The triangle choke submission is one of the most powerful attack from the open guard. Your opponent should be continuously about this technique when he’s in your guard.
However too many people just ‘shoot’ the triangle time after time without any kind of setup and hope for the best.
Yes, a setup-free triangle can work if your opponent is inexperienced or asleep at the wheel, but it’s not reliable. It might work once but not repeatedly.
A much better approach is to first offbalance your opponent so he puts himself into a vulnerable position, and then attack with the triangle choke.
This high percentage triangle choke attack from open guard by Jon Thomas from The Open Guard System is a GREAT example of first using a strong offbalancing movement to totally take your opponent out of alignment before slamming on the actual submission itself.
Check out the video of how to do this triangle choke setup below…
Off-Balancing and Kuzushi
“There’s no such thing as magic in BJJ, but properly applied Kuzushi comes pretty close.” – from The Critical Importance of ‘Kuzushi’ in the Guard.
An opponent in proper alignment is tough to sweep or submit. But if you can break his alignment then attacking him becomes MUCH easier.
In Judo a standing alignment break prior to a throw is called ‘kuzushi‘, however this concept applies equally to standing and ground-based techniques.
In the open guard triangle choke video I posted above Jon Thomas first used a collar sleeve grip to control his opponent’s right arm. Then he shifted his weight and used a foot in the biceps hook to offbalance his opponent HARD to the right.
Just to review, here’s what that open guard offbalancing looked like…
At this point the guy on top has a choice: 1) fall on his face, or 2) post on his hand to stay on top.
Most people will choose to post a hand, but if you’re on the bottom you now have the perfect opportunity to hit the triangle choke like this:
Linking Techniques Together into Systems
The bottom line is that isolated techniques rarely work reliably. Instead techniques work best when they link together.
The technique shown above is a great example of how two moves in a system (the offbalance and the actual triangle choke attack itself) work together. It’s a synergistic effect where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.
Although this idea applies to every position it’s never more critical than when you’re in the open guard.
The best is when you have a set of connected techniques that allow you to initiate action, follow up, and counter and have an answer to any reaction your opponent might have.
This is called a system.
Start thinking about putting the techniques you know together into systems and you’ll immediately double the effectiveness of your jiu-jitsu without necessarily adding a single new technique.
The Open Guard System with Jon Thomas
The Open Guard System is BJJ blackbelt Jon Thomas’s complete system for attacking and defending the open guard.
This is a 5 volume step-by-step approach that starts with how you can get powerful initial grips and take you right through to the sweep or submission to dominate the match.
Advanced Details for Finishing the Triangle Choke
Here’s a world champion’s rare insight into the advanced details of the triangle choke that have made it such a high-percentage finisher at the most advanced levels of competition…