The Best Chokes in the Gi

The Best Chokes in the Gi

Chokes are one of the biggest parts of submissions, they are considered by many, the best submission.  This is because they can be utilized against any body no matter how strong they are.  The saying goes “we all have the same arteries.”  What this means is that if you try and arm bar a body builder, they may be able to curl their way out, if you’re smaller, it may be hard to do an arm lock on somebody who is much larger than you are.  This can pose a slight problem with doing joint locks.  This is why so many people advise you to do chokes.

What about chokes in the gi?  The gi offers a plethora of new choking options with the access to the lapels.  This is because you can use the lapels against your opponent. When training in the gi, it adds a whole other element to bjj, there are way more chokes that you can use.  It can almost be overwhelming to think of all of the potential chokes that you can do in the gi.

With all of these submissions, what are the best chokes to use with the gi?  This is very subjective, and it honestly depends on the person, but we think the three best chokes with the gi are the cross choke, the baseball bat chokes, and the bow and arrow choke.  All of these chokes have their place and they are all extremely effective and simple to implement.  Let’s dig deeper into why these three are so powerful.

The Cross Choke

The cross choke is one of the most powerful submissions in Brazilian jiu jitsu period.  This is because it is an extremely strong choke that is difficult to stop, it is extremely versatile and can be done from many different positions.  The cross choke is an incredible weapon from the bottom, or top.  One of the greatest benefits to this choke is the fact that you can use it from so many positions.  For example, you can use the cross choke from the mount, from side control, from knee on belly, from top half, bottom half, closed guard, and so many other positions. 

This is why it is wise to learn this position.  If you master the mechanics of the cross choke, you will be able to implement it from so many places it may become your secret weapon.  Many great bjj practitioners have used this position to win tournaments.  People like Roger Gracie, Xande Ribeiro, and Rafael Lovato all of excellent cross chokes.

So how do you properly execute the cross choke?  Well, many people think that lapels are what are choking your opponent, but it is actually your wrist/forearm.  When people learn the cross choke the mistake many make is that they pull their elbows apart so that they can pull the lapels tighter.  What you actually want to do is pull your elbows tight to your ribs and close the space between your thumbs.  Let’s take a look at how to properly do the cross choke from the mount with purple belt world champion, Matheus Gonzaga.

The Baseball Bat Choke

The baseball bat choke is another one of the most powerful chokes for many of the same reasons as the cross choke. This choke utilizes the lapels and you make a grip like you are holding a baseball bat on them, thus the name, baseball bat choke.   The choke is an amazing submission because of the versatility. You can use this choke from standing, guard, and top, you can even use it from bottom side control.

This choke is probably the highest percentage choke for putting people to sleep.  This is because many people will use this choke from the bottom half guard and it is very sneaky.  In order to finish this choke from bottom half you have to allow your opponent to pass your guard and then it will be come tighter.  In competition the adrenaline is very high, and people don’t realize they are being baited and they pass the guard and end up passing out because they make the choke tighter.  The baseball bat choke is devastating.

The baseball bat choke is also very high percentage from the top half or knee on belly.  This is because the grips make it easy to base and you’re not over committing to something.  The baseball bat is definitely a tool that you want in your arsenal.  Check out this set up below and watch the final details.

Bow & Arrow Choke

The bow & arrow choke is probably the strongest choke in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Out of no gi and gi techniques, this is the strongest choke that you can do.  The bow and arrow choke is primarily utilized once you have taken your opponent’s back.  You grab the lapel and this choke uses your entire body to finish your opponent.  You will engage your core, back, arms, and legs.  This one is a little bit difficult to explain so why don’t we take a look at how to do it below.


There you have it, the best chokes that you can do in the gi.  As you can see these chokes are dependent on the gi but contrary to popular belief, the gi increases the realm of possibilities when discussing submissions.  If you want to learn some tricky chokes, check out Travis Stevens “Chokes” DVD.  Travis is a world class bjj black belt and a Judo Olympic Silver Medalist.