Some BJJ moves are really as mysterious as things can get. When you see them, they seem so easy and simple, they make you wonder why you haven’t thought of them before. Yet, the moment you give them a try, you’re as lost as Alice in Wonderland.there are plenty of examples of such moves in the sport, but none are as painfully annoying as the North-South choke. It is the one choke that should work the very first time you try it. After all, getting to the position is so easy. Well, there are a few reasons why the choke stalls, and a further few ways of ensuring you get in there near perfectly!
How come this simple move doesn’t work? Well, as with plenty of other things in JIu-Jitsu, the devil is in the details. In this case, there are a lot of them to consider. For such a simple and “easy” choke, the North-South choke sure seems difficult. Let’s be completely honest it is not a beginners technique. As simple as it may seem, it needs a lot of body awareness and strategic on-the-go adjustment to really sink it in. However, once the choke is in, finishing couldn’t be simpler. And no, it is not a strong man move, but rather a very technical one. Let’ take a closer look at some key details that make or break this choke.
The North-South Choke
To be completely honest, it took me a purple belt and years of experience to get this choke down. It’s not that I didn’t give it a try at white and blue belt respectively. I did, and I even asked more experienced grapples for help, it didn’t really make much change. Even if you learn the choke form, Marcelo Garcia, himself, you’ll need to be aware of how you need to be positioned up to the finest details. It does turn into the easiest choke you’ll have at your disposal though.
The North-South choke works similarly to a no-arm guillotine choke. Essentially, is an arm triangle choke done upside down, but without including the opponent’s arm into the strangle? This is what makes it so efficient actually.
For the North-South choke, you want your arm around the opponent’s neck from the North-South position. In fact, your body needs to be so far back that your arm is the only part of you making contact with the opponent. Your legs need to be sprawled back, and you need to be falt on the floor as much as possible! Other than that, you simply have an arm wrapped around the opponent’s neck, and you reinforce it with a palm to palm grip. A simple squeeze and it is all over. Well, not so simple, as it turns out, but very easy to correct!
North-South choke, D’arce guillotine, arm triangle… You name the choke it is covered in the extraordinary Lachlan Giles DVD instructional “High Percentage Chokes: No-GI”. It will teach your every little detail plus how to tie all the chokes together in a lethal system! Check it out!
Why So Hard?
The reason this choke troubles som any grapplers is down to a few common mistakes everyone makes at the beginning. The real problem is that people give up on the choke before they resolve them. This, in turn, has lead to very few people actually understanding the choke completely.
First up, let’s talk positioning. Moreover, let’s talk about the positioning of your opponent before we discuss your own. The first thing that’s crucial to whether a North-South choke will work or fail is the opponent’s head position. It is as simple as this – always make the opponent raise their head off the mats. If you attempt to go under it while it’s on the ground, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Next up, arm depth. When you circle your arm around the opponent’s neck, make sure you go as deep as possible. As you’ll see later, your lat plays a huge role in the choke. So, a key point is to go as deep as humanly possible, before you get your body into position.
When it comes to body positioning, the most impro0tant thing about the North-South choke is getting into choking position early. Unlike other chokes, this one doesn’t work in the position before submission style because the position is the submission. The caveats are to slide down and use your lat to push their chin so that it’s locked in place. Only then can you slide into position to finish.
For the finish, you’ll need to keep your head low. the higher the head is, the more space there is for the opponent’s arms to provide resistance. Also, in order to really tighten things up, make sure your toes are on the mats.
“Cousin” Submissions And Sneaky Setups
The North-South choke has one main flaw – it is fairly obvious. If you try to set it up form the North-South position directly, you’ll be telegraphing what you’re about to do. This is where advanced BJJ thinking come sin to play. You need to actually mask your North-South choke with other attacks so that you get into position without your opponent being any wiser about it.
One great option is hitting it off other chokes. The top contender here is the D’arce choke. How do people run from the D’arce? They go to their back and extract the trapped arm. That means they get straight into the choke. All you need to do is push the arm they extract and focus on keeping their chin stuck in place.
A classic way of setting the North-South choke up si the side control Kimura. Hunting a Kimura from Twister side control all but guarantees you get the choke. Opponent’s looking to hide their hand is going to raise their head by themselves. From there, you’re in a prime position to go straight to the North-South choke. Just as a tease, the move works awesome off a rolling Kimura as well.
The North-South Choke is a great tool to have at your disposal. While hunting it directly won’t work at higher levels, using it as a follow up will achieve the complete opposite. Moreover, even if you’re stuck with it, you can use the position to get guillotines, Kimuras or other submission options. The key to success is avoiding common mistakes and making sure you’re not obvious about the setup. Apart from that, the choke will work like a charm!