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Old 05-01-2008, 12:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Good Triangle vs. Bad Triangle

Nothing pisses me off more when I'm watching a competition than a bad triangle choke, especially in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission grappling. In MMA, I understand guys having alot to worry about outside of just the submission, but the littlest detail is the one that saves the most people, and it would have saved Ricardo Arona, if he had done a good triangle.

This is a bad triangle choke:



This is a good triangle choke:


Honestly, the little part's not as obvious in that one, but there are no really good triangles on the internet.

One of the first things I learned about the triangle choke is that the secret has nothing to do with pulling the head down and getting the arm across tight, there's something that, once you have the position relatively close, will finish that for you.

Hook the leg.

It doesn't need to be deep. In a gi competition, just grabbing one of the legs of the pants and pulling yourself sideways will work, but hooking the leg changes the entire basis of the triangle. I say this to the kids I teach all of the time: it's not just about locking up the head and squeezing really hard, nothing in jiu-jitsu works like that.

Here's what I mean:

If you pull yourself sideways by hooking the leg you are preventing the slam (you won't get rampaged), but you are also creating the perfect angle to cut right into the neck with your leg that is supposed to be cutting off blood. This also tightens your grip on your opponents arm and, if their arm is trapped in your hip the way that it should be, this will finish the technique.

It's a little detail, but I see guys get so frustrated with the triangle and waste so much energy dealing with it and squeezing so hard with their legs, and all that they have to do is hook that leg and pull their body parallel to their opponent's and they've got the submission in a few seconds.

Everyone always worries, in the triangle, about their opponent stepping over their head when they turn sideways, so they try and stay like this:



They think that they're safe because they're opponent can't step over their head and pry the triangle off.

I've had guys try and do that to me, and there are two easy solutions:

Keep holding the leg. They can't step over you if the leg is hooked in your armpit. That's one of the best motivators to establish control of the leg.

or

Go for a toehold. It's a bit crazy, but I've landed it in sparring a few times and it's fun. If you have a gym where they let you do that, it's a cool trick and their only solution for escaping the toe hold will be to pull that leg away, undoing that step over and allowing you to go back and work on the triangle that you kept on.

I tend to stick to the leg-hook, because simplicity is key for me in competition, but I just wanted to emphasize the point:

Make that angle by using that leg hook. You solve alot of problems.
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good read IronMan, repped (oh have to spread it around first...). I really like your constructive posts, and I understand exactly what you mean. Hooking the leg is a very important part in the triangle, and is what we're taught to do.

But after reading this, I'm going to put effort into remembering this Keep up the good work!

EDIT: Btw, where do you train? You seem really good at grappling, do you have a belt degree? (Or does your gym screw the belts like mine do?)
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Good read IronMan, repped (oh have to spread it around first...). I really like your constructive posts, and I understand exactly what you mean. Hooking the leg is a very important part in the triangle, and is what we're taught to do.

But after reading this, I'm going to put effort into remembering this Keep up the good work!

EDIT: Btw, where do you train? You seem really good at grappling, do you have a belt degree? (Or does your gym screw the belts like mine do?)
I train at Rocha Jiu-Jitsu under Eduardo Rocha (multiple time Pan Am Champion and 3rd Degree blackbelt under Royler Gracie). I have a high ranking white belt right now, technically, because our gym really makes you work your ass off for rank advancement.
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I train at Rocha Jiu-Jitsu under Eduardo Rocha (multiple time Pan Am Champion and 3rd Degree blackbelt under Royler Gracie). I have a high ranking white belt right now, technically, because our gym really makes you work your ass off for rank advancement.
Ah I see. Well, good luck with your training, your blue belt sure will be sweeter if you have to really work to get it
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice write up. I've always liked this Dean Lister vid on the triangle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2v7GFAI_2k
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Good read IronMan. +rep

I'm not nearly as experienced as you, however, I was lucky enough to learn this tidbit when I first learned the triangle. One thing that I find is that it also helps to keep your opponent from stacking you, once you get the leg hooked. I'm sure you know that, but I was bringing it up since you didn't mention that.

On a side note I have a question. When you first apply the triangle, before you can hook the leg, how do you react to the following: You apply the triangle, go for the hook, your opponent steps back with that leg while stacking you and starts circling and trying to step over with the opposite leg. In essence he is keeping you from hooking that leg while trying to stack and circle out at the same time. In that situation it turns into what you call a bad triangle. This (atleast in my situation) results in me resulting to try and pull the head down, crossing the arm, before he can successfully step over and out of the triangle. Any tricks of the trade so to speak?
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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On a side note I have a question. When you first apply the triangle, before you can hook the leg, how do you react to the following: You apply the triangle, go for the hook, your opponent steps back with that leg while stacking you and starts circling and trying to step over with the opposite leg. In essence he is keeping you from hooking that leg while trying to stack and circle out at the same time. In that situation it turns into what you call a bad triangle. This (atleast in my situation) results in me resulting to try and pull the head down, crossing the arm, before he can successfully step over and out of the triangle. Any tricks of the trade so to speak?
Yeah. Keep your hips locked up and close. Alot of people accidentally loosen the triangle and give up the submission.

If they stand up and try to stack you and circle the other way, do a backwards rollover your shoulder, with the triangle tight, and flip them over to mount. That's really the way to deal with stacking.
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Old 05-06-2008, 02:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ya triangles are all about getting the angle. I actually recently watched the Hazellet KOS fight and at the end of round one, Haz couldn't finish KOS because he didn't get the proper angle. Easier said than done sometimes though.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ya triangles are all about getting the angle. I actually recently watched the Hazellet KOS fight and at the end of round one, Haz couldn't finish KOS because he didn't get the proper angle. Easier said than done sometimes though.
True, but at the same time, the adjustment is really a detail that you can get if you work the triangle in deep enough.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey Ironman you ever use the TeePee choke?
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