The triangle choke is, by far, one of the most iconic submissions in all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is so ingrained in the art that if you look at most of the classic BJJ team logos, you’ll see that a typical theme for them is the triangle iconography. The triangle choke is a submission that can catch even the biggest and strongest opponent, but locking in a tight triangle can be a challenge. With this, it is important that we study a couple of options in case the triangle choke fails. In this article, we’ll discuss several follow-ups you can do from a failed triangle choke.
Why Do I Even Need To Learn The Triangle Choke?
The triangle choke is part of the history of Jiu-Jitsu in many ways. It is a submission originally from Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu that has been carried over to BJJ. With centuries of refinement and experimentation under its belt, the triangle choke is considered one of the most effective techniques in all of grappling.
While very practical in the hands of a skilled practitioner, not all can fully maximize the potential of the triangle choke. This is particularly the case for those with short and thick legs. Many practitioners, especially newbies, find it hard to fully lock on the triangle choke. We encourage you to stick to it and build a system of attacks in case your triangle choke does not work. You’ll come out of it a much better grappler, rather than ignoring the technique altogether.
Triangle Choke Follow-Up Attacks
In this video, BJJ black belt Stephan Kesting demonstrates 5 options when your triangle choke does not work. He mentions that you’ll sometimes encounter opponents who are simply difficult to tap with the triangle choke. He recommends these options as alternative techniques you can do.
If the opponent shells up and grabs near your knee, you can transition to the first technique, a wristlock, attacking the opponent’s exposed hand. This is an excellent technique because you can easily threaten the submission without compromising your position. If the wristlock does not work, you can always go back and reset without trouble. He shows 2 basic ways to attack the wristlock: one is with the gooseneck grip, and the other is from a figure four grip. Both are solid options and should be explored.
The second technique is the V armlock, more commonly known as the Americana. This is a natural follow-up to the wristlock as you are already attacking the opponent’s arm. Keep the figure four grip from the initial submission and force the opponent’s arm to bend backwards, forcing it to hyperextend by cranking it to the direction of the shoulder. This is essentially similar to the Americana submission you typically do from top pins like the mount and side control; the only difference is you do it from the bottom position. The position of your legs should work as a counterpoint as you push the arm for the tap.
The third technique is perhaps the strongest one in the bunch. This is the armbar from the trap triangle position. The triangle choke and the armbar always go hand in hand, especially in cases where you have a fully locked-in trap triangle. Grab the opponent’s arm and raise your hips as you pull the arm near your body. Doing this will hyperextend the limb and potentially break the arm if unaddressed.
The fourth technique is the fist choke, a rough submission that targets the opponent’s neck. If your opponent wraps their arms around your legs, you can place your fist on the soft part of the neck as you keep your legs locked tight. This will restrict blood flow and is a painful way to submit an opponent. You’ll surely hear nasty comments from your training partners if you want to add this move to your repertoire.
The last option from a failed triangle choke is the ever-reliable omoplata. The omoplata is another partner technique of the triangle and has been a staple of many champions for decades. From the failed triangle, push your leg so the opponent’s head is in between your legs, and transition to the omoplata. Remember that you don’t always have to go for the finish when doing the omoplata. This technique can be used not only as a submission but also as a tool to sweep, control, and move to other positions. If you want to add an element of unpredictability to your game, then you must include the omoplata in your Jiu-Jitsu.
Thinking In Chains
The best way to add fluidity to your game is to always think in combinations and chains. Regardless of whether you are on the offensive or defensive cycle, thinking in chains will force you to plan several steps ahead of your opponent, making your movements that much better. Chess players are taught to always plan ahead and look at the lay of the land at all times. The same approach can be applied to Jiu-Jitsu as well.
The Art Of Drilling
Now that you know how to do these techniques, the next step is to drill them consistently so that they become a natural part of your body movement. BJJ is a dynamic martial art with many variables in almost all positions. Drilling makes you more in tune with your chosen techniques. Practicing the basic movements repeatedly will only help you internalize their underlying mechanics.
A good way to know if you’ve internalized a technique is if you can apply it in intense situations like sparring or competition. Stress can hamper our ability to think; therefore, drilling techniques until you don’t have to think hard is an intelligent way to improve as a grappler.
Learning a couple of techniques after a failed triangle choke is absolutely important. By mastering these 5 follow-up techniques, you can turn even a missed triangle attempt into a benefit. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about finding solutions to typical problems. We hope these options will help you become more dangerous on the mats.
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