Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Anaconda to be exact. That's what we worked on last night: The Anaconda Choke. Fabio joked that, back in Brazil, no one called it the Anaconda Choke. They just called it a choke. Here, everyone has to have a name for everything. ;)

In the last several weeks, I've seen some improvement in my ability to finish chokes, whether it be triangles, gi-chokes or head and arm chokes. I was catching them before, but not really able to get the tap. It was a triangle drill that Fabio made us work one night that made the concept click for me and made me realize where the major problems were in my techniques.

Before, I was squeezing and pulling a lot to finish my chokes. I remember thinking that there must be something wrong with my technique because, not only was I not finishing chokes, but I was wearing my muscles out while trying to do them. I was trying to use strength because my technique was defunct.

Then Fabio taught us how to quickly finish a triangle. You start with having the person in your closed triangle. You lift your hips, tightening your knees together and cinching up the triangle, then you come down keeping your knees tightened. You go up again, your knees coming even tighter. You do this rapidly, as many times as you need to, cinching up the triangle until the person taps. It's not about squeezing hard, it's about closing space. It looks funny, but most people ended up tapping within a few seconds or passing out.

And it requires no strength!

The key thing that stuck with me was the idea of shrinking everything in on the person. It wasn't so much about pulling or squeezing. It was about closing all the space. To do that, you have to relax and kind of form yourself around the person's body, tightening everything as you do, kind of like a constrictor snake does. As usual, I had been shown all of this before. But during that drill I finally understood what it felt like in application.

I realized that chokes are not just about my arms or my legs. They're about using my whole body and about relaxing and shrinking the space around the arteries. So, here are a couple of rules of thumb that I am trying to keep in mind with chokes:

1. Relax. I can't close the space adequately if I'm tense.

2. If I can see the choke, chances are I'm not in close enough. Shrink in with my whole body, tightening all the space with my knees or my elbows, depending on which choke it is.

3. Don't give up on a choke too soon. The goal is to be tight from the start, but don't despair if I don't get in tight enough at first. Keep cinching it up, staying relaxed and moving with the person wherever they roll.


Liam H Wandi said...

Thanks for that tip Allie. I'll try it out tonight, tho I don't think short legged people like me are in the same boat.

I really liked your second rule of thumb: If I can see the choke, chances are I'm not in close enough. I've never seen that before. Cool!