How To Do The Triangle Choke In BJJ

How To Do The Triangle Choke In BJJ

In BJJ, the triangle choke is one of the most popular and most effective choke you can learn. Popularized in the UFC, you see the triangle choke used quite often in a grappling or MMA match – and for good reason! This is one of the most fundamental chokes you can learn and also one of the most effective!  

The triangle choke is where you wrap both legs around your opponent’s neck with one of their arms trapped inside. The choke looks just like the shape of a triangle. To finish this blood choke, you squeeze your legs together like a snake squeezing its prey until they tap out.  

Many grapplers think they know how to do the triangle choke, but a lot still miss important key details. If one detail is off it can offset the whole choke and open a door for the opponent to escape.  

There’s also a multitude of different ways to do the triangle choke. From nearly every guard and position, there is a triangle option possible. Some of the world's best BJJ competitors have deadly triangle chokes and can hit them from a variety of positions.  

For this article, we’re going to break down how properly set up the triangle choke and the key details you’d need to finish it the choke! 

How To Perform The Triangle Choke

The basic triangle choke starts from a closed guard and you have to first break your opponent’s posture. If your opponent has good posture and their head/shoulders are up it is really hard to pull off.  

how to do Triangle Choke

So, you’re going to need to break their posture to get them in range for your triangle choke. You can either use your legs and pull them down or sit up and pull them down. Also grab at their elbows and pull them down.  

Now that you’re in position you can start your triangle choke setup. Control your opponent’s arms, while at the same time pushing their other arm away, so your leg can pass through. This is the leg that goes across their neck.  

Lift your hips up and chop your leg down on the opponent’s neck. You have to do it with a bit of force to further break their posture or they can easily escape.  

Before locking in the triangle, you have to further secure the position. Grab your shin and turn yourself away from their arm inside your triangle.   

Now you can lock in your triangle by taking your other leg and putting it over your ankle. With your legs around the opponent’s neck it looks just like the shape of a triangle.(hence the submission name) . 

To finish the choke bring their head down, while squeezing your knees inward on their neck to get the tap. If they're a more tough opponent you may have to do a few extra things to finish them.  

You can either hook inside the opponent’s leg, around their arm as you pull down their head. Or if you’re mean put your fist in their throat as you’re pulling their head down.  

For a more detailed visual, watch this video from MMA Leech. 

Triangle Choke Setups

As you can imagine, there are numerous ways to do the triangle choke and there’s always new entries being created. Here are some of the most effective methods to get a triangle choke below

Wrist Controls To Triangle

A traditional triangle entry from the closed guard comes from you having double wrist control on your opponent. It is very simple to pull off.  

Pull one wrist towards you and  push the other into your opponent’s chest and throw your legs up. The problem with this technique is it doesn’t address your opponent’s posture.  

A better option is going 2 on 1 control on one of your opponent’s wrists. This will open up the ability to clinch their head and break their posture.  

Now, you can push their arm to their sternum and loop your leg over their head. Under hook the opponent’s leg to get an angle on them,  figure four your legs, and squeeze to finish.  

Watch John Danaher break down this technique in detail below. 

Triangle Choke From Butterfly Guard Setup

There is a really slick setup for a triangle choke you can do from the butterfly guard. Take a 2 on 1 grip on the opponent with one hand on their elbow and the other on their wrist. At the same time put one foot on their hip.(Same side as the arm you’re controlling)  

The opponent is really going to fight you to take his arm back making them forget to watch their base. Put your other foot on their knee and kick their base out. When you do this two things will happen.  

Either you’ll get the sweep or they’ll base with their hand. If they base with their hand this leaves them open for you to grab a triangle choke. 

Scissor Sweep To Triangle

You can fake a scissor sweep attempt to get a really sweet triangle. From gi, when you have your traditional scissor sweep grips grabbing the opponent’s collar and sleeve.  

When you try the scissor sweep, they have a good base and aren’t budging. Traditionally for the scissor sweep, you have your knee on the opponent’s, but for this put it across their arm.  

If you know that scissor sweep isn’t going to work keep pulling them in and rotate that leg across their neck. After that lock up your triangle.

Triangle Choke From Lasso Guard

From lasso guard, there is a great setup you can do to get a triangle choke. Grab your sleeve grips and loop one leg around your opponent’s arm to get the lasso. Your other foot is pressed against their bicep like in normal spider guard.  

Unloop your foot from lasso guard and put it on the opponent’s hip. At the same time you’re pulling them forward and lifting your hips up.  

With your hips up, you now kick your foot off their bicep and hook it around their neck. To finish, pull their arm across their body and lock up the triangle.  

Here is Samir Chantre showing the details of this setup. 

Key Details To Consider

For whatever type of triangle setup you do always remember these key details. 

  • Break Their Posture: If your opponent has good posture, you’re not going to get the triangle. Before you can even begin setting up your triangle, you need to break their posture
  • Chop Down On Their Neck: You have to firmly chop down on the back of the opponent’s neck when you attempt a triangle. This will keep their posture  broken and remember to have your calf on the back of their neck.
  • Arm Positioning: Remember that you need to put the opponent’s arm in your triangle across your body. This is to make sure your choke is as tight as possible and prevent the opponent from defending.
  • Angle Your Body: It’s hard to finish the triangle in a straight line with your opponent. This is why you need to hook their leg or arm to turn and get an angle for the choke. Ideally you want to be looking at the opponent’s ear.
  • Squeeze Your Knees Together: When you squeeze remember to do it as you try to bring your knees together. This motion closes the space and compresses in on their neck.

Final Thoughts

The triangle choke is one of those submissions you have to know in Jiu Jitsu. There are numerous ways to do them and they are highly effective. This is just one of those chokes that you will have to master if you want to advance in ranks.   

Many top BJJ competitors in the world even revolve their games around getting a triangle choke. Their number one goal is to get a triangle choke and they have numerous methods to get their triangle.  

If you have a solid triangle choke it’s going to give you a dangerous guard game and a real competitive edge. Master the technique and you’ll be a troublesome competitor to deal with!   
Also check out: 

How to do the Darce Choke 

How to do the Arm Triangle Choke