How to Do the Baseball Bat Choke in BJJ

How to Do the Baseball Bat Choke in BJJ

If you’ve trained for a while, it’s likely you have encountered the baseball bat choke in BJJ. It is one of those moves that people tend to go for in a match. The baseball bat choke in BJJ is arguably one of the most painful chokes you can encounter. If you’ve ever got caught with it in a match, you know exactly what I’m talking about! It hurts!

There’s a reason why the Baseball Choke in BJJ is a frequently used attack. It’s simple, quick, and extremely effective if you use it correctly. This is a very sneaky blood choke – you can easily put an unsuspecting opponent to sleep! In this article, we take a look at one of the all-time favorites. Let’s review how to perform the baseball bat choke in BJJ.

Baseball Bat Choke in BJJ

Performing the Choke

Just like many of the other moves in Jiu Jitsu, the baseball bat choke has several variations to it. However, the technique is pretty much the same. Unlike other chokes from the front, it isn't a cross choke. The baseball choke doesn’t require you to cross your arms. The choke is performed by grabbing the same side collar.

Basically, the goal is to put one hand behind the opponent collar with the thumb inside and four fingers out. The other hand will go across the far collar with four fingers inside and thumb out. Your hand placement against the opponent’s collar should look like it’s holding a baseball bat.

Baseball Bat Choke from Knee Mount

Traditionally the baseball bat choke is set up from the knee mount position. You can also get it from the side control position but it’s less likely since you would need a bit of space to grab the opponent’s far collar.

Starting from side control, using the hand that normally hugs the head to maintain side control, place your thumb inside the opponent’s collar behind the neck. Make a fist with this hand and place your knuckles down on the mat.

With your opposite hand, you can post it on the mat or your opponent. Using your hand and knuckles posted on the mat, pop up to a knee mount. Make sure to keep your thumb inside behind their collar as you pop up.

As you drive your knee down on your opponent’s stomach, their ideal reaction is to try to buck you off by pushing on your knee and hip escaping. Capitalize on this! As they put their focus on pushing your knee, their far collar is wide open. Grab it!

With your palm facing upwards, insert four fingers inside the far collar and try to meet your opposite hand.

Next, using the knee on the same side that grabbed the far collar, place your knee on the opponent’s arm. By pinning the hand down, they won’t be able to prevent your from finishing the choke.

To finish the choke, spin over to north-south by moving your opposite leg on the other side of their head. Both knees should be on each side of the head. To finish, just squeeze and pull tight!

Baseball Bat Choke from Bottom

Not many people know this, but you can actually finish the baseball bat choke in BJJ from the bottom! It is an extremely sneaky choke that is very hard to see coming – especially coming from a bad position!

The baseball choke from the bottom is performed from bottom side control. You are typically getting smashed down by your opponent’s heavy side control. And as you sneak in your baseball bat grips, an unsuspecting opponent from the dominant position can suddenly get choked out!

From the non-dominant bottom position, your opponent ideally puts heavy top pressure on you from side control. Your reaction is usually to frame and get space while theirs is to close in the gap.

As your opponent continues to crush you down, place your thumb behind the collar. As they are in a dominant position, this thumb is usually ignored.

Now the hard part. Sneak your opposite hand and grab the inside collar with your four fingers. This might be tricky especially if the opponent is smashing you down with no space in between. If this happens, use the hand with the thumb in the collar and punch straight up. This may give you a little space to sneak the hand in. You don’t need a whole lot of space.

Once you get your baseball grips in, you’re basically there! Not even knee mount will save your opponent from getting choked out! Use your momentum by swinging your legs away from your opponent. Twist your body to tighten up the choke.

If you get it tight enough your opponent will likely tap. Another likely situation is that you sweep your opponent. At this point, don’t loosen the grip! Complete the choke from the top!

You can also set up the choke starting from bottom half guard. Magid Hage has popularized the baseball choke from the bottom as he caught many of his opponents with this sneaky choke! Watch him demonstrate:

Some Key Details to Consider

The baseball bat choke in BJJ is one of those things that does some getting used to. If you are beginner just starting off, you may find some difficulties finishing off the choke. Just like anything else, there are a few key details to consider.

  • 1
    Place your hands close together when you get your baseball grips. When you are placing your grips, make sure to try to get your hands and forearms as close together. There should be about a 3 to 4-inch gap between your hands. The closer your hands are, the tighter you can get the choke. 
  • 2
    Bring your weight down on you opponent as you slide your knee to trap the arm. One common mistake with setting up the choke is to rush in. When you pin the opponent’s hand down with your knee, make sure to pin their body down too. As your knee pins down their hand momentarily, position your body so that your shoulder pins their hips down. Otherwise they could turn in and you can lose the position! 
  • 3
    Place your head on the side where your originally started from. As you complete your turn to north-south to finish the choke, make sure to readjust yourself. Ideally if you start from the opponent’s right side, as you turn, your head would stay by the opponent’s left shoulder. Readjust so that your head is on their right shoulder instead. This stabilizes your position better and makes the choke much tighter.

The baseball choke can also be performed by using the opponent’s lapel to choke them out instead of their collar. A bit of a fancier variation but a much more powerful choke if you get it just right! The technique and setup stay the same, just different grips. Take a look!

How To Defend Baseball Bat Choke

  • Posture: If the opponent wants to do a baseball choke from their guard, your first defense is to posture. When you have good posture, they can get their grip to set it up, so they have no choke. 
  • Knee on belly defenseBaseball chokes are very common from knee on belly, so to avoid the choke work on your knee on belly defense. As soon as they attempt or get knee on belly, you need to immediately address this problem. 

    Immediately go start your knee on belly escape to prevent them from setting in the grips. When they can’t keep the position, they can’t do the choke. 
  • Block the grips: No matter, where they are attempting to do the baseball choke, there is one important defense you must do. Block their grips.  A baseball choke begins and ends with grips and if there are no grips, then there is no choke. Remember your choke defenses and block the opponent from getting their grips. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

There’s a reason why the baseball bat choke in BJJ is one of the most utilized chokes. It one of the most powerful and effective chokes you will learn. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll see just how strong the choke is. Your opponents will tap just moments after you lock it in! Sometimes the choke gets so tight that your opponents tap even before you complete your movement!

Keep in mind that this blood choke is fast and powerful. Your opponent might not even see it coming. With that in mind, be aware of your opponent’s condition as you complete the choke. They’ll go out like a light if they don’t tap in time! Keep those key details in mind when you lock in the choke. Learn it from top and learn the sneaky version from bottom. You’ll have one of the deadliest chokes in the game! Lock it in and get the tap!