How to do the Bow and Arrow Choke Submission

How to do the Bow and Arrow Choke Submission

The Bow and Arrow submission is one of the nastiest chokes in BJJ and Judo. Once it is locked on, the pressure of the choke is immediate and intense. Be warned, this choke is extremely painful - if you get caught with this one, you'll be sure to tap real quick!

In this article, we are going to break everything about the Bow and Arrow choke. From how to do it from various positions and tips to tighten up the choke to get the tap!

What is the Bow and Arrow Submission?

The Bow and Arrow choke is one of the tightest lapel chokes in grappling. Once someone grabs a hold of the lapel and turns and angle it is lights out in seconds. If a grappler is good at it, you have to tap immediately or you will go to sleep.

Bow and Arrow Submission from Back Control

Getting the Bow and Arrow choke from back control is probably the most common way to get this submission. The first thing you need to do when you have the opponent’s back is to establish control and grips.

You are going to have two lapel grips. One under their neck and the other goes under the armpit cross grabbing the other lapel.

The next step is to make an angle for your choke. Rotate your hips to the side of your opponent. You can take off your bottom lapel grip and base on the mat to help you rotate if you’d like.

To finish the choke, grab their pants or hook their leg and pull the lapel under their neck. If you did everything right, your opponent will tap pretty quickly!

Check out Flavio Almeida showing the basic Bow and Arrow choke below.

Bow and Arrow Submission from Turtle

This variation of the Bow and Arrow choke is one of the slickest moves in BJJ and Judo.

When an opponent is turtled up and defending a back take this opens the opportunity for a rolling variation.

First, you’re going to be on top of your opponent at an angle. To finish this variation, you’re going to need to do these next steps simultaneously.

All in one motion, take your lapel grip, get a hook in, grab their pants and front roll. You end up in the finishing position with the opponent ready to tap after doing a cool front roll.

Here is a good step by step breakdown of this variation.

3 Variations of the Bow and Arrow Submission 

One variation of the Bow and Arrow choke is from side control. You can do this one when you take a lapel grip and they turn away to escape. Just place your knee behind their back/neck and crank to get the submission.(Don’t forget to grab the pants.)

The next variation is for when they defend the choke by grabbing the lapel. This just stalls the choke, so do this method to counter their defense.

Hook your leg around their grip and the other leg on top of that one making an x. Press down with your legs and pull the lapel to finish the choke.

This variation is for when you can’t hook their arm with your outside leg due to something like wide shoulders. So, what you’re going to do instead is bring your inside leg over and behind their head.

These are all great ways to finish the Bow and Arrow if the traditional method isn’t working! Chad Hardy does a nice job explaining the details below - check it out!

Key Details to Consider:

  • Don't be too tight on their back: You can’t be too tight on their back when attempting the Bow and Arrow choke. This limits hip mobility and you can’t get the angle to move into position for the finish if you’re too tight.
  • Don't have a shallow lapel grip: When you take your lapel grip make sure it isn't too shallow. If there's some space between your grip and their neck, it isn't as tight as it can be - they can defend out of this and get out!
  • Control the leg: If you don't control their leg, they can turn in and escape! Remember to grab their pants or underhook on their legs to control their movement and prevent them from escaping. 


The Bow and Arrow Submission is one of the slickest and most effective submissions in BJJ and Judo. It's like one of the those finishing moves - like a slam dunk or a knockout punch! You’re able to finish it a variety of ways from a variety of positions. It's also one the best chokes for you to add to your back attack game.

Plus it's arguably THE most painful choke in all BJJ!  Once you get the good at this choke, the roll will just about be over once you get that lapel grip. Expect the tap real quick! Be warned though, this choke tightens up real fast - if your opponent doesn't tap to this, they're probably already unconscious!