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The Oldest Trick In The Book With Giancarlo Bodoni

The Oldest Trick In The Book With Giancarlo Bodoni



The cross-collar choke from the guard may be the most classic submission in all of jiu-jitsu. From the earliest days of combat in the gi, we hear stories of this traditional method of strangulation conquering the toughest of opponents and putting down the mightiest competitors. 

Its likely that this choke is a part of the entry level curriculum at your BJJ academy and that you’ve seen it action many times. Some of the greatest competitors of our time have seemed harness the full power of the cross choke and employ it on a regular basis. The titans of our sport that have chosen to make these classic themes a staple in the modern game have discovered ways to implement techniques ice the cross choke with such certainty that it seems almost no one escapes the attempts. 

Being that the cross choke is one of the more common entry level techniques in BJJ, there’s a good chance that our training partners an opponents will sniff out your plans to attempt this type of submission. There are some red flags that will prompt most to begin early defense and shut down our efforts. This does not mean we shouldn’t attempt techniques like the cross choke but because it is such a hot spot on everyone’s radar, we should have some contingency plans for when we begin to encounter our opponent’s defensive measures. 

One of the most famous pairings in BJJ is the cross choke and the arm bar. These two basic submissions lend themselves perfectly to each other, especially from the closed guard. A good cross choke set up will very often lead to the acquisition of an arm bar, if you have good plans in place. 

Giancarlo Bodoni has recently released a body of work dealing with attacks from the closed guard. Its entitled, Submission Arsenal: Closed Guard. Available now at the BJJ Fanatics online store, this instructional is packed with incredibly applicable and effective closed guard information. Bodoni has been riding a recent string of successful competitions endeavors and it’s become apparent that his closed guard is more than formidable. A student of the great Lucas Lepri, we expect to see big things from this rising star in the coming months and years. 

In this video, Bodoni provides some guidance on the classic cross choke, arm bar combination. He’s got a great approach and whether this is your favorite attack or a new concept for you, you need to check out these details. Have a look! 


Straight away we get some great advice on how to enter the collar. Bodoni advises us to not pull on the collar as we enter that first hand. Pulling down on the lapel will take up all the slack from the other side and make it difficult to enter that second hand. Instead, aim to open the collar with the opposite hand, pushing the lapel up and creating the space to enter for the first hand. Once Bodoni enters the collar, he curls his wrist toward him, securing a tight grip. You can clearly see now that on the opposite side there’s plenty of material to work with. This is great advice and it could be one of the biggest reasons our cross choke is failing us!

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With an adjustment of the hips, Bodoni creates a slight angle and begins to look to chop the second hand in towards the neck to sell the cross choke. He telegraphs the technique a bit, using a wide sweeping motion of the arm. This creates a situation where his partner must address the technique or succumb to the choke. As his partner tracks the second hand as a means of defense, Bodoni pivots on his back, traveling to a more perpendicular position. Here, he locks up a high guard over his partner’s shoulder, now clamping down on the upper body with both of his legs. With the added pressure of the legs and the hand still deep in the collar, Bodoni makes a quick pit stop here and squeezes everything together to initiate a low percentage choke. Though this is now the most popular finish, you don’t give up anything to give it a shot!

With the tip players posture under control and good deal of extension in the arm, Bodoni begins to manipulate the endangered limb into an arm bar configuration, using the baseball bat grip we’re all familiar with. To finish the lock, he simply finds some elevation in his hips and begins to lift or he can pass the leg over the head and pursue a more traditional finish. Here, he makes mention of pinching the knees together and again lifting the hips to command the tap. 

Submission Arsenal: Closed Guard by Giancarlo Bodoni

Incredibly basic and highly applicable, this is a combination that no BJJ practitioner should be without. Understanding the relationship between the cross choke and the arm bar is a skill that will serve you for years to come. Great detail work here Giancarlo Bodoni! Check out Submission Arsenal: Closed Guard!



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