The triangle choke is a submission grapplers learn earlier on in their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey. It seems that as students progress through the belt system of Jiu Jitsu, some gravitate towards advancing the triangle choke while others begin to forget about i it’s extraordinary power. The triangle choke is much more powerful and useful than you think.
Pritt Mihkelson describes his training as “functionalistic minimalism” – based on fundamental postures and movements that ever grappler needs to know.
Like many basic submissions, the triangle can be a difficult submission to find success with for new students. Because everyone learns it early, everyone learns to avoid getting caught in it. That is the first step to developing a good triangle, finding unique ways to set it up that will surprise new students. Not that the basic set ups don’t work, but the entire arsenal of attacks needs to be expanded.
In fact, one of my most successful triangle attacks is from closed guard. If someone starts digging their elbow in to my thigh, I push their wrist to their chest and lock up a triangle. I think I find success with this set up because people don’t expect a skilled grappler to try something so basic, but it works.
Another great position to attack the triangle from that people don’t try often is the half guard. In half guard, the bottom player generally has more mobility, especially with the legs. This is even more true for people who are skilled and used half guard a lot. The only tricky part with triangle set ups from half guard is getting that bottom leg free.
One of the best proponents of the triangle choke is Edwin Najmi. Edwin is one of the top grapplers in the sport today and is know for having a great submission game. In the following video, Edwin shows a great and effective set up for the triangle choke from half guard and explains a lot of important details on how to finish it. See below:
One thing that is easier to do in half guard than closed guard is getting an over hook. The over hook is valuable when setting up triangle chokes because it prevents the defender from pulling that elbow out of the guard. Also, because half guard is played on our sides, it is overall easier to manipulate our opponents, which is necessary when setting up tricky submissions.
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