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How to Catch a Triangle on a Stubborn Opponent (BJJ)

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Applying a triangle choke.

Applying a triangle choke.

Overhooks Are King

Setting up a triangle choke with overhooks has been covered here, but this tutorial seeks to add in some serious troubleshooting you are likely to encounter during the initial set up.

We'll discuss two basic entries once you have the overhook, then talk about what is likely to happen when your opponent is conscious of both entries and resists. Finally, we'll look at another way to use the overhook for leverage.

Jump-Rope Setup

This is typically the go-to move for me if I have my partner broken down and can establish an overhook. Here, I start with double lapel grips and use this to break my partner down. Keeping one hand on the lapel, the other is free to swim for the overhook. Once you've established this grip, you want inside control on the other arm, so pummel to get your elbow and then your knee inside (imagine your partner trying to punch you with their non-overhooked arm; if they can't hit you at all, your shield is doing its job, and you have inside control).

From here, apply pressure so that your partner wants to retract their arm. When they do, "jump rope" to catch the triangle, pulling your knee all the way in close to your chest so that your leg will jump over your partner's biceps cleanly.

Stuff Setup

If your partner is familiar with the jump-rope set up, they aren't likely to concede inside control. As they go to keep their hand on the inside, use this opportunity to pin their hand to their chest. From here, use the "stuff setup" to leap over their hand for the triangle set up (there is a lot of contrast here with the "jump rope" version, where you clear their biceps with your foot; here, you leap over their hand with your thigh).

Using the Choke to Set Things Up

You can use a cross-choke set up from the overhook in order to get your partner to block the choke. This means that their hand is in close to their chest, which is a perfect setup for the stuff setup shown here.

The Double Stuff

Another great way to set up the stuff triangle involves first establishing the inside control. This is a powerful, sneaky way to get into the choke, predicated upon a reasonably intelligent response from your partner. As you get inside with your shin, your partner naturally doesn't want to give up the jump-rope triangle. Wait for them to squeeze inward, fighting the set up. Use this energy to force their arm inside, and use the stuff set up to finish catching the triangle.

Leg Overhook Option

While the leg-overhook position has been covered extensively, it's well worth mentioning here. Sometimes establishing the overhook itself can be tricky, but using a Shawn Williams guard is an excellent alternative. Make sure to include your leg in the overhook, and your transitions to the triangle are going to be equally viable, and your initial set up may be considerably easier. You also have easy access to omoplatas and other submissions.

Overhook Overview

Overhooks are a major part of my personal game, and I've used them extensively in order to catch triangles in competitions over the years. As the game has evolved, so has my overhook game, lest it be left completely behind! As a result, there are some very subtle, sneaky tricks to catch submissions and sweeps that used to come naturally and easily for me. This is the beauty of a constantly evolving art, and we are lucky to be able to practice it (and contribute to it, at the end of the day). As always, please let me know how these techniques are working for you!

© 2017 Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith (author) from Richmond, VA on December 11, 2017:


jb8 on December 11, 2017:

Great techniques; great site!