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Turning Takedowns into Submissions with Joel Bouhey
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Turning Takedowns into Submissions with Joel Bouhey

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Get to the Ground With a Plan

Takedowns are important. After all, even though we often begin rolling while seated, competitions start from the feet. There’s nothing more frustrating for a ground specialist than to be trapped standing with minimal takedown skills. We develop a takedown game for all of these reasons but too often we learn those moves in total isolation. Instead of drilling a takedown to a static position, we should be drilling combinations of a takedown into a submission each and every time we hit the mat.

So Many Options

Today we’re taking a look at the options when we have our opponent’s head and arm from a standing position. This could happen several ways but there are two very likely scenarios. The first is that your opponent led with their head for a takedown and you were faster than them. In this case, you should be able to control the neck and an arm before hitting the mat. Another common way to end up here is to snap down your opponent’s neck with a strong single collar tie. Regardless of the entry, we’ll start the discussion from standing head and arm control. 


The first option, and one that many people learn very early on, is the guillotine. Once you have this grip locked in, the choke can be finished from a standing position, from mount, or from guard very easily. Generally speaking, you’ll suck your arms in as you curl to your side slightly in order to apply the finishing pressure. Learning how to slap on a tight guillotine as a reaction is a great way to defend yourself from takedowns or to control your opponent in transition. 


With enough training, and especially with long arms, you can also get good at grabbing a D’arce from this standing position. In any situation where you have an armpit and the neck, you have an opportunity to try and sink in the D’arce. In this case, you slide the overhook hand through to the neck and seal up a rear naked grip on the back of your partner’s lat muscle.

The Path of Least Resistance

The option we’ll focus on today is not a standing finish, but a takedown into a finish. After the discussion above, it might seem like an extra step to take the opponent down. There are two reasons that this is not the case. One reason is that your opponent may have a lot of forward momentum that needs to be shifted to avoid you being taken down yourself. In this case, avoiding their force and using it to take them down makes sense. In addition, standing submissions are generally much easier to escape than ones on the ground. Taking our opponent down controls their force and increases the percentage for our finishing hold.

Standing Butterfly Sweep to D’arce Choke

Take a look at this clip from Joel Bouhey, in which he demonstrates the idea of moving fluidly from takedowns to submissions. Keep reading after the video for a detailed breakdown of both concepts that he shows.

Check Out Joel's Instructionals! Click Learn More!

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The Standing Butterfly Sweep

The sweep that Joel Bouhey shows off here is the standing butterfly sweep. Those familiar with a seated butterfly guard will notice that the overhook on your partner's arm is nearly identical in either position. Since the butterfly sweep starts with a bite down on that overhook, you can assume that it will be there from standing positions as well. In order to make this happen, you’ll essentially pull butterfly guard while falling to the overhook side. As you land, you’ll complete the sweep with the standard butterfly mechanics: pull on the overhook, extend your partner away with your top butterfly hook, and drive off of your bottom leg as you come up on top for the sweep. 

The D’arce Choke

With a regular butterfly sweep, you would likely have an underhook or a collar tie in place of the arm that is looped around their neck for the standing variation. So, while normal, seated hand positioning doesn’t allow you to move directly into a D’arce choke, this modified grip where you’re already around the neck does. Stick tight to your opponent with your hands gripped and you’ll end up in a good position for the choke.


As you come up on top, shoot the overhook arm deep past your partner's neck until you have room to grip from the other side of it. At this point, or even before, you can break their neck posture by using your north tricep to draw your partner’s neck towards you. Once your overhook hand can grab your north bicep, which now controls the head and neck, you can tighten up a rear naked grip and turn your south elbow towards the sky for a finish.


As we discussed above, combinations like this are the bread and butter of any high-level Jiu Jitsu player. Having a plan as you take your opponent down can make all the difference.

An Expert in the Clinch Game

Joel Bouhey comes from an impressive Jiu Jitsu lineage. He is a 2nd degree blackbelt under Luis Heredia, himself a student of the legendary competitor Rickson Gracie. Bouhey has dedicated his grappling career to spreading the art through education, and has created several instructionals in addition to actively coaching. He currently trains fighters in Hawaii.


An expert off his back, Bouhey is probably best known in the Jiu Jitsu community for his creation and perfection of the falcon guard, a specialized, chinch-based form of closed guard. With all his time spent locking on to overhooks and underhooks, Joel has learned to see the D’arce choke, among other things, from a wide range of positions.

Joel's Instructional

His instruction on the D’arce in Finding the D’arce Choke Everywhere is second to none. If you enjoy his instruction and are looking to tighten up your choke game, make sure you take a look on BJJFanatics.com.

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