Like Bjoern, it was Shinya Aoki that inspired me to work on the brabo choke again. His instructional has my favorite material on the move, and I don’t even speak Japanese. He has very clean technique so it’s easy to follow, and language isn’t a factor in the competition footage.

One of the matches shown on this DVD contains a wealth of information on the brabo, but you’ve got to watch it closely. It’s easy to overlook since it’s a short match, lasting little over a minute.

I was going to include this in the large collection of brabo choke material I compiled, but I didn’t want it to get lost in that mass of data.

Thanks to the magic of youtube, we can breakdown the match together:

Shinya Aoki vs Pedro Akira in Campeonato Japones 2005

Aoki leads off with a beautiful takedown that lands him in knee-on-belly. He holds this for a few moments before Pedro gets on his side and starts turning to his knees.

The moment Aoki feels he’s losing knee-on-belly, he jumps into position to get a front headlock as Pedro rolls to his hands and knees. He shoots his right arm under the armpit and around the head and closes the arm triangle before Pedro has a chance to go for a takedown or pull guard.

The initial grip isn’t as deep as he wants it, so Aoki keeps adjusting it, pushing his choking arm deeper and grabbing his sleeve to climb his hand up his biceps. With his free hand, he grabs the fabric on Pedro’s back and uses this to cinch it tighter.

After the referee fixes a gi across his face, Pedro tries to pull butterfly guard but Aoki sprawls so his weight keeps Pedro bent over and unable to sit into it.

This next sequence is what really interests me.

After adjusting his grip a little more, Aoki tries to use it to force Pedro to fall to his back. Because he has a free arm on that side, Pedro posts and resists, staying on his knees. Aoki uses the struggle to wiggle his grip a little tighter.

Feeling Pedro won’t go down, Aoki switches his base and starts running around as if he wants to pull himself under side control. At one point he is flat on his back with Pedro on top of him. But with the arm triangle still locked, this just forces Pedro’s head down into his chest, creating the pressure the choke needs to work.

Aoki keeps switching between sitting out and running himself under and getting back to his knees a few times. Pedro is scrambling to survive the choke and find a way out.

Feeling that Pedro has lost his balance trying to resist, Aoki hops to his knees one last time and again tries to force Pedro to his back. This time it works.

He finishes the submission by squeezing the choke and sprawling into it from a position somewhere between side control and north-south.

For one and half minute match, I picked up several valuable lessons:

– Being ready and able to shoot the arm deep and lock the arm triangle from the front headlock.

– Taking the time to adjust the grip until it’s where you want it. Using gi grips to cinch it tighter.

– Sprawling to prevent guard pulling. This is useful for the front headlock and guillotines in general.

– Switching between forcing them down and sitting out and running “under side control” to get the choke.

More brabo choke analysis to come.