Triangles - Once it’s on - it’s on!!
When I coach triangle strangles, I strongly emphasize the two stage approach of first locking a TRAP TRIANGLE (locking your ankles around your opponents head and arm rather like a closed guard) and then adjusting from there to the FIGURE FOUR TRIANGLE that actually strangles your opponent. This creates a very distinctive pattern of ENTRY AND CONTROL followed by ADJUSTMENT AND STRANGULATION.
This two stage approach is, I believe, the most high percentage method of practicing and employing triangles in competitive situations. It does mean however, that there is a time lag between the trap triangle and the figure four - once you lock that initial triangle you can fully expect your opponent to go into maximum overdrive escape sequences that can take you on a wild ride that takes you anywhere from off the floor, through three hundred and sixty degree rotations to slams to powerful twisting shrugs. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO MAKE YOUR ADJUSTMENTS DURING WILD RESISTANCE AND STAY THE COURSE UNTIL THE STRANGLE IS SET. Here, Nicky Ryan follows an opponent through powerful defensive movements to get his triangle submission in the US ADCC trials. Observe the single minded focus as he manipulates his opponents arm during a chaotic time, all whilst progressing further towards his goal. Try to map out your responses to the main directions your opponent can engage in once the trap triangle is locked. What would you do if you were lifted? Spun left? Right? This will help you in sparring as things happen very quickly so the faster your response kick in, the better.