerous men on the planet. Neil was the head coach of the infamous Blackzillians MMA Team and Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture gym. He has coached some of the best UFC fighters to ever compete to the pinnacle of the sport including Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Randy Couture, Matt Mitrione and many more. His students have given high praise. Chael Sonnen said, “Neil would slap Rickson Gracie around like it was easy.” Jiu Jitsu black belt and former UFC Champion Vitor Belfort stated that “Neil could triangle anybody in any room.”

Neil boasts a unique education when it comes to grappling.  He began his education at the Hayastan School where he learned techniques from Catch Wrestling, Judo and Sambo from world renowned coaches Gene Lebel and Gokor Chivichyan. His grappling style is a combination of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Catch Wresting and Sambo. He is the living embodiment of the Bruce Lee quote, "Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless. Add what is essentially your own.”

Beyond his impressive education and grappling abilities, Neil is an extremely capable teacher. He takes a meticulous approach and breaks down the details so that it can be easily understood by even the grappling novice.

Neil is known as a hybrid grappler, mixing elements of Catch as Catch Can Wrestling, Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

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Traditionally in Jiu Jitsu to finish the triangle, we drag the arm on the inside to finish. Melanson, believes that is risky and he explores finishes based on having the arm on the mat. He starts off in the diamond position.  I know there are several names for this position in Jiu Jitsu. It is essentially when your legs are crossed somewhere between the knee and ankle line and you have your opponent in the one arm in and one arm out position. Your opponent may be hiding his arm or protecting it in another way.  However, it is not dragged across your center line. The use of the legs is an important detail that Melanson explores thought the video. Neil is very active with his legs. From this diamond position he advocates curling your heels in and squeezing your legs. He also reinforces this structure by hugging the same side arm on your shin. This should be done on the arm out of the diamond side.  There are several finishes that Melanson explores.  The first finish is executed by pulling both knees in and wrapping his arms under his knees. A lot of instincts would suggest that we should try and lock in the triangle for this finish. However, Melanson suggests that the submission works better when you are not fully locked. He finishes from the diamond position. When you are ready to finish, Neil states to curl in while squeezing with your hips. The triangle from closed guard has always been difficult for me because of the length of my legs. I am exciting about executing this technique.  A second finish can be done by having your hands locked under the knee pit. For this finish, Neil advocates pulling down with the grip while curling heels and squeezing knees. This is done presumably to remove all space. He then extends the legs for a quick tap. This video Neil does an excellent job of exploring a submission from a traditional position that breaks all the rules. Well done Neil.

Many consider Neil Melanson to be a mad scientist of grappling. This sequence is a fine testament to that. His approach is not based on a singular style but a hybrid of many approaches. He is obsessed with independent and free thinkers like Nicola Tesla and his style of grappling is brilliant testament to that.  If you have ever seen Neil’s instructional videos than you certainly understand what we mean. If you have not had the privilege, click on the link below below to learn Neil Melanson's Ground Marshall Guard System to completely revolutionize your closed guard and ground fighting game.

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