When you think of the face of American Jiu Jitsu, who comes to mind? I’m sure someone like BJ Penn comes to mind, given his ultra-popularity through his years of dominance in the Ultimate Fighting Championships. While I’m not knocking Penn—who was the first American black belt to win the Brazilian nationals—I wouldn’t think of him as the best.
Personally, the name that jumps right to mind for me is that of Rafael Lovato Jr. Lovato Jr is extremely decorated on the mat, and he has plenty of shiny gold medals to prove that he is the best of the best. A grappler that executes his large stature, Lovato has many ways that allow him to end a match.
A grapple with many calling cards such as the kimura, Lovato is also known for his usage of the Bravo choke. Recently, I caught up with Lovato to discuss his outlook and take on that specific move.
Bravo-When & Why To Use It
When I asked Rafael if having longs limbs, as he does, helps with the move, his answer was a little shocking. He said you don’t have to be a long grappler, but having longer arms does help. Having longer arms means he can close the distance much faster, making him that much more dangerous.
As the talk went on, we touched on the amount of times the move is pulled off. Despite it’s effectiveness…it doesn’t happen all that often.
Lovato was quick to note how it’s become less common in the world of Gi grappling, however, it is still rather prevalent in the world of NoGi, and often termed the ‘d’arce choke.’
But all it takes is one man to be able to perfect it, and that man is Lovato. How easy is this move for him? Well, as Rafael put it, “it only takes one arm.”
The Hidden Tricks of The Bravo
“I studied the grips,” Lovato recalls of the first time he saw the hold. Dedicating time to learning the move, Lovato soaked everything up as if he were a sponge in order to perfect the smallest of details in the move.
“I started using it and bringing it into my game.”
It didn’t take long until Lovato realized how impactful this move really is. Not only can it be an effective submission, but Rafael was quick to note it can act as a decoy of sorts.
“There are so many ways you can bait them,” Lovato explains. Once the initial move is locked in, your opponent is likely to panic and try to escape. If they do, you still have a wide array of holds such as an X-Choke. You can learn more on submissions from Lovato himself in his new DVD “Seal the Deal”. We included a review on his course as well here.
It’s funny, while the move itself may not be the most popular, it can sure dominate a match. Funny how that works out.