The triangle choke in general is one of the strongest, most powerful submissions in modern day Jiu Jitsu. The triangle choke, as you likely know involves strangling the opponent by trapping their neck and one arm inside of your legs and working to lock a figure 4 with your legs (one foot behind the knee of the opposite leg).
The triangle strangle submission is such a powerful submission because it allows you to use massive leg muscles against the opponent’s shoulder and neck muscles. It also gives you the unique ability to strangle the opponent with your legs while delivering strikes with your hands if you so choose.
I have long been a big fan of the triangle submission possibilities. Once you start looking for them, they are everywhere. It’s like when you start looking at a new car, then suddenly you start seeing that car all over the road, everywhere you go. The same happens with submissions in Jiu Jitsu. My personal favorite is the triangle from the back. Talk about a bad place to be, that’s miserable for the opponent, there’s little to no defense once that triangle sets in.
One of the triangles I have never really had any success with, or really even the courage to try I guess, is the flying triangle. It just seems like such a risky move, but the more you look at it, and look at how different people do it, it can be done well, and safely. Let’s take a look at Edwin Najmi’s flying triangle that Bernardo Faria says is the “Best Flying Triangle Choke in the World”.
Step 1: Make sure you have enough space. As you can see in the video, the ceiling height was almost an issue, for safety reasons you always want to make sure you can train safely and eliminate the risk of getting hurt. It’s not worth it.
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Step 2: Obtain grips. Edwin chooses to get aa two on one grip on Bernardo’s lapel. Edwin is going to use this grip to continually pull Bernardo down as he takes a step back creating space and making it appear his goal is to “snap him down” to the mat, when in reality his goal is to create a reaction. The reaction Edwin is looking for is for Bernardo to fight against being pressured down or snapped down by posturing back up at the first sign of being pulled down. When he does this it’s go time.
Step 3: As Bernardo postures to prevent being pulled straight to the ground Edwin feels it’s time to make his move. Edwin notes a lot of grapplers mess up the flying triangle attack because they jump backward while trying to pull the opponent into them. He feels a more effective way to go about it is to use the grips you have to pull yourself as you jump straight up in front of your opponent, as if you were trying to leap frog over their head.
Step 4: The jump coupled with pulling on the lapel grip should be enough to get your legs around the opponent’s neck and arm and lock your feet. It is likely that your body weight and momentum alone will be enough to break the opponent’s posture and cause them to bend as you travel back to the mat landing on your back with your feet locked around the opponent’s neck and arm. In order to prevent the opponent from defending the triangle by posturing up Edwin uses his arms to push against Bernardo’s knee’s and shins immediately after landing on the mat. This will prevent Bernardo from being able to get his hips under his shoulders and start to posture and stand out of the triangle. This will typically cause the opponent to come to their knees.
Step 5: From here, Edwin simply walks backward on his shoulders until he is able to lock the figure four with his legs and finish the triangle choke submission. Once he is able to lock the figure four with his legs it’s simply a matter of finishing with whichever finish you prefer. Personally, I like to squeeze the knees together and hug my leg that is biting the opponent’s neck. On occasion I will switch to a collar tie grip and scooping under the opponent’s leg, if I feel like they have a good chance of being able to stand. This would be especially important in tournaments where slamming is allowed, or worse, in self defense situations where there are no rules and the attacker could cause serious harm to you if you allow them to stand.
While I am a huge fan of the triangle choke submission, particularly for self defense, I’m not sure that I am 100 percent sold that a flying triangle is the best variation in self defense. The fact remains, it is a really flashy, really quick, and in my opinion really cool technique that Edwin is proving can be effective in Jiu Jitsu tournaments at a black belt level.
You have likely heard the saying “Position before submission”, well, Edwin prefers to switch that up, Submission before Position is his motto. Regardless of your thoughts on that, there is no question that understanding his game will give you yet another response when you are problem solving in live training or competition. His detailed video instructional will most certainly provide you with numerous “Ah – ha” moments, and ultimately take your game up a notch.
If you likes Edwin’s style, you can check out his 3 part video instructional titled “Mission Submission” on BJJ Fanatics. This is an in depth look at not only more detail around the flying triangle, but various other submissions that Edwin likes, finds efficient, and uses in competition.