Continuing the brabo choke theme, I’d like to go over another aspect of this technique.
In the Shinya Aoki footage I analyzed previously, we saw how he sat out and ran himself “under side control” to apply the choke, but he ultimately finished it from the top.
Sprawling to finish it is fine. It’s the most common way it’s taught, and in some cases, like when you’re stuck in half guard, the best way to do it. But what I want to focus on is switching your base and running towards them to get the submission instead.
I have footage of a Jeff Glover match that illustrates this perfectly. It’s fast, so you may want to watch it a couple times. If only we had slow motion replay.
Jeff Glover in Grappling All-Stars
Jeff armdrags into a single leg then swings his leg and sits to take them down.
With both of them down, Jeff quickly gets an underhook and comes to his knees, controlling their near leg, preventing them from getting up too.
Jeff drives into side control and gets a crossface as his opponent struggles to block him. They reach across with both hands and shove Jeff’s hips to try to keep him away.
Jeff shoots his left hand under the out-stretched arm and around the head, grabbing the back of the neck. His right arm goes behind the head and he grabs his own biceps.
Jeff switches his hips to get in position to finish the brabo, but his opponent tries to catch him in half or full guard. Jeff “hides” his legs, bending them and keeping them hooked so he can slip and circle them out. At one point, Jeff almost takes mount when his opponent tries to trap his legs but can’t.
“Hiding” the legs like this is a skill in itself. Being able to do this is also useful when passing guard and avoiding half guard and butterfly hooks.
Jeff eventually settles back into side control and stretches his legs back to untangle them. He switches his base again and walks in a circle towards his opponent. His opponent comes to his knees but is still forced to submit to the choke.
You also see this point illustrated in the sample technique for Paragon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Secrets of our Success:
What I find interesting is how it doesn’t seem to matter which side you go to. Jeff traps the same arm in both videos, but runs to opposite sides to finish.
Likewise, at 2:18 of this Grapplers of Japan highlight, you can see Shinya in the same position as his first clip, but he sits out to the opposite side. It has a dramatic effect, forcing his opponent to do a full front flip.
The reason that both ways work is that they have the same final result: forcing the head down into the chest. If you can do this, even from the bottom, you can get the choke.
I learned the brabo choke a while ago but kept dropping it since I never liked how often it neck cranked people instead of choking them. I’d get the tap and ask “Was that a choke or a neck crank?” The answer was usually “Oww, neck crank” or “Neck crank with a little choke”. It was rare to hear “Just a choke.”
It wasn’t until I watched Jeff Rockwell’s no-gi chokes instructional where he shows sitting into them to finish that I decided to give the brabo another try.
After a little practice and testing with this method, I found the answer had changed to “Wow, solid choke” almost every time. I also cleared up a few other details that contributed to this (which I’ll cover later), but the main change was in how I finished it.
More brabo choke homework to come.