The Finer Points And Tips For The Triangle Choke (Sankaku Jime)

BJJ on an enormous crossword puzzle

The triangle is one of those chokes in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that everyone loves…unless you’re caught in it and you try desperately to “answer the phone” before taking an ill-planned nap.  There are many reasons to love the triangle…putting someone to sleep…the minimal effort it takes to choke…the ability to look down and watch what you’re doing to someone as they flail like a fish out of water…all good reasons.  BUT there are certain tips that I’ve been picking up on over the last couple of years that may help out some beginning students when applying the triangle-sleepy-time-chokey-choke…all directions are from the position of the illustration (right leg over shoulders):


See the blue guy and the pink…I guess – girl up there?  I’m using that position as a reference.  Right now she is at zero degrees to her target…note her right computer-generated leg across Mr. Blue’s shoulders – this is correct.  The thing is, most people try the triangle without that leg across the shoulders…mainly because they don’t get to 90 degrees before throwing it up there.  Here’s an example:

Stand facing a desk about waist high…now pick up your right leg and try to lay your leg across your body flat on the desk in front of you with the outside of your knee and ankle both touching the surface…you know, it the shape of the triangle…hurts like a mother doesn’t it?

NOW, try that same thing butleanyour upper body to the right…easier huh? 

So its the same principal – in order to get that right leg across the shoulders, you have to move your upper body to the right.  This, in turn will keep your leg more on top of their shoulders when you bring your body back to zero degrees (the position of that robot-chick up there).


Look at pink alien’s hips – they’re off the ground.  Once that leg is across the shoulder, your next order of business is to hump their face…so to speak.  Shoot your hips up to their face and pull down with that leg you just got across the shoulders.  Nice and tight…like your mom in college (burrrrnnn)


In regards to the man in the blue hue…His right arm is going aross his face – you want this.  Sure, the pink thing is holding the back of his head, but equally as effective would be to hold the blue guy’s right arm across his own face and your hips.  What this does is bring his shoulder up to his neck cutting off blood flow to that crucial carotid artery.  Remember when instructed on how to escape the triangle you heard “answer the phone”?  Well, answering the phone is getting that shoulder off of your neck…ipso-facto, pulling the arm across should sink it in…plus it’s hard to answer anything if they have a hold of your arm…unless you’re trying to answer Freddy Krueger’s questions in person (get it?  you have to be asleep for that…burrrnnn).


Your left leg now goes over your right ankle and you come back to zero degrees…this shit should be tight…but here’s how to make it tighter…when your left leg comes over your right, usually a flailing opponent will loosen the hold up a bit.  This is where you point your right toes up. What this does is bring your legs and knees closer together.  Think of your foot as a lever that brings everything together…which brings us to the most important:


When you get the triangle and you’re ready to have someone pass out between your legs like your mom after college (burrrn), squeeze your knees together…that’s where the choke is and a lot of people miss that.  Remember the shoulder you pulled across?  Well squeezing the knees shoves that in deeper and shoves the other carotid into your right thigh…this is the point where it feels like your head is going to explode when caught in it. 

Sure, there are variations, this is just a list of tips that helped me, and can maybe help you.  My personal favorite isn’t grabbing the head, but keeping the arm across my body using my right hand and using my left to hold their head down with my forearm and grab the outside of my right knee with my left hand and squeezing harder than a constipated John Candy.  Result – awesome, and like a constipated actor, I don’t poop.

Categories: EVERYTHING (in no particular order), Jiu Jitsu and Judo

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3 replies

  1. I would be interested to get the computer generated characters. I’d play BJJ chess with them. Do you have the models? Are they PD?

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