Troubleshooting the Triangle Choke
Easy Fixes To Make Your Triangle Better!
The triangle choke is a fundamental technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that works by inhibiting blood flow to the brain by pinching the carotid arteries. The move is typically set up from most forms of guard but is most popular in closed guard. This strangle utilizes the legs of the attacker entirely to squeeze the head and arm of the defender.
Although this choke is taught very early on, many students continue to have a difficult time finishing it. I remember being very good at catching the triangle choke position but was never really able to get the tap from my opponents. I always thought that it was due to not enough strength, but later learned a few tips that improved it drastically.
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In the triangle choke, one of the attacker’s legs squeezes directly on the neck while the other leg squeezes the defender’s shoulder into their own neck. This means that positing of the defender’s trapped arm is very important. Defenders will often keep their arm shallow and this can create just enough space to prevent the choke from being effective. My first tip, therefore, is always pull the defender’s trapped arm as much as possible before trying to finish the choke.
The next tip is more about control. Almost all triangle defenses require the defender to create strong posture. That means the attacker should always keep the defender’s posture broken by controlling the crown of the head using their hands. If you are switching hands to set up the finish, always switch one hand on the head while the other does what you want it to do.
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My last tip for you is to always cut a strong angle for the finish. I always see people try to finish the triangle choke directly facing their opponent. It is difficult to apply the appropriate pressure from here, but when the angle is cut, the choke becomes very tight. After you cut the angle, also, stomp and curl while you squeeze your knees together for a very strong finish.
Finally, the triangle choke can be treated as a position for transitioning to other submissions like an armbar or omoplata which can also be effective, so don’t limit yourself to just the choke. People’s defenses will often present other submission opportunities so keep your eyes open and your attacks quick.