For many practitioners in BJJ, the North South position is only used as a transitional position. Most don’t even think about attacking from the north south position. Some may feel like there aren’t many attacks they can do from there, but there actually are quite a few. Highly effective submissions at that!
In this guide, we take a look at the details of some of the best attacks from the North South Position in BJJ.
What is North South Position in BJJ
The North South Position in BJJ is just as it sounds. It is a dominant position in which the top player holds the bottom opponent down. The attacker is positioned about 180 degrees from the opponent’s legs – hence the name North South.
Many think of it as just a transitional position between going from one side control to the other, but it’s an actually really good position to be in. You can lay down good pressure and control your opponent similar to side control. The main difference is, your opponent will have a pretty difficult time getting out of it as they’re legs are out of the equation.
To hold north/south with good pressure, you need to have your chest directly on theirs dropping your weight down. Your arms need to be tight against their sides with no space and hands on their hips to control their movement. Holding the north/south position in bjj like this will give you great control of your opponent.
North South Choke Escape
Of course we have to start the list of attacks from north south with the submission it was named after - The North South Choke. It’s a great choke that a lot of guys mess up, but it’s actually quite easy once you understand the mechanics.
This choke starts from side control and starts from moving their arm down. Once you do this, you make an open space to wrap your arm around their neck. It’s like the motion of putting your arm in for an RNC, but in reverse.
After you wrap around the neck, you need to rotate around to north/south and align with your opponent. Get on your toes, keep your head down, lock your hands together, and sink your weight back to submit them.
It’s that simple to do and doesn’t involve using any force. All you have to do is wrap your arm around their neck, rotate, and slide your weight on their neck.
You could also finish it with just one arm and the other holding their shoulder if you prefer.
There’s no one better to learn this move from than Marcelo Garcia that’s a master of the north/south choke. Watch this 20-minute breakdown from one of the all-time greats to learn everything you about the submission.
Kimura/Bow & Arrow Combo from North/South Position in BJJ
Catching a Kimura is really easy to do from the north/south position. All you have to do is let one of the opponent’s arms inside yours to begin the set up.
When you do this, you can bait them into moving by lifting your head up to make space. They’ll think it is a chance to escape, but when they turn to their side they expose their arm. All you have to do is lock in your kimura grips and take their arm home.
Bring your knee up to the sides of their head and turn to finish the Kimura. They might try to defend by grabbing their gi pant. If they do this pull up on their arm, push it away, and bring it back over to submit them.
Another thing you can do if they grab their pants is set up a nasty bow and arrow choke. With your free hand you can grab either their belt, pants, or lapel, and pass it to your other hand.
Doing this traps their arm giving you free range to set up a bow and arrow choke. Grab the lapel under their neck, put them on their side, knees against their back, and fall back. Very simple and powerful choke.
Kris Kim does a nice demo and shows how to do the Kimura from north/south plus the backup bow and arrow choke – check it out!
There are a few types of armbars you can do from north/south, but here are two in particular.
The first starts the same as the Kimura set up. You give the opponent an underhook, move your head, and bait them into turning. When they turn you can come up like the Kimura, but instead take an armbar.
Another armbar from north/south comes off a failed north/south choke. When they defend the north/south choke you can take an overhook on their arm. All you have to do from there is throw your legs over and lock in the armbar and get the tap!
Paper Cutter From North/South Position in BJJ
A tight gi choke called the paper cutter can also be done from north/south. It’s usually taught from side control, but is actually much easier to get from North South position in BJJ.
You start off with your arms tight against your opponent. Hook around one of their arms and grab the inside of their lapel near their neck.
Do a reverse sit out to open space between you and their neck. With your other hand reach into the top of their lapel with a thumb in grip.
To finish the choke drop your elbow to the ground, slide between side control and north/south position in bjj for an almost immediate tap – this one tightens up quick!
Black belt Stephen Hall shows a lot of great details in this video.
The Darce Choke is also an effective submission option you can do from the North South position. Reach around to grab their arm and push it across their neck.
With your other arm, reach under their neck until your hand passes through. With that hand, grab the bicep of your other arm like an RNC grip, and squeeze slowly. To make it tighter try bringing the opponent’s chin to their chest.
Arm Triangle or Ezekiel Choke Option
The last ones we’ll explain start from the same set up by baiting your opponent to turn. For the arm triangle, give them an underhook and when they roll wrap an arm around their arm/head. Then move to side control, Gable Grip your hands, flatten out, and slowly squeeze until they tap.
Another arm triangle entry from here is to wrap your hand around their head backwards, while pushing their arm across. Move to the opposite side control, clasp your hands together, and transition to the choke side across the mount position.
To do an Ezekiel Choke with the Gi it is the exact same steps. The only difference is the hand behind the opponent's neck grabs your other sleeve. For the finish chop down on their neck, sit out to the side. Also, to block the opponent’s attempt to defend, put your knee against their back.
As you can see the North South Position in Bjj is so much more than just a transition between each side control. You can lay down great pressure and set up various attacks that are really effective.
These techniques described above are just a few of the most effective options you have. Hopefully now you can appreciate the north south position in Bjj a little and start adding attacks from there. Your top game will be even more deadly!