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Triangle Choke - Easy To Learn, But Impossible To Apply

Triangle Choke - Easy To Learn, But Impossible To Apply


The Triangle Choke Is Easy To Learn, But Difficult To Apply

When you think of chokes in martial arts, you most likely envision the rear naked choke and the triangle choke.

The images of Hercules choking out a lion or Khabib’s awful rear naked choke on McGregor are fairly well ingrained in the minds of many grapplers. And the triangle choke, though a much newer grappling technique is just as iconic. I bet you can picture Nate Diaz flipping the double bird to Kurt Pelligrino as he locks up a tight triangle. Or Anderson Silva’s last minute triangle on the Gangsta from West Lynn, Chael P Sonnen. Hell, Mel Gibson even triangle choked Gary Busey in the first Lethal Weapon.

Mel Gibson Lethal Weapon Triangle Choke

Nate Diaz Vs Kurt Pelligrino UFC Triangle Choke

The triangle choke is one of the most important chokes to learn and master from guard. When it comes to triangle chokes, one of the modern masters of the triangle choke his Craig Jones. The way he sets up and attacks the triangle is unique, and once you understand his principles and concepts of attacking the triangle, you will become a master of the triangle choke.


Though the triangle is a much newer choke than the rear naked, it has a deep history and is a vital part of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo before that. The triangle shape itself is an integral part of martial arts in general, and many BJJ teams, especially in the Gracie lineage, predominantly feature the triangle as a symbol of strength. Jiu-Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie explains the significance of the triangle: “If you imagine a perfect triangle in three dimensions – in pyramid form – you can see how you can push it to either side, and it will always be stable. It regains its solid position every time. The application of this concept works that way. When you are mounted on your opponent and have three points of contact, he can move you around and you will easily find your third point again. No matter how or where he moves you, you will be able to find his third point of support.”

Abraham Marte Slip Triangle Choke

The triangle choke is often credited to two judoka in the early 1920’s Tsunetane Oda and Yaichihyōe Kanemitsu. Both were kosen judo fighters, which is the direct ancestor to BJJ. Yaichihyōe Kanemitsu had the first recorded tournament win with the triangle at a kosen judo tournament in Kobe, Hyogo in November of 1921. And later Tsunetane Oda demonstrated the triangle choke on a very early technique video earning him credit for helping to popularize the move. They however did not cross the arm across yet, so the early choke was not as efficient as it would soon become. And Masahiko Kimura, a name you all should recognize, is often credited with helping to popularize the Yoko Sankaku Jime or inverted Triangle variation.

Let’s be honest here, most of us have a real hard time setting up and finishing triangles against good guys who are specifically aware of the triangle or are using immense power or size to get out even if they get stuck in it.


Yoko Sankaku

Though the triangle has always been relatively popular since the early days of BJJ, the first modern exposure to the triangle was when Royce Gracie used it to submit Dan Severn after being pinned under the 260lb wrestler for 16 min. Later, American grappler Ryan Hall really helped bring it to the next level of popularity. Ryan may be known for his leg locks in UFC and his 50/50 guard, but before that he racked up over 200 victories via the triangle choke. And Eddie Bravo’s 2003 ADCC win over the legendary Royler Gracie by triangle is one of the most famous triangle finishes in recent history and helped kick off the whole 10th Planet system. And Werdum’s triangle chokeover Fedor in 2010 really showed how the triangle can be a great defensive weapon when you are on your back under an aggressive opponent.

Werdum Vs Fedor Triangle Choke

The triangle choke is a very effective choke that will continue to be an essential move in BJJ. With more strong wrestlers starting up BJJ, the triangle (along with the guillotine) is one of the best most powerful tools in your grappling arsenal to help deal with their strong top pressure. As long as jiu jitsu guys continue to fight off their backs, the triangle choke is going to continue to be a staple in the fighting world.

Ready to become a Master of the Triangle Choke?? Check out Craig Jones new DVD / On Demand Series: The Triangle Machine



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