North-South Choke – Execution and Defense

Here’s a simple technique that even white belts can use effectively in sparring or competition. It’s called the north-south choke. This is mainly a blood choke that can be used to put the opponent to sleep – but if you do it in a certain way, then it can also work as a crank. It’s a highly effective move that’s not very difficult to perform if you know what you’re doing. So, all things aside, we’re about to show you the way in which you can do this move and get the tap out.

The north-south choke is one of the most widely used moves in BJJ due to its effectiveness and simplicity. We hope that you will make it work out for you in sparring and competition.

North-South Choke Setup

Do you have any idea as to why exactly this choke is called like this? Well, it’s because of the positions that the two of you will take during the move. The easiest way to do this move is from the top side-control position.

In many cases, the novices among your BJJ opponents won’t even try and defend the choke at all. Not many people among the novices even know how to defend themselves properly when the opponent is in side-control. And this will make the perfect opportunity for you to try doing this move on your opponents.

So, while you’re in side control, you need to put your arm over your opponent’s neck and then under it. Your bicep should be around his throat and tour wrist under his neck. In order to do this, you will need to move your body closer to the north-south position. If you manage to do this, then you have already done the most important part of the move.

Now all you need to do is grab your hand with your other hand and fall flat on your stomach – as flat as you can. You will then be able to apply sufficient pressure to choke your opponent out and get the tap out.

North-South Choke Defense

There will be some opponents that will know what to do when they are in bottom side-control position though. The first thing that they will do is keep their elbows close to their bodies and use them to push your body away – or at least to create some form of pressure. This will make it more difficult for you to slide your arm over and under your opponent’s throat and neck – more difficult, but not impossible.

If this happens, then first, you will need to use your body in a “lunging” motion in order to push away your opponent’s blocking arm. If you can’t see this move in your mind’s eye, then we suggest you see Marcelo Garcia’s excellent demonstration of this move in the video below.

After you do this, your way will be open and you’ll be able to slide your arm in. But your opponent is pretty tough and he won’t give in easily – he decides to turn his head to the side so as to minimize the pressure on his carotid arteries. If your opponent manages to do this, then it’s likely that you won’t be able to finish this choke.

In this case, you again need to use the area around your armpit to lunge forward and move your opponent’s head to the proper position necessary for the execution of this move. If you know how to do this, then you’ll see that it’s easy to do.

The final thing that your opponent can do in order to sabotage your north-south choke is to use his arm to envelop your body and prevent your ability to grab your hands. There are a few options that you can take in such a case. We recommend you use your knee in order to step over the opponent’s arm and open up your way to get the move done.

North-south choke safety

This is a move that’s known to put people to sleep. If you’re not careful enough as the attacker, then you may miss out the signs that your opponent is out cold. The reason for this is that the onset of the effects of this choke is so sudden. In many cases, your opponents won’t even know what hit them before it’s already too late. Most of them will get the chance to tap-out and will do so. There are some people that will have mangled hands and won’t be able to tap out at the proper moment and will go to sleep.

Compounding this issue is the fact that you have no visual cues of your opponent’s face while doing this choke. It’s the way the move is done. You’ll have to be prepared to see the minute details of your opponent’s body going limp. In any case, we recommend that you use this move with caution – especially with novices. It’s your opponent’s responsibility to tap out in time – but you don’t want to hurt anyone with BJJ either.

Check also: