The Paper Cutter Choke – BJJ Fanatics

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The Paper Cutter—or Bread Cutter—Choke is a choke with lots of advantages to it.

First and foremost, it’s a choke that you can execute without completely giving up a dominant position.

Second, as you set up this choke, there are lots of opportunities to mis-direct your opponent.

And, third, as you set up this choke, you can apply lots of pressure and make your opponent miserable.

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What’s not to love, right?

If you don’t know the Paper Cutter, Tom DeBlass Black Belt Rob Hileman, and Bernardo Faria have a very good demo video online.  Let’s take a look:

Rob begins in side control, but he grabs Bernardo’s far arm and elevates Bernardo’s elbow.  

Meanwhile, he uses his right arm/hand to block Bernardo’s hip.

After establishing control over Bernardo’s far arm and blocking the hip, Rob begins to move to a North/South position.  This is where Rob’s approach gets interesting. Most set-ups for the Paper Cutter tend to stop at a 180 degree North/South position and then move back to side control.  But Rob goes slightly beyond North/South and pins Bernardo’s face with his hip. (More on how this deceives the opponent later).

Then, Rob begins to move his hip-blocking hand underneath Bernardo’s arm to grab Bernardo’s lapel just behind his ear.  

Once Rob has a grip on Bernardo’s lapel, he returns his attention to Bernardo’s other arm.  To prevent Bernardo from defending the choke, Rob pins Bernardo’s elbow to Bernardo’s body. At the moment when Rob wants to move his hand to Bernardo’s collar, he uses his head to continue pinning Bernardo’s elbow as he establishes his grip on Bernardo’s lapel.

By pinning Bernardo’s elbow, Rob has prevented Bernardo from defending the choke.  So, the completion of the choke is only a matter of lowering the hips to the floor and bringing the elbow of the choking arm down to the floor.  To tighten the choke further, Rob moves the elbow of his choking arm toward Bernardo’s ear.

Rob’s approach uses a good bit of misdirection.  As Bernardo admits, when Rob grabs his far arm, his immediate thought is that an armbar is coming.

Then, when Rob goes past North/South instead of stopping at 180 degrees, Bernardo begins to feel concern that a North/South choke may be coming.

The first grip into the lapel is a clear signal that Rob is thinking Paper Cutter, but by that time, Rob has already gained control of Bernardo’s far arm and only needs to slide back to his original position in side control to immobilize Bernardo’s near arm.

Take a look at the full video below:

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