Cattle Catch Neck Crank
Thanks to Eduardo de Lima for demonstrating this technique, and to Matt Kirtley for taking the photos and writing the descriptions. For more information, or to contact either person, please visit the Gracie Barra Tampa - Stephan Kesting.
The cattle catch is a neck crank (cervical lock) that’s illegal in almost all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, but still great for no-gi, submission wrestling and MMA. It’s also called the crucifix, making it the other half of the problem we try to clear up in A Confusion of Crucifixes.
Eduardo says to use this on people who talk ill about your momma. Be careful while drilling and using this in sparring! You don’t want to screw around when it comes to people’s necks.
An extra big thanks to Lee for being the dummy in this one.
Your opponent is going for a double leg takedown, either off a shot or going to his knees to escape side control, and you’ve got your chest against his back.
Here’s a detailed look at your grips:
Your left hand is underhooking and grabbing their lat.
Your right hand is overhooking and grabbing around to their biceps.
Sit into him, straightening your right leg and bending your left, like you’re doing a runner’s stretch.
Here’s the same position from the other side:
Note how the straightened leg is blocking the side of his knee. This is to stop him from posting when you start turning him over.
Immediately after sitting in, turn towards your straightened leg and lift with your underhook to roll him. Make sure his head stays in your armpit throughout all of this or you’ll lose the move.
He should end up on his back with his head against your side, and your left arm under his right armpit. His other arm is between your knees.
If he comes down without his arm between your legs, quickly hook it to get the crucifix before he can escape. Even if he tries to hide it or keep it away, you should be able to trap it.
Turn belly down until your knees and left hand touch the mat, then come to your knees. Keep your left arm heavy so it doesn’t come off the mat or he’ll be able to pull his arm away. Keep weight on his neck throughout the rest of the move for control, but don’t try to crank it until the end.
Bring your left knee towards his opposite shoulder, keeping his arm trapped against the inside of your left leg.
You can post out with your right leg to help keep pressure on his neck. This also tightens up the position and puts his head firmly in your armpit, which makes for a cleaner finish.
Finish by joining your hands and pulling his right arm as you arch your back and drive your weight into his head.
The pressure on his arms is like you are trying to make his elbows touch behind his back (which is why you drove your near knee towards his far shoulder with his arm trapped).
Here’s the finish from another angle so you can see the position of the neck and the awesome expression they make.
Remember: THIS IS A DANGEROUS TECHNIQUE! Apply it gently and release it if your opponent is too stubborn (or stupid) to tap.
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