How to do the Crucifix Position in BJJ

How to do the Crucifix Position in BJJ

The purpose of Jiu Jitsu is to control your opponent. There are several ways to control an opponent to lock in a submission. Easily one of the best that gives you optimal control over your opponent is the crucifix position in BJJ. It completely immobilizes your opponent and enables you to put on a submission.  

Today, we’re going to break down how to do the crucifix position in BJJ. Detail different ways to get in the position, submissions from the crucifix, and tips for how to hold the position. 

crucifix position in BJJ

What is the Crucifix Position?

The crucifix position in BJJ is a way of controlling your opponent, where you have hold of both of their arms. Hence the name crucifix, because it looks just as if the opponent is on a crucifix. Once a good crucifix is put on, they are prone and unable to move. 

Crucifix Position

There are two primary positions in which you can put an opponent in a crucifix. You can either do it from side control or attacking the turtle 

Crucifix From Side Control

When going into the crucifix from side control, the first thing is to get your opponent flat. They have to be flat on their back to lock in the crucifix. You also need to put heavy top pressure down to keep the opponent in place.  

For the next steps is controlling the opponent’s arms. Control the far arm first getting an underhook and drive your near arm into your opponent's neck. This is to keep the opponent from turning into you to defend.  

Then staple their near arm down to the mat at the elbow. Next windshield motion that leg over and bring your other knee under their arm.  

The last step for locking in the crucifix from side control pinch your knees together to hold them in place.

Crucifix From Turtle Position

The crucifix set up from the turtle position is very different from the side control set up. It starts with having head and arm control and rotating to the opponent’s side.   

It is very important to establish this control before going to their side or they will take you down.  

When you get to their side you need to close off space, so they can’t move. Your inside knee goes between their knee and elbow, while your arm hugs their far hip.  

Don’t try to hook their far arm, because they can hug your elbow and reverse you.  

Now there’s 2 scenarios for how to figure 4 the opponent’s near arm. They will either reach out trying to grab your leg and give it to you or you have to get it.  

If you get it you can either pull it out using your near hand. The other option is to hook it with your inside leg and drag it out.  

Even if they roll, you still have them trapped and have a few different options to submit them. 

Armlock From Crucifix

Once you get the crucifix and they roll with you on their back this opens up an armbar opportunity. With the figure 4 on their arm and controlling their other arm, there’s only a few steps.  

First drop your knee to the ground, extend their arm using your legs, and hip out away from them. This puts immense pressure on their elbow joint forcing them to tap.

Choke Option From Crucifix

When you’re on the opponents back with them locked in a crucifix, there’s a few different choke options. One option is a one handed RNC.  

When you’re controlling the opponent’s arm with a wrist control, you don’t want to give it up and lose the crucifix. The good news, you only need one hand to finish them.  

Wrap your free arm around the opponent’s neck and pinch your head next to theirs to close off space. They’ll have no choice, but to tap.

Key Details To Consider When Holding The Crucifix Position

The crucifix is one of the best positions of control in BJJ, but there’s important details you need to remember. Here are the key details to consider when holding the crucifix position. 

  • Trap the near arm: When you hold the crucifix from side control remember to control the near arm. Your legs need to staple the opponent’s arm to the mat otherwise, you’re just holding side control.
  • Far arm control: Remember to get an underhook on the opponent’s far arm when doing the crucifix from side control. It keeps their arm in place and makes it harder for them to escape.
  • Top Presser: Before you go for the crucifix from side control, you have to lay down heavy top pressure. You need to have good pressure on your opponent to keep them in place or they’ll escape. This also goes for doing the crucifix when the opponent is on all fours in turtle. 
  • Hip off the mat: When you lock in your crucifix from side control keep your hip off the mat. If your hip is on the mat it makes it easier for the opponent to move. 
  • Leg position: Remember the crucifix from side control and turtle are different. With side control pinch your knees together to hold their arm in place and figure 4 your legs in turtle. 

How To Defend The Crucifix Position?

Being in a crucifix is a nightmare scenario that you never want to happen. Just as important it is to learn how to do the position, it is even more crucial to know how to defend the crucifix position or how to avoid it altogether. Here are a couple pointers in how to defend against the crucifix. 

  • Arms in tight: The opponent needs you to extend your arms in order to put you in a crucifix. If you stay tight and keep  good defense, you won’t need to worry about a crucifix. 
  • Get on your side: This defense tip applies for both defending the side control and turtle crucifix. When you’re in bad positions like this, you need to immediately get on your side and start defending. In turtle, you also have the option of trying to hand fight and get back to your feet. 

Final Thoughts

The crucifix position in BJJ probably gives the most control over an opponent than any other in BJJ. You can lock it in from different positions and do a quite a few submissions.  

There’s a lot more entries than we listed to get the crucifix, but these will benefit you greatly. Definitely consider studying this position to have better control over your opponents.