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The Bow and Arrow Choke

The Bow and Arrow Choke


The bow and arrow choke is a commonly used choke from the back, especially when you get into later blue belt and up matches.

A submission is achieved by applying pressure on either side of your opponents neck, cutting off arterial blood supply. It’s a very successful attack, being in the top ten percent of gi chokes in competition.

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The technique can often start from mount, in which the attacker will transition onto their opponents back. With one hand they control the top leg, and with the other they insert a collar grip. True to its name, the partner on top with then use body angles to bend their partner like they were shooting an arrow from a bow, achieving a choke submission.

In portuguese, this submission is called the Berimbau. Dating back, a Berimbau is a percussion instrument from Brazil that resembles a bow. It has history with the sport of Capoeira; during competition a Berimbau would be played at a certain speed, indicating the speed at which the athletes should move in the match.

In current Jiu Jitsu culture, it is used frequently as a publicity image due to its visual effect. As Brazilian Jiu Jitsu increases in popularity and reaches a broader audience, the culture has been captured in different forms of media such as graffiti, comics, photography and other illustrations. The technique has since been adapted into T-shirt designs, artwork, and a sort of pop culture icon for the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Now that we know it has a sought after visual effect, how do we do it?

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Step one is to get into a good back control position, which can be done however you prefer. THis will include an over/under backpack grip, with both hooks in to keep your opponent from wiggling away from you. Next, obtain the first collar grip before your partner has the chance to start bridging up and escaping. Bring the elbow of your over hand behind the shoulder, keeping it close to their neck and tight, while simultaneously opening the opposite lapel to set up for a tight grip. Take the foot that is on the same side as your over hand and place it on their hip to assist you in turning ninety degrees towards your underhook hand. As you turn, you can place your other foot across their belly like a seat belt, which will allow for more direct pressure to keep them down during the transition.

At this point you’ll have your over hand gripping their lapel, your same side foot will have landed on the ground near their elbow and the other foot will be across their stomach. Grab fabric on their top leg at the knee to keep them from collapsing it or turning to shrimp away. You can successfully get the choke from here, but if you want to secure it further take your same side foot that is by their elbow and swing it over their shoulder so your calf is in contact with the inside of their bicep, which will already begin to stretch their chest. To complete the choke all you have to do is pull your elbow down and towards your hip!

Lachlan Giles has an excellent bow and arrow choke, as he shows here in this video:


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