The triangle choke submission is a really handy tool in a BJJ player's belt. Ultimately, it can be the deciding factor in a match. True competitors love submissions and utter domination. A mistake that is all too common, especially for novice athletes, is to celebrate too soon. In BJJ, this can be a devastating and costly mistake that can ultimately cost you the match. The best way to combat it is to shift your mentality to always be fighting. No matter how sure you think the victory may be. The easiest way to identify an athlete who celebrates too soon is to see how they react once they’ve passed a guard. Passing the guard is the easy part during a BJJ match (though sometimes it may not seem that way). The problem starts once the guard has been passed. This is when you must secure the submission, and also when things get hard.
In BJJ, it’s common to see players rely on the “points” awarded to them during the match in order to win. If there was ever a “safe bet” tactic in BJJ, this is that. Very few players enter a match looking for a submission. They’re looking to win based on points. While a win certainly is a win no matter how you get there, there’s something to be said for getting into the proper position. And just going for a full on submission from there. The triangle choke submission is a great option here. The risk to reward ratio is higher. But sometimes playing that risk is fun, and the payoff is huge.
How many times have you encountered an exceptionally defensive opponent? Everything you do they have an answer for and the match starts to feel like a stalemate? It’s easy to get frustrated in these moments. But just remember, your opponent is doing that to prevent you from advancing. And you advancing is just what they fear. It is your job to quickly identify exactly what they’re doing that is preventing you from advancing. That takes a lot of practice and a lot of conversations with your coach. If you haven't already, be sure to ask your coach about the triangle choke. Learn this technique together if you want, but definitely learn it.
Make sure you take notes before and after matches and practices to keep pushing yourself to get better at identifying various defense mechanisms early on. Once you’ve become a master at identifying those, you need to have an equally effective solution to remove the problem from the grappling equation. Thereby rendering your opponent defenseless and opening the door for you to score.
TRIANGLE SET UP
That’s where the Arm Pin comes in. This is a crowd pleaser, and easier to do than most think. Not only that, but it also can be utilized in a wide variety of situations on the mats. Let’s talk details. By pinning your opponent’s arm, you take away any chance they had at either defending or countering. You also buy time to think, plan, and attack (quickly). You allow yourself to focus on the things that matter. Things like scoring, and (even better) submitting! The simplicity of an arm pin gives you a huge advantage because you then can start to hunt for the submission.
By rendering your opponent’s arm useless, you give yourself ample opportunities to score. Additionally, if you’ve ever had your arm pinned yourself, you know how it feels and you know how debilitating it truly can be. It’s a pretty nerve wracking feeling and can momentarily cause panic to set it. While you should never panic on the mats, knowing you are inflicting momentary fear into your opponent should give you confidence, now you just have to finish the job.
The arm pin can put you in a solid position for one of three potential submissions. A wrist lock, triangle, or the armbar are all options following a successful arm pin. What you decide to follow it will depend on your positioning, strengths, and comfort level as a BJJ player. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out various scenarios and submissions following the arm pin. Play to your strengths and get the job done!
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Basic Triangle Choke
When learning and finishing a basic triangle choke, there's a bunch of details that can fall to the wayside. This is a really fun and effective technique that novice to advanced athletes can learn alike. A common phenomenon is athletes initiating, but being unable to finish the triangle choke. The video that follows will help raise your level of understanding of what it takes to actually finish your triangle choke. Most athletes “know” how to do a triangle choke but tend to skip over the important details. The details are where the meat and potatoes of this technique lie. If you truly want to get good and raise the percentage of finished with a basic triangle choke you should drill, drill, drill. And then drill again. And drill one more time.
When you are drilling this new technique, it is super important that you focus on the basics of the triangle choke. It’s very easy to focus on the first few techniques but as you speed up and get comfortable with the movements we tend to drop off when it comes to the true form of the technique. Below you can find some of the key details that you should be focusing on while drilling. Make sure that you take your time drilling and add speed as you become more proficient.
The Triangle Choke Breakdown
Triangle Choke Step 1:
Start by setting up the triangle choke with proper grips and foot placements. This is going to set up the rest of the technique and where you start is where you finish. Meaning start flawlessly, finish perfectly.
Triangle Choke Step 2:
Take the foot on the bicep and shoot it to your opponent's neck. Use your hands to pull your opponent down. Grips are important, as is hand placement. Drill it early and drill it often.
Triangle Choke Step 3:
Lock the triangle down by locking your legs and getting an under hook with your far arm. Once this is done, you're in charge, now be unrelenting and get ready to finish it.
Triangle Choke Step 4:
Make sure you make the adjustment and cut the right angle. At first, it’s okay to put your foot on the floor but try and get to a point where you don’t have to do that. Mobility helps, always! Make sure you can look down your opponents’ ear. When you can, you know you're in the right position.
Triangle Choke Step 5:
When you are looking to finish the choke, you want to make sure that your foot gets behind your knee. You can see that in this image here really well. If you can mimic that in your drilling, and then in competition, you're in a good spot!
Pulling it All Together:
One of the things you should focus on when you drill is short repetitions in duration, but a lot of reps. When initially learning techniques, try spending more time being a partner rather than doing the actual drill. One of my favorite drills is a three person drill where one person does a triangle choke for one minute with two partners. The idea here is to give two people and active rest while working. This type of drilling helps athletes remember the steps repeatedly.
So, for the white and blue belts who don’t have all the basic Jiu-Jitsu techniques down perfectly this type of drilling will help them remember the techniques more times in one session. Normally athletes drill it one time or two times in a session. This drill for a basic triangle gets athletes to not only think about what they need to do quickly multiple times. It also focuses on teaching athletes what they need to do to help their training partners learn the techniques. Hoping in turn that they understand what they need to look for to get and finish the basic triangle.
Repetition, of technique, of mantras, of form and so on, is ultimately what will guide you to the podium. Good, quality reps will ensure that you improve gradually to the point where you become a champion.
Training Program for Triangle Choke - Visit FUJI Fit's website here: Fitness
X = The training partner who is doing the choke
One minute working time set on the clock with a 15-second break
That means that each set only takes 3:45 to complete (with room for a collective 15-second break at the end). In that time span, you'll average about 10 techniques, which comes out to a lot of reps. The rest period serves as a more active rest where they recover but are still participating in the drill. I like this drill because it forces my white belts to remember quickly what the steps are that they need to do immediately. Ultimately, this will reinforce muscle and technical memory and the retention of the basic triangle choke.