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The Bread Cutter Choke
Who doesn’t love a good choke that involves weaving the gi into just the right position to force your opponent to tap? It feels good right? Using another person’s garments against them in battle has a pretty rewarding effect on our psyche. When we first put the gi on, and we experience any kind of collar choke, even something as simple as a fundamental cross collar choke from the mount or the guard, we think, hey I can do that. All I have to do is put my hands in the collar and squeeze. Right? It may appear simple to perform a choke, until you try to choke someone who’s been around the block once or twice.
It turns out causing someone to turn blue with their own clothing is actually an art in it of itself. There’s an enormous amount of skill and sound mechanical properties involved in making someone say uncle with a lapel choke. It doesn’t matter what the technique is: bow and arrow, clock choke, baseball choke, loop choke, the list goes on. If you don’t respect the ideas of perfect placement and performing the necessary repetitions to make the position of the hands second nature, the chances of you getting the submission will be very low.
Let’s look at one of my favorites. The bread cutter choke. I’m constantly looking for ways to make it better, ways to pair it with other techniques, transitions, and so forth. I love its versatility, and there’s just something that made me gravitate to it early on in my training.
There’s a few important details I’ve discovered about the technique that have assisted me in making it more of a high percentage submission. The placement of the hands is key. The top hand applying pressure to the neck (more than likely with the thumb in the collar); it can’t be too deep or too shallow in the lapel. Your elbow must be able to touch the floor to lock in the submission and build a barrier that your opponent’s head cannot escape from. The hand underneath all of the action can be in the collar, grasping cloth on the arm, cupping the bicep/triceps area, etc. There are a few methods, but this hand is your anchor, and it has to be solid and have a strong point of connection to your partner. At the completion of the submission, the application of weight to the top arm putting pressure down on to your partners corroded artery is what ultimately wins you the tap. If you have to burn your arms out squeezing to finish, something may be out of place.
Jeff Hairston demonstrates his version of the bread cutter in this video. It’s very easy to see and grasp the different concepts. Take a look and enjoy!
For more High Tech Gi techniques, check out Tom DeBlass' latest instructional from BJJ Fanatics! You can have it conveniently provided to you via the On Demand option faster than you can put on your gi!