A Roadmap for the Rear Naked Choke

The Rear Naked Choke, or RNC, is one of those fundamental techniques. Choking someone from rearmount is an incredibly effective and efficient tool in the jiu-jitsu arsenal, but I only acquired it relatively late in my grappling career.

Instructions on how to do the RNC are in the first martial arts books I bought when I was 12 years old. I also learned how to do it in Judo class at about the same age. The choke is easy to apply once it is locked on, but getting my arms into the RNC position on a skilled, resisting opponent was usually an exercise in frustration. Until about two years ago I had probably used this choke successfully less than 5 times in actual sparring.

Since 2005, however, the RNC has been one of my best submissions. So what changed?

Over the years I had gone repeatedly to Marcus Soares and Erik Paulson with questions about how to sink it, apply it, and counter my opponent’s attempts to stop it. They told me what I was supposed to do, but the RNC still wasn’t happening for me in sparring. One of my favorite expressions is that “lessons repeat themselves until learned”, and apparently I wasn’t learning the RNC lesson very quickly.

Two other things finally helped me connect the dots: watching Marcelo Garcia compete, and working with Marc Laimon for an afternoon. It’s asif I’d reached critical mass: finally I’d heard and seen the important details enough times and the route to the RNC started to swim into focus. I now had a roadmap for the RNC, where I could insert all the various technical details I’d been shown.

So without further ado, I’d like to direct you to my latest creation: a 10 minute video tutorial on applying the RNC. Hopefully it won’t take you 25 years in the martial arts to make this choke work for you!

You can see it below, or visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=176SLdBhj_A to view it.

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