Welcome to the latest video in our series of martial arts tutorials filmed and explained by Warrior Collective. Warrior Collective is run by Stuart Tomlinson, who has been involved in shaping the UK martial arts scene for over twenty years.


This piece features Darren and Helen Currie, two world-renowned instructors, Brazilian jiu jitsu black belts and founders of Combat Base in Leicester. Here, Darren and Helen run through various techniques on how to execute the rear naked choke in no-Gi Brazilian jiu jitsu, submission wrestling or mixed martial arts.


Origin of the Sport

Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art based on the notion that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger opponent. This is done through the use of proper technique and leverage, combined with an understanding of how to take the fight to the ground. So joint-locks, chokes, and other types of submissions are important aspects of BJJ.


BJJ has become more recognised in the mainstream because of its successful application in mixed martial arts. MMA events showcase the importance of grappling and ground fighting to audiences around the world.


Darren’s coach, Chris Haueter, once told him “think street, train sport, practice the art”. The rear naked choke is relevant to each of these principles. It can be used from a standing position or on the ground, serves as an effective submission, and takes very little strength to complete as long as the position and mechanics are adhered to.


The Rear Naked Choke

1. Patience

Be patient. There is no need to rush each step before you move on to the next. In fact, each step of the technique should be tested to ensure that you don’t lose control and position.


2. Upper Body Control 

In competitive jiu jitsu, an emphasis is often placed upon “getting the hooks." This is executed from the back position by wrapping your legs around the opponent and placing your feet against the inside of his or her thighs. In this video, Darren suggests that controlling someone from the back is best executed by using upper body clinch control.


Take this test: See how long you can keep position by just using the upper body clinch, then see how long you can keep position by just using your hooks.


3. Get Into Position

Make sure you are in the correct position before you start to apply the choke. If your choking arm is incorrect, no amount of strength and pressure that can make the choke work.


4. Use Your Whole Body

The choke is a whole body exercise. To ensure this, your technique should include:


  1. squeezing your arms
  2. pulling the shoulders back
  3. expanding the chest
  4. lats contracting
  5. lower back activated
  6. good posture
  7. hips driving forward
  8. legs curling


5. Roll Into Position

If you need to roll to the side, roll onto your choking arm side.


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