The Triangle Choke and Agile Development

I am a software developer.  We use SCRUM as our agile development methodology.  I hope I have not lost your interest already.  A Retrospective meeting is used to look back on our last period of work and think over what went well and what we could improve on.  I realized the agile development process can be applied to more then software development last week after Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class.  I was thinking about how I done in class trying to get the Triangle choke.  I realized I was starting to hold my own Retrospective.  Here are the results of it:

Triangle Choke

What did I do well?

  • I remembered to shoulder walk
  • I pulled him down with my legs and broke his posture
  • I remembered to hold the back of his head
  • I remembered the steps. I threatened the triangle and then tried to lock.
  • I grabbed my shin and not my ankle.

What could I have done better?

  • I forgot to frame when he stacked me.
  • While holding his head I should have tried to lock faster or used both hands to control the head.
  • I could not get the lock quite on and tried prematurely to get the angle.

We each I think do some kind of evaluation of your efforts in training.  Some of us have our own tried and tested methods that have paid off.  Some of are learning to organize and work out systems for improvement.  I thought I would share this simple example of a Retrospective to help those who are looking for a methodology.

After you roll or whatever you are doing that you want to improve on follow these steps: 

  1. Find a place you can think without interruption.
  2. With your pad and pencil write at the top “What did I do well?” and about half way down “What could I have done better?”.
  3. Start filling them out as you replay in your mind what you have done keeping these questions in mind.

When you are done you will have or should have clear goals or concepts to act on.  After your next roll, lesson, or whatever it may be that you used your action plan in, hold another Retrospective with yourself.  It is part of continual improvement.  Do not be to hard on yourself.  Look for improvement not perfection instantly.  Your continued steady improvement will lead to mastery of the submission, sweep, or escape you are working on.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

How to Tweak the Triangle Choke for Maximum Effect

I am amazed at how no matter how well you know a technique you can always find out something new about it.  For example, just recently I attended Sylivo Behring’s seminar.  He talked about a tweak for the triangle.  He showed us that by turning the guys head towards the hooking leg and pulling to the that same side it greatly maximizes the triangles effect.  This is in contrast to the traditional pulling down of the head.  Master Behring said that it is easier to turn someone’s head and you use less strength to do it.  It looks like this essentially opens up the arteries to more pressure.

I attempted to use it at the Scrap For The Skull but my opponent tapped out just before I was going to try it.  I hope that mean my Triangle Choke is already that effective.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Triangle Every Which Way But Loose!

I have to say that the Triangle Choke is in the top 10 of my favorite submission techniques.  I have been searching high and low for a copy of Rigan Machado’s book and DVD titled "Triangle".  While searching I came across this awesome demonstration of the Triangle Choke by Rigan.

Rigan Machado – Triangle Choke

You have to admire his technique.  I never thought of folding the leg over the arm to pass it.  He is as smooth as silk.  Then the spin to Triangle, wow!  To look at him you might wonder if he is in adequate physical shape and then you see him move.  He is a true master.  I like how he uses his leg to move the arm forward.  He knows how to use technique instead of brute force.  The other night I had a guy set up for a Triangle Choke but I couldn’t get the arm forward.  I wish I had seen this before hand.  I’ll work on it and maybe next time, eh?!

If anyone knows where I might buy a copy of the Triangle book and DVD please let me know.  I hear it is really good.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu.

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Keep Rolling by Replacing your Guard After the Pass

Replacing the guard from Turtle isn’t a new subject to blog on.  Steve of blogged not to long ago about it in his post Recovering Guard from Turtle.  Here is a video of me doing it from last nights class with Chris, one of your purple belts, and the one Steve used from

Replaceing Guard from Turtle after Pass


Replacing the Guard from Turtle Position

Ya, that’s me in the red Atama Mundial #5.  I have seen this a few times but never really got it into my head as to how to use it.  I mentally filed it under "next time you’re in turtle do this".  I don’t get in turtle much and had forgot about it.  But last night Miles, one of our best blue belts, pointed out that after I had my guard passed I should use this.  My video is from the point where you have passed your guard.  I quickly transition to turtle and from turtle I replace my guard.  My video is short and you have to pay attention to the first part to get what I’m saying.  After your opponent has passed your guard you shouldn’t sit still and let him get comfortable in side control.  Employing this technique keeps you moving and if you are lucky when you replace the guard you might even be in the position to Triangle.  It worked out that way for me a few times as I practiced it.

Mastering Jiu Jitsu One Step At ATime

In my blog The Undiscovered Frontier of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I talked about new BJJ situations I have been getting in and how that shows growth in my opinion.  I gave a specific example of not knowing what to do with a arm bar that the guy is holding on to.  I said that I wouldn’t let that happen again or that I would learn from the situation.  I went home and drilled with my Submission Master Grappling Dummy on what I would do next time it occurred.  Last night in class it paid off.  I was rolling with another blue belt.  I had him in mount and transitioned to a side mount that I had seen Saulo Ribeiro use.  I faked a cross choke and took the arm.  He managed to get a hold of his arm and then my study and muscle memory training kicked in.  Without thought I threaded my leg through and put him in a triangle choke.  He tapped out shortly after I synched it down tight.  Oh baby! That felt good!  It can be so frustrating to be so close and yet blow it.  It was very satisfying to have identified, analyzed,  trained, and succeeded at improving my Jiu Jitsu.  The next step I think is to know a hand full of techniques I can use against a locked arms like that, not just the transition to the triangle choke.

Review of the Submission Master Grappling Dummy – Drilling

Its assembled and I’ve started drilling with it.  The first thing I noticed was how hard the floor is.  I don’t have a mat.  I have been thinking about if I should even get one.  I like some real world or practical application of BJJ.  If I got in a street fight I will use my Jiu Jitsu training but I doubt there will be a mat.  The next thing I noticed is that when I tried a Kimura it doesn’t feel right.  The structure of the Submission Master’s arm is a arch with no true joints.  At first I didn’t like this but then I realized it felt more like a arm that is trying to do a escape.  It gave me a different perspective on my Kimura technique and how to apply it.  The next thing I tried was the Triangle Choke.  This hurt at first because the dummy is so hard.  I didn’t realize how soft real humans are.  I worked my Triangle and figured out something new I hadn’t noticed before.  I posted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submission Techniques – The Triangle and gave tips and tricks on improving your Triangle.  I now can add to that getting the knee of the leg around the neck above the neck.  I have also found that just moving it around, it is 70 lbs, breaks me into a sweat.  It doesn’t do infinity drills so you have to reset some drills to do it over.  But for the most part you can do Arm Bars, Triangles, Kimuras, and other submissions over and over on each side.  For Cross Body and Mount work you sit or lay very high.  You don’t have a soft gut to lay into.  I also can’t hook the legs (grapevines) in mount.  What it comes down to is its no full substitute for a person but it does very well for what it is intended.  So far I really like it and feel it is money well spent.  It is true the $560 price tag is high but it sure beats the home made version I’ve seen on  I think the only true competitor in its class is the Bubba.  I didn’t choose the Bubba because it didn’t sit up in guard, it looks light weight, and flimsy.  I’m going to start trying some escapes and sweeps on it tomorrow and see how they go.

Name My Submission Master Grappling Dummy Contest

sprawl-rash-guard I am giving away a new long sleeve Sprawl Rash Guard shirt (Retail Price: $38.50) for the best original name for my Submission Master grappling dummy.  So far the names submitted by my family are:

Dummy (by my 3 year old)

Grap (by my 6 year old)

Grawp (by my wife) Hagrid’s giant brother.

Thud (by me)  Its the sound he makes each time he falls over.

Submit your name in a comment to this post.  A name will be chosen in time for the Sprawl Rash Guard to be shipped to you before Christmas.

Have you seen a Submission Master Grappling Dummy before?  If not here is a picture of mine:Submission Master 1 I’ve only had it for about 3 days now and I must say over all I’m liking it.  I’ve started a morning and evening drill routine with the Submission Master.  I used my post entitled Improving Muscle Memory with a Solo Daily Drill routine to help me outline what I want to do and accomplish.  For starters it has already improved my Triangle Choke.  I always hate seeing the guy I’m trying to practice on go beet red.  You want to work at your Triangle Choke to get better but you know how uncomfortable it is for the guy you are doing it on.  With the Submission Master I can work at it and try new things out over and over without the live partner.

Going For the Submission

In BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) submission is king!  To win the mental and physical game of chess is everyone’s goal.  Every newbie to the mat starts out with only one thought “MAK’EM TAP OUT”.  I include my self in that statement.  I didn’t think about cunning and technique to start out.  I only wanted my first Arm Bar or Triangle Choke.  I focused everything on it.  Now that I have my blue belt you could say I’ve seen the light and I know I’ve just started on the path to perfection.

If going for the submission is your first goal you will succeed in being submitted.  If your thought process follows:

  1. Transition
  2. Position
  3. Submission

You are on your way to true enlightenment.  Submissions come as a end result of well laid foundation.  Its true that the thing the untrained eye sees and remembers the most is the finishing blow or frantic tap.  Once that mind is trained you begin to see the lead up that makes the submission a natural sequence of actions.

I’m going to call it the Jiu-Jitsu pyramid.  Start out with your thoughts focused on transitioning from where you are into the position you want to be in.  Once that is accomplished think about bettering your position.  When and only when you have your satisfactory position think about submission.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Submission Techniques – The Triangle Choke

I’ve been studying the Triangle Choke in order to improve my success ratio with it.  By teaching you retain and learn better yourself.  I hope by sharing with you what I found out we both benefit.

To start with I reviewed the Triangle Choke in four different books and two different videos along with instruction I received in class.  The books I used were:

The videos I looked at where:

Here are the keys to locking down a successful Triangle from my study.

  1. You don’t want the leg over the neck to be on the shoulders at all.  The leg on the neck must be only on the neck and tight against it with the leg perpendicular to the line of the neck.  You are making a cross.  As you position your leg across the neck you don’t have to worry about them slipping out because you have control of the arm.   Here is a video that illustrates my point: Flying Triangle Choke.  He does get the Triangle but its a sloppy one and had the guy not panicked I think he could have worked his way out.
  2. Your hips should align with his neck.  You are creating a collar.  If your hips are to far past his neck or below you are creating space that keeps you from locking.  Walk your shoulders out or in to get your hips under his neck.
  3. Get the arm across.  Eddie Bravo is the odd man our that doesn’t move the arm across the body.  Control of the arm and its position are critical to the success of the Triangle.
  4. Grab your shin not your foot when pulling the leg across the neck forward to get it perpendicular .  The instinct is to grab the foot.  This puts pressure on your own ankle.  It is better to grab the shin which is solid and not give yourself a sprain or ankle lock.  If you can’t sit up enough to get the shin your hips may be not be aligned correctly.
  5. Angle your hips to get the strangle.  You do this by pulling your upper body to one side or at the same time you hook the leg over the neck.
  6. Lock the leg over where your knee bends while pointing up the toes.  If your Triangle technique is correct you should be able to drop your other leg over the leg across the neck.  This completes the Triangle.  I’ve found that sometimes you don’t even need to get the lock in place if it is correct.  Your arm pulling on your shin with the leg correctly over and tight against the neck can have the same effect as the lock.
  7. Squeeze the legs together, lift the hips,  and pull the head down to get the submission.  Once the lock is in place if that isn’t enough to make them tap then add the fine tuning to put the hurt on fast.
  8. Sweep a stack!  If he starts stacking forward reach over and hook his leg opposite the arm that is in the Triangle.  You have control of his head and arm making his base only one leg.  You have now locked his leg and what can he do as you push with your hips against his upper body?  He will fall over and maybe you will end up in a mounted triangle.  Talk about going from the frying pay into the fire for him.