Angles for strangles

Photo @supersaiyanmagicalgirl

Photo @supersaiyanmagicalgirl

Nothing beats a strangle from the back to demonstrate clearly the founding principles of jiu jitsu. Positional control that renders even the most dangerous opponents relatively harmless, a submission that can go from fairly gentle all the way to rendering someone unconscious or worse in extreme cases, and one which a smaller person can reasonably expect to apply successfully against a much larger and stronger foe. The first question is always - how do I get there? It all begins with angle. In the most basic cases I MUST BE ABLE TO GET OUTSIDE MY OPPONENTS ELBOW - EITHER BY MOVING HIS ELBOW OR BY MOVING MYSELF AROUND THE ELBOW ( usually both at the same time). This will give me the angle I need to initiate a movement towards my opponents back. A common problem I see here is that students will gain an angle by successfully getting outside an elbow, but then hesitate and lose that momentary opportunity. A phrase that I often use with my students is this - if you can SEE the back, then you can TAKE the back. The most common ways you will be able to see your opponents back in a combat situation is if you get outside his elbow (eg an arm drag) or over his head (eg snap down) or inverted spin around or through his legs (eg berimbolo). As you enter these, or any equivalent move, there will be a moment where you can see the back - even just a small part of the back - and that is where you must move decisively and with purpose. As you spar, LOOK FOR THAT VISUAL CUE that signals opportunity and take it. Of course you will fail sometimes when you first try - that’s normal - but in time the visual cue will be followed by successful action and you will prove to be a dangerous opponent who can literally see opportunity and take it. Remember always that EVERY SUCCESSFUL PHYSICAL ACTION BEGINS WITH THE MENTAL ACT OF RECOGNITION OF OPPORTUNITY, WITHOUT WHICH THE ACTION NEVER WOULD HAVE EVEN OCCURRED. In time you will learn that you can take the back without even seeing the back - but at the start this is the single best way to get students going beyond angle and getting all the way to the best position in the sport.