Finishing the Rear Naked Choke

Grappling is usually a refined and elegant martial art. But you can’t always use sophistication and leverage to get what you want…

Let’s look at question that was recently forwarded to me, and see why sometimes you need to go lowbrow!

Q: “I have a quick question on the Rear Naked Choke (RNC). I have come across a few guys who are excellent at tucking their chin well into the crook of my elbow when I’m trying to give them the RNC, and obviously it’s not choking them because their chin is in the way. What’s an effective way to get their chin up somehow after they have blocked my choke attempt.”

A: When it comes to attacking from rear mount, the RNC is definitely one of your pieces of heavy artillery! Anytime you’re on someone’s back, you should be ready to slap it on. (Click here for a technical step-by-step breakdown of the Rear Naked Choke).

But dealing with the tucked chin defense can be difficult, particularly if your opponent is both strong and stubborn. Here are some answers to use in just that situation:

  1. Head Push. Get the rear mount and push their head forward. They react by pushing back into you, so release the pressure and slip in the choke. This only works on beginners, but it’s still a handy trick to know about!
  2. Forehead Pull. Place your palm on his forehead and pull it straight backwards, exposing the neck. Then, maintaining the pull, shoot your OTHER hand across his throat and start working for the choke. (This works best when you’re in belly-down rear mount).
  3. Crossfacing. Say you’re rear mounted and his chin is down. Drive your right fist and forearm across his face, forcing him to look to the left, and then drive your left arm into position across his throat. Sometimes you have to do this two or three times (left, right, left…) before you get the opening you need to attack the neck.
  4. Nose Pressure. Some people advocate using putting the forearm just under the nose, and then raking it upwards to open up the space at the neck (ouch!).
  5. Choke the Jaw. Maybe my favorite option is simply apply the RNC directly over the chin and squeeze. If you do this with consistent and sustained pressure you can pull his jaw back into his windpipe and choke him that way (it just takes a little longer). It’s also painful, and often he’ll lift his chin up to get the pressure off his jaw, giving you perfect access to his neck.
  6. Arch his body backwards.  Here’s a link to a video in which I show you how to finish the RNC by stretching him out. In this technique you use the very powerful muscles of your posterior chain to overpower his relatively weak abdominals… and opening up his neck for the RNC at the same time.

As you can see, some of the above options are leverage-based and others are pain-based. I’m not typically a fan of pain-based manipulations, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do!

Just remember to save the pain-based stuff for competition. Or on people you really don’t like. Or on really good friends (who’ll forgive you). Please DON’T use it on the brand new guy who’ll quit and never come back, or on someone who’ll really take offense.

But even if you don’t want to use the ‘grinding’ options yourself, you still need to know about them. Someone might try them on you, and if you’ve seen it before then you’ll be prepared to deal with it.

Happy Rear Naked Choking!

Comment on this page with Facebook