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Step Up Your Triangle Game

Step Up Your Triangle Game


A triangle is a fundamental submission that we learn pretty early on in our Jiu Jitsu lives, but is also one that can be used successfully in all belt levels.

Since there are so many different types of triangles there is nearly always available if you know where to look! Regardless of your size, strength or experience there is little defense available once someone has you locked in a good triangle.

Depending on your personal style you might end up on someone’s back or in side control on a regular basis, or maybe you prefer to transition through mount; don’t worry, there are triangles available from all of those places! The classic triangle from front guard involves locking your opponents head between your legs and cutting off circulation to both carotid arteries on either side of their necks (a blood choke). It is a common misconception that people with short legs are less effective at finishing triangle chokes; wrong!

Learn this ADCC breakout star's triangle game!  Click Learn More!


Appropriate angles and posture are key to finishing a triangle, no matter what direction you are coming from. Since the front triangle is so common and often one of the first chokes we are taught, it is also one of the most avoided submissions and thus hard to get a good hold on to finish it. Here are two other variations on the triangle that might catch your opponent by surprise! 

The first setup comes from a failed shot for a kneebar. As you attempt to grab under one thigh to get a kneebar, you will end up with one shin across your partner’s stomach as a knee shield while your other thigh is pressure against their chest.

The other player’s arms will likely be set up with one grabbing an underhook on your top leg (the one with your thigh against their chest) and the other reaching around your back to try and keep you from shrimping out. Reach back and grab right above the elbow of the arm that is on your back and extend your top leg in order to switch the angle and drape it over the top of their neck. Once your leg is in place, apply pressure and flare your foot towards the head while the knee points towards their body.

Remember to keep pressure here so they aren’t able to posture up and escape! Your bottom leg should still be in contact with a knee shield at this point, so from there extend that leg out while keeping contact the entire time so your partner isn’t able to close distance. Roll almost onto your back and slide that bottom leg up their body to place your knee into the armpit (keep a hold on that arm right above the elbow!).

Close your choke by bringing the ankle of the top leg underneath the knee of the bottom leg, but don’t forget to keep your pressure. If that position isn’t enough to get a tap, begin to flare your leg that is coming from under the body so the person’s shoulder is pushed against their neck to compress that carotid artery. Tada! 

One other reverse triangle technique can be found when you are either coming from open guard or someone is attempting to pass your guard. One leg drapes to form a knee shield 

while the other shoots over one shoulder. As your partner starts to feel the danger of a triangle, they will likely attempt to pass to the other side. When that happens, move your leg that is over their shoulder to the other side of the neck staying on the same hip. Shoot your bottom leg straight and use almost a pendulum swing motion to rock your opponent forward and break down the posture they are trying to gain. Take that bottom leg of yours and close your triangle by tucking the other ankle under your knee. Another success! 

Finally master the triangle submission!  Click Learn More!


Make sure to pay attention to your partner’s when practicing these submissions, they’re tight! A lot of people will try to hold out since this is a blood choke and comes on differently than an airway choke. Happy triangles! 

If you want to add some dynamic triangles to your game, check out Craig Jones' "Triangle Machine" instructional in convenient On Demand and DVD formats.  Who knows, maybe you'll have a breakout performance at the ADCC someday soon!




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