One of the best chokes you can know in Gi Jiu Jitsu is the Brabo Choke. Since its creation in the early 2000s it has proven to be quite an effective choke.
The Brabo Choke is an extremely devastating blood choke that traps an opponent’s arm across their neck and chest, and using their own lapel to squeeze their neck. This opposing pressure you get is extremely painful and super effective to eventually cause you to either tap or pass out.
There have been quite a few innovations in doing the Brabo Choke since its inception. Let’s take a look at the complete history of this submission and how to use it.
Brabo Choke Origins
The Brabo Choke was created in the early 2000s by world champion and Checkmat affiliate founder Leo Vieira. Viera claims he got the inspiration to do the choke from watching a white belt student use an unrefined variation.
“I always look to develop stuff and observe white belts training. I once saw a white belt using something like that and thought ‘man this could happen.’ Then I started working on the position.”- Leo Vieira
This choke was created from aggressive guard passing, specifically the knee slide pass and the knee on belly. When you have your opponent pinned, you use their own lapel to lock in a super tight choke.
Vieira used the Brabo choke with success in many tournaments. He submitted just about all of his opponents with it in the 2004 Pans championship and World Cup. After Leo proved the effectiveness of his choke, the Jiu Jitsu world started learning the Brabo choke.
The name Brabo in Portuguese actually translates to angry, tough or aggressive, which sort of sums up the choke perfectly.
Brabo Choke vs Darce Choke
You may notice a lot of similarities between the Brabo and darce chokes. That is because they use the exact same motion to choke the opponent. The only difference being you use the Gi with Brabo choke while the Darce is done without using the Gi. In fact, the Darce is sometimes referred to as the “No-Gi Brabo Choke.”
How To Do The Brabo Choke
We’ll start with the basic set up from side control to knee on belly. When the opponent stays tight defending against collar chokes and arm locks this is when they’re most open for the Brabo.
Take your inside hand near the opponent’s body and start to remove their lapel from their belt. After you take it out pass it to your other hand that should be behind their head.
The next step is to go knee on belly. Generally when you do this, the opponent will naturally react and turn in to defend. If they don’t pull them up on their side to get them in position for the choke.
Now we’re into the last couple steps. Pass the lapel again with your top hand with a palm up grip pulling them up a bit. This closes space and adds more pressure to the knee on belly.
For the last step, take your free hand, grab the top of their shoulder, and put your head to the mat. Pull the opponent into you to set in the choke to get the tap.
Watch Alliance founder Fabio Gurgel show you how to properly do the Brabo choke in this video.
Brabo Choke From Knee Cut/Slice Pass
Generally, the Brabo choke is done from knee on belly, but it’s also a good option from a knee cut pass. When you go for the knee cut pass and the opponent defends, you can set up a Brabo choke.
The setup is the exact same as the traditional Brabo choke from knee on belly. Go through the same steps of getting out their lapel and locking in the choke.
Brabo Choke Counter Defense
Sometimes in a last-ditch effort to stop the choke, the opponent will block you from grabbing their shoulder. When they do this grab their defending arm and pull it across their body and drop your chest on it.
Your other hand is going to go behind their back and reach as low as you can. To finish, sink your weight down as you pull the lapel inward. This video by the instructors at Ohio Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy do a great job of explaining these variations.
Brabo Choke Variations From Guard
The Brabo choke also has quite a few options from the closed guard, we’ll take a look at.
Blackbelt Rodrigo Cavaca shows all of these variations in this video.
Key Details To Remember
The Brabo choke is a fantastic lapel choke option, but you have to remember the steps to make it work. Remember these key details when going for the Brabo Choke.
How To Defend The Brabo Choke
The Brabo Choke is a phenomenal choke with numerous variations. It has been proven to be a great technique that you really must know to advance in BJJ. This is one of the most powerful submissions out there. Make sure to take the time to drill this submission along with some of its variations. Be careful though, once this one sinks in, it tightens up quick. If you aren’t paying attention, your partner might already be taking a nap!