I want to show how I’ve redefined the trigger position for myself and what this means to how I’m getting the choke.
For the longest time, I thought of the brabo as only being available when they underhooked me. This is how it’s taught from half guard and when they escape side control. So the trigger position I came up with was “they underhook, I whizzer”, but that didn’t seem complete to me. As I learned more and more setups from all kinds of positions, I kept looking for aspects of the choke that stay true regardless of the particular setup. They didn’t always need to underhook me. In fact, it’s even better when they don’t since then I can skip crossing their arm. So what am I really looking for?
Last week I got together to train with a friend. Normally I restrict myself to a few techniques, since I know I can go nuts and pull out a bunch of moves and have a lot of fun and learn nothing. But on a whim, I decided to run myself through an inventory of every brabo choke setup I know. Not to drill each one, but to refresh myself on all the ones I knew. To my surprise, rather than getting lost in techniques, I started consolidating my knowledge. The different setups started blending together and I saw how to take from one and apply it to another. The next day I was hitting brabos from all kinds of positions I normally never tried, since my arms were just finding the grips on their own.
When I sat down and thought about it, I realized my arm was automatically going for this trigger position:
My arm reaches through their armpit and grabs behind their neck. Them underhooking me is definitely one way to get there but far from the only way.
This is good news, since people are already afraid of underhooking me, and now I don’t really care since I can work towards the choke without them feeding my the arm.
Side Control Armdrag
Let’s look at how this bears out in action. You can make them give you the trigger position even if they don’t underhook.
I’m in side control. They have their arms in good posture and aren’t trying to get the underhook to escape.
I give them some room to turn into me but they still don’t want to escape that way. Instead they are framing my neck and pushing away. My hand slides across their chest and grabs their triceps just above the elbow. I want their hand resting in the crook of my elbow, so we’re actually sharing a mutual grip. This traps their hand so they can’t circle their arm out.
I drag their arm across, crossing their elbow over their chest. I pull them to me slightly to turn their shoulder up. Then I lay my chest on their arm and use my chin to trap it. Keep control of the elbow since they’ll be fighting to pull it back or circle their arm out.
I keep pulling their arm to me as I swim and uppercut my other arm through to the “new” trigger position.
I pull my arm out then shove their elbow in with my palm. They may try to swing their arm over their head to escape, so I need to make sure I keep their arm trapped with my chest and head in the moment when I let go to switch my grips. Once I’m shoving their arm in, I give myself enough room to put their arm on their neck (since it’s going to be up by their face at first), then I lay my chest on it again once it’s in place.
From here I simply close the choke and do the usual to finish.
You can do similar setups by grabbing their wrists or their sleeves and dragging their arm across.
This also works from half guard when they are afraid to underhook.