How To Properly Set Up & Execute The Brabo Choke

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Sometimes, as an instructor, I find myself getting lost in thought a lot.  When thinking about what to teach next, I find myself thinking about certain groupings of holds and what they offer.  For instance, I always find myself thinking about “fundamental” or “foundational” moves that I deem a must for every grappler starting out.

Often times I get too consumed with this catch-all phrase, and end up with a narrow definition of what it really means and leave some vital moves out of the equation until I sit down and really think it over.

For some time, I found myself neglecting some great moves that are easy and fun to learn.  When beginners come to class, they want something unique but effective, as well as nothing too taxing.

Luckily for them, there are plenty of moves like that, and it’s my pleasure to teach them these moves.

Ladies and gents, say hello to the brabo choke! brabo

Making Your Opponent’s Life Miserable From Side Control

We start this setup from top side control.  Now, if you’ve read my work before, you know I’m big supporter of having this move in your favor.  It’s something that can cause a lot of stress and panic for certain grapplers and being stuck in bottom side control is no picnic.

As we have them trapped, our opponent will look to turn up into us.  Once they do, we want to make sure that we have that top arm in place and not moving.  While doing this, make sure our head-side arm is digging into their head; just make it even more miserable for them.

Being in a rough spot, they will then search for the underhook, which is exactly what we want them to do!  Once they feel as if their hook is in place, you’ll want to take all of that pressure you were just applying to their face, and use to force their head down towards the mat, while shooting your opposite arm under their neck.

Once this is in place, you could either grip the hands together, or bring your arm to your bicep.  To finish the choke, it’s a ‘pick your poison’ type of approach, for arguments sake we’re going to make it simple by bringing our knees towards our opponent and squeezing the hold for the submission.

Restricting Blood Flow To The Brain

One thing that makes this move to effective is the manner of which it makes your opponent give up.  Many submissions focus on joints and causing pressure to the bones, which can work against you if your opponent is flexible.

However, when you attack the neck of your opposition, you are going right after the blood flow to their brain, and restricting their oxygen.  No matter how tough they are, we’re all human, and when someone compromises our blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain, then panic sets in and all of a sudden winning a BJJ match isn’t so important.

Here is another great article on the use of the Brabo Choke Hold from BJJ Eastern Europe.

Dan Faggella

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