No Arm Triangle With Romulo Barral – BJJ Fanatics

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The triangle choke or strangle, depending on your preferred terminology, is one of the newest submissions in Jiu Jitsu, or grappling in general.  Thought to be first developed in Japan in the early 1900’s slightly before World War One, the triangle strangle submission has no evidence of existence prior to this time frame, as all of our other fundamental techniques do.  (More on the history of the triangle submission in another article)

Regardless of the age of the submission, the triangle strangle submission is one of the most powerful submissions anyone can learn.  It’s often taught from the closed guard position as a fundamental technique when we first start training Jiu Jitsu. The triangle strangle submission is extremely versatile with applications in sport Jiu Jitsu form almost any position, street self defense, and as a sub category under self defense, women’s self defense specifically to defend against sexual assault.  

The triangle submission is popular and versatile because it creates the unique ability to use your legs, to fight against your opponent’s smallest upper body muscles, the neck and shoulders.  The legs are a massive muscle group compared to the neck and shoulders allowing a much smaller grappler to be very successful with the triangle strangle submission against much larger opponents.

From a self defense perspective, the triangle strangle submission gives us the ability to:

  • Over power a larger attacker
  • Use only our legs to strangle the attacker freeing up our hands for additional self defense such as striking
  • Use this position to control the opponent and hold them in place with minimal risk, even if you are not able to achieve the strangle completely

From a sport perspective, the triangle strangle submission gives us the ability to do all of the same things, with the added benefit of looking at stetting ups sweeps or chaining additional submissions together.  We run less risk of slamming in competitions allowing us to focus more on technique and not be overly concerned with getting slammed, which would be a huge concern in a self defense situation. We rectify that by simply under hooking the attacker’s leg on the same side as our leg that is biting the neck.  

Professor John Danaher says, “In my experience the students who learn to wrestle with their legs the soonest, progress the fastest”.

Being that the triangle is a favorite submission of mine, I always look forward to BJJ Fanatics releasing anything triangle related.  As I’m sure you can relate, there’s always new details to be found for your favorite techniques. Regardless of how long you have been training, the beautiful thing is Jiu Jitsu is growing and evolving just like we are, there will always be more to learn.  When I saw Romulo Barral’s video titled “No Arm Triangle” obviously I was curious.  Let’s break it down.

Starting off in guard, we are assuming the opponent was able to get under both of our legs and is setting up a stack pass.  The first thing Professor Barral is doing is not allowing Professor Faria under his hips. He is continuing to scoot back, gripping the Gi at the wrists when necessary, but not allowing him to close the distance and get under his hips.  If Professor Faria is able to get under the hips, he will be able to elevate Professor Barral and reduce his ability to perform this technique.

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Professor Barral is looking to keep the distance until his opponent brings his posture down and has his head within easy reach, as they would do if transitioning to another pass or trying to gain better control of the opponent’s hips.  Once the head is within reach, Professor Barral is placing his left hand against the side of Professor Faria’s neck with the bone in his thumb and hand pressed against the artery. He does this in a way as to make the opponent think he is trying to push them away or frame, to prevent them from getting closer.  At this point he is then able to shoot his triangle, locking his right leg over the opponent’s neck (on the opposite side artery) and then locking his left leg over his right foot.

From here the finish is the same as a typical triangle, you would squeeze your knees together, pull the head down and lift your hips towards the ceiling to finish the triangle strangle submission.

This technique proves that the sport of Jiu Jitsu is continually evolving and advancing.  There was a time when everyone was told, you can not finish the triangle strangle submission without having the arm in.  If your opponent get’s their arm out, you need to abort and go to plan B because there is no finish from there and getting your guard passed is inevitable.  

There is no question the triangle strangle submission is a lethal tool every grappler should be comfortable with from any angle, and constantly looking to develop the skill set. If you are looking to expand your triangle strangle submission knowledge, Everyday Porrada Spider Guard By Romulo Barral is for you!

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