The BJJ Darce choke is by far my personal favorite choke. Moreover, I believe everyone should use this highly versatile choke al to more than they are at the moment. The choke itself is not simple, but still, it is extremely powerful. Moreover, once you get into it, there are so many variations and adjustments to make, you’ll find it really hard to stop looking for the Darce from every possible position. Not to mention that it is actually available from more positions than any other choke.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu chokes work. In fact, they just might be the one submission that is universally successful. WE’ve all heard the “nobody can withstand a choke” claim. It is true to a p[oint, but then again, there are also different kinds of chokes. In this choke hierarchy, the BJJ Darce choke is most definitely in the top contenders, if not the undisputed champion in the flesh. And why wouldn’t it be? It works as a choke, it works as a crank, it works with the gi, you can get it from anywhere, you can use it as a position… the list goes on and on.
The Story Of The Darce Choke
The Darce choke has quite an interesting origin story, one made finally made clear by John Danaher. As with most things in Jiu-Jitsu, the real first moment when someone used this move to either control or submit someone is probably lost for all eternity. What we do know, though is that it falls within the category of triangle chokes. We also know that the BJJ Darce choke is done solely with the arms, making it an arm triangle. It is also usually associated with the front headlock position, although this is not a requirement to get to the strangle.
The Name “Darce” is actually the last name of the person ‘responsible” for bringing the choke to the Jiu-JItsu public’s eye. Joe D’arce was a student of John Danaher and Renzo Gracie. The former actually spoke of stumbling across the choke along with Shawn Willimas as a blue belt, and asking Renzo if ti had any substance to it. It apparently had, and Danaher kept working on it, with Joe D’arce being the “guinea pig” who put it to competitive use in the 2000s. The name we use today is because of Joe’s prowess with the strangle.
The real history of the choke goes way back, though. The founder of the anaconda choke, a Brazilian by the name of Milton Vieira often credits the choke to himself. He dubbed it the Brabo choke, a name that is still used to describe the BJJ Darcechokeeven today. In essence, they’re both the same choke, and it wasn’t really Milton that figured it out.
As history suggests, it was a Norwegian Luta Livre grappler named Björn Dag Lagerströmstubmoeled across the move when trying an Anaconda and getting it the other way around. The thing I,s that if he did it, so did others probably, that never truly claimed it. So, the real first origin of the Darce choke is hard to pinpoint, but we do know precisely where both the Darce and Brabo names came from. Furthermore, Bjorn called it the BjörnTechnik, or simply the Bear Choke.
Little Known BJJ Darce Choke Details
The Darce choke is an arm triangle from the front headlock position. That is the simplest way to describe the position. It does little though to help out with how to actually perform the BJJ Darce choke. The choke works as an arm triangle but there are a bunch of things you need to do right in order to have a real strangle. If you want to learn the fundamentals of the Darce choke, check out this previous article on BJJ World.
Going deeper into the Darce choke, after 6 years of catching people left and right with it, I have several little tips and tricks to share here. For starters, the arm that goes inside for the choke doesn’t’ need to peak out all the way behind your opponent. Instead, a great rule of thumb is to actually use your thumb. If you can extend your thumb and it is behind the neck, you do not need to go any deeper. This is the perfect position to get the choke.
When it comes to grabbing the other arm, the first thing to focus on is actually making the opponent’s neck bend forward with the arm, before attempting to get a grip. This will allow you to grab deep, given that the triceps is where you want your palm to grip, and not the biceps. Extending the arm towards the back of the opponent and twisting it, palm to the ground will help you get that grip even better.
Finally, for the finish, don’t think about squeezing. Instead, try and get your elbows together, while you retract your shoulder blades. Then, puff out your chest as this will get you plenty of taps. If an opponent is still resisting, just got o knee on belly or mount without changing the configuration of the choke and you’ll quickly start putting folks to sleep.
BJJ Darce Choke Variations
Now, there are plenty of variations of the BJ JDarce choke out there, but I’ll focus on a few that really work. In that sense. I’ll be sharing variations of the choke itself, rather than different entries or setups from different positions. The thing you need to know is that it doesn’t matter how long your arms are, or how strong your grips are. None of that matters if you figure out the right Darce choke variation for you. Here are some of the best:
Jeff Glover is the man that named this variation, and according to him, it is because a guy named Mark showed him the move. In any case, the variation works perfectly and is going to do wonders for anyone that has trouble breaking people’s base from the turtle in order to get the choke. If you’ve ever tried to get the choke on a wrestler that’s in turtle, you know what I mean. The Marce is a way to get underneath and finish, with the mechanics being just slightly different from the original BJJ Darce choke.
The premise here is that you have the arm inside for the choke, but can’t really turn an opponent over with the palm to palm grip. When that happens, simply do a sit out, with your near side leg going underneath. The main thing here is to re-adjust, and actually lock up a Darce choke grip the moment you feel your opponent’s losing their base. In other words, that’s the moment your hip touches the floor. From there on, the finish will require you to think about crunching your opponent up, rather than squeezing. Just focus on trying to get their chin to touch their belly button and you’ll get taps every time.
Short Arm Darce Strangle
This is the variation that actually helped me learn how the BJJ Darce chokes works. I, for one, do not have particularly long limbs, especially arms. However, even fro those that are, sometimes opponents just have shoulders that are too wide or necks that are too strong. The moment you realize you can’t get the triceps grip properly, you’re left with just one option – the short arm Darce.
This variation is simply – you grab the forearm instead of looking for the triceps. This will get you a solid anchor point, but also allow you wrist mobility to tighten up the choke without having to use strength or awkward and uncomfortable wrist positions. All you need to do is grab as close as you can to the elbow. For the finish, think about rolling your wrist, in a forward direction. Hteaesaisetwa to exp[lan it is to think about releasing the throttle on a motorcycle. That’s all it takes for people to give up.
This is an abbreviation of the “far side Darce”. It is a variation of the BJJ Darce choke that’ll save you a lot of faieldDarce attempts, once people wise up to how dangerous your Darces are. Attacking a turtled up opponent once again, you’ll be looking to actually switch side by half throwing/half rolling yourself into a Marce. Just to make it clear, you need to know how to do the Marce variation fairly well before attempting this.
The idea is that the far side armpit is usually always open when opponents focus on defending a Darce. Instead of having to grip fight endlessly, you simply throw the top arm under the opposite side armpit, while jumping over and doing half a front roll, sticking your arm through and ending up straight into a Marce choke.
This is a GI variation of the BJJ Darce choke that’s actually a quick way of finishing when you can’t get everything set up right. When it comes to GiDarces, this is the ultimate short arm Darce variation. Moreover, it works form anywhere,. Top or bottom, as long as you have at least one arm inside the triangle. This version works just like an Ezekiel choke. You use the sleeve of the top arm to get a grip with the choking arm. In this instance, you’ll be aiming to touch the shoulder of the opponent with the top arm instead of tehri back. A simple squeeze usually gets the tap, but looking to get your elbows together and shoulder blades back also helps. A lot.
The Gi Brabo
The full Gi version of the choke works when you decide to use the lapel instead of your arm. This version of the choke allows you even more variety, as you can even set it up form the closed guard,.wich is not the case with No-Gi variations of the BJjDarce choke.
The goal is to get a lapel of the opponent’s Gi in the same spot your choking arm usually goes to. This allows you to have the choking arm in a much more shallow position while having the cloth as the choking edge, which greatly increases the finishing percentage. In this instance, you could finish the Darce with just one arm, but using the other arm to grip the lapel behind the opponent’s neck will ensure you get quick and panicked taps. Or naps.
A Step Further: The Japanese Necktie
Last but not least, a throwback, if you will, to the moments when a BJJ Darce choke feels like a neck crank. The Japanese necktie ist the perfect gray area between a choke and a crank. It is legal, it is a choke when done right and a crank when done slightly differently. In any case, nobody is immune to it and it just os happens to be the BJJ Darce Choke’s best friend and neighbor.
Every time you’re stuck in the palm to palm grip with a Darce from top side control or half guard, you can opt instead to head for the Japanese necktie. Simply scoop the head in, and aim to fall with your torso behind the opponent’s head. A crucial detail to have either of the opponent’s legs hooked with yours so that you can crunch them up, like in the Marce finish.
What you get with this is two things – first, you can finish with the Japanese necktie, either via choke or crank. Alternatively, you can use the position to set up the Darce choke grip and return to finishing your initial attack. This combo works like a loop, meaning you don’t’ have to ever release an opponent in order to achieve a tap.
The BJJ Darce choke is a powerful weapon to use. I discovered it as a way to deal with underhooks from people playing half guard. Suffice to say, it worked. It also got me interested in the choke, so I dug deeper. These variations of the Darce choke ara just some of the possibilities that you can mess around with when you’re looking to choke people from anywhere. And, by anywhere I do mean every possible BJJ position, from your closed guard to having someone on your back. But that is a subject for a future BJJ Darce choke article.