Submission Series: Rear Naked Choke
Learning precise finishing details early on in your grappling career will pay dividends later, in the training room and on the competition mats.
You will have more confidence in going for the finish and a deeper mechanical understanding. This series will examine what makes each submission work every time.
The rear naked choke is statically one of the most common submissions in the game, particularly in nogi. In gi the collars provide many choke options, but in nogi the choices are far viewer, the high parentage finishers coming down to anaconda, darce, triangle, rear naked, and guillotine variations.
Therefore, it’s important to know the finishes for the options available. Absolute MMA coach Lachlan Giles teaches a highly technical choke from the back we can examine.
Lachlan starts off discussing a common misconception when going for the rear naked: the choke isn’t about pushing the head into the arm and squeezing, it is about pulling the choking arm back at an angle to take away all the space around the neck. You’ll notice that when he shows the one arm variation, he pulls the elbow of his choking arm back towards himself and twists his upper body into the motion. It’s more of a rowing action then a bicep squeeze.
To start off going for the choke, your hands should already be in the harness (also called seatbelt control). This is one arm over the shoulder, and one arm under the opponent’s opposite arm, with the hands clasping across the opponent’s chest. This grip is used to keep the chest of the player attacking the back tight to their opponent’s back so they can’t escape. The arm going over the top is the one that is going to end up doing the choke. Traditionally, the hand coming under the arm (in the video Lachlan’s left hand) clasps over the hand of the choking arm (his right). This is to help protect the choking hand during grip fighting.
A common beginner error is to just leave the hands clasped at chest level, when really they should be pulled up as high as possible. This makes back control easier to maintain and puts the hands closer to where they need to be to choke. The elbow of the top arm should already be angled over the opponent’s shoulder. Lachlan’s head is glued to his partner’s head to immobilize it. A head that is free to move is hard to choke and leaves opportunities for the defender to start unwinding the choke and escaping the back control.
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With the hands clasped higher up on the body, the choking hand has a small distance to cover. It reaches around the front the neck and secures a grip behind the opponent’s trap muscle on the opposite shoulder. This puts it out of reach of the defender’s hands. Lachlan’s other hand comes out and slides in behind the head, palm facing Lachlan.
The old way of performing this choke, the attacker would bring this second arm up and grab toward the top of the defender’s head, trying to push his head forward. As mentioned earlier, this is inefficient and leaves this hand vulnerable to getting stripped off. Instead, Lachlan brings the arm back behind the defender slides it in against the back of the neck. This makes for a tighter and more secure hold. Now both hands locked behind the defender’s head. For a very tight finish, reach both hands all the way to your own shoulders if you can. Just gripping at the elbows leaves gaps that that will allow the opponent to survive longer.
If you’ve struggled to finish your training partners from the back, give this a shot tonight at practice and see the submissions rack up with these added details.
Are you ready to take your No Gi game to another level? With Lachlan Giles' High Percentage No Gi Chokes, you will do just that. You can get this amazing instructional here at BJJ Fanatics!
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