The North-South Choke is undeniably effective. Properly applied it’s incredibly difficult for your opponent to escape before you put him to sleep. And it’s proven at the highest levels in both gi and no gi competition, which is why it’s one of the 10 key tactics of many time world champion Marcelo Garcia.
That being said, even after having been a black belt for many years I still have a love-hate relationship with it. For example, it’ll work great for me for a while, and then suddenly stop working, which is incredibly frustrating.
Maybe this on-again-off-again is because of my specific physical attributes, maybe it’s because of bad technique, or maybe a bit of both.
In any case when I run into someone who is good at this technique I always pick their brain and get them to break down their approach to the technique for me.
Maybe they’ll have the piece of the puzzle that I’m missing…
And if I’m really lucky I manage to get that breakdown on video, both for my own reference and also for sharing with my readers!
This video is one that I shot with my friend Mike Zenga who has repeatedly trained with Marcelo Garcia, and considers the North South Choke to be one of his top finishes.
Here’s Mike breaking down the North South Choke
Here are some of the key points in Mike’s version of the North-South Choke…
- Start in cross-side and take advantage of the guy framing against your neck. He’s pushing you away the way he’s supposed to, but this also opens up a route to his neck.
- Wrap his neck deep with your top arm with the little finger side of your fist resting on the ground
- Collapse your hips in a twisting motion on his bottom arm. The twist makes his arm weak and also clears under your body so that it’s down by his hips. Mike likes to isolate the head with this choke and doesn’t like doing it with the head and the arm together.
- Get your biceps really tight against his neck so that your muscle is actually touching his neck. This is contrary to how some other people teach it but I like this version better.
- Push your ribs hard into the side of the face to turn his face
- Spread your legs wide and slide backwards, off his body and towards your own feet
- Mike doesn’t even connect his hands together; for him this is a one-armed choke
- Torque your hips away from him and tighten everything up until he taps
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Here are the four main steps of the North-South choke as taught by my friend Mike Zenga: 1) recognizing the opportunity as he pushes you away from the bottom of sidemount, 2) wrapping his neck with your top arm, thumb up and little finger towards the mat, 3) torquing your hips to collapse his frame and clear his arm, 4) sprawl backwards and tighten everything up while driving your ribs tight against his face and your biceps snug against his neck until he taps. The full version of this article with more details and even a video is at Grapplearts.com/northsouthchoke or click on the link in the bio. #northsouthchoke #northsouth #brazilianjiujitsu #bjj #jiujitsu #grappling #submissiongrappling #submissionwrestling #choke #chokes #submissions #grapplearts