Triangle Choke: Helpful Guide to Master This Submission

triangle choke

The triangle choke can serve you well to conquer your opponent in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other grappling martial arts. Moreover, it’s an effective submission against more prominent and severe fighters.

So, as a wise BJJ and MMA competitor, you need to learn and master the triangle choke from many positions to build a challenging attacking game. You’re probably wondering, how does triangle choke work? 

The triangle choke creates a high level of pressure across your opponent’s neck, which disturbs the blood flow. Because of this, the opponent has few options other than to either tap out or go to sleep.

As a jiu-jitsu practitioner who is eager to learn and master many different submissions to develop a challenging game, you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will help you understand, finish, or rediscover the fundamentals of the triangle choke, as well as its variations, setup, transitions, drills, and other amazing things. Stay tuned!

Triangle Choke BJJ Basics

closed guard

What Does the Triangle Choke Mean in Jiu-Jitsu?

The triangle choke (triangulo in Portuguese) is one of the basic techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu extracted from Judo martial art.

It is achieved when the practitioner wraps his legs around his opponent’s neck and with one opponent’s arm inside the wrapped leg.

How Does the Triangle Choke Work? 

The triangle choke produces high pressure across the neck that provokes blood flow disturbance.

In addition, this chokehold gives the opponent few choices to tap out or go to sleep.

Coach John Danaher teaches you the jiu-jitsu triangle choke mechanics and fundamentals in the following video.

Understanding these basics will help appropriately set up the triangle choke submission from the different BJJ positions.

Source: BJJ Fanatics    

BJJ Triangle Choke Setup

triangle choke hold

The triangle choke is one of the best chokes in Brazillian jiu-jitsu, MMA, self-defense, etc.

And, many wise practitioners are well aware that the triangle is highly effective in BJJ competitions.

Otherwise, you can set up the triangle choke differently depending on your BJJ and your opponent’s positions (standing, kneeling).

Therefore, the mounted triangle setup is different from the back mount triangle setup and the spider guard triangle setup.

So, the triangle entry defines the steps to follow to get the jiu-jitsu triangle submission. Suppose you’re at the closed guard position; here is how to set up the triangle choke?

  1. Control your opponent’s wrists

Controlling the opponent’s wrists may be the first step of most versions of triangles.

Use the sleeve grip for easy wrist control, or if you’re in a no-gi grappling or MMA match, you can use the monkey grip or C-Clamp grip. The wrist control is very effective for several outcomes:

John Danaher gives you some excellent concepts on properly controlling the opponent’s wrist to a successful triangle submission through the video below.

Source: BJJ Fanatics

  1. Put one opponent’s arm in and the other arm out

One of the sequences toward the BJJ triangle choke achievement is putting one opponent’s arm in (between the attacker’s legs) and the other arm out.

There are many scenarios to reach this position (arm in arm out), like one arm is pressed into the opponent’s torso, and the other is pulled forward.

N.B. Make sure to reach that position with a smooth arm-leg movement combination. However, you’ll give your opponent the chance to read your game, and your attack will surely fail. This is because it’s hard to finish the technique when your next move is widely apparent.

  1. Go for a high guard with locked legs 

Once you place one arm in/one arm out, the attacking student needs to lock his legs near the opponent’s shoulders.

But make sure that the leg movement is done explosively and smoothly in combination with the hands’ movement (one arm in/one arm out).

This new leg position serves to control and limit the opponent’s choices and close the distance within your opponent. 

From there, you don’t need to hurry up; take your time before moving to the next step.

Then you – the attacker guy –  should lock your legs and place one leg over the shoulder of the arm and the opposite leg under the opponent’s opposite shoulder. 

Bonus tip: Certain triangle submissions, like the mounted triangle choke, won’t involve this explosive, upward movement.

  1. Control the opponent’s posture and head       

The triangle attacker is now in advanced status toward finishing the submission.

And, things will be much easier if he uses his legs and free hands to control the opponent’s head and posture.

As a result, the jiu-jitsu opponent will have poor choices to escape from this dominant submission position. 

Bonus Tip: Make sure to maintain this control effectively as the closing distance will give the attacker a high percentage to finish the submission, which is valid for the different triangle variations and transitions. 

  1. Readjust your position if necessary 

Honestly, as a BJJ fighter, you need to readjust your position in most submissions to get the perfect leverage to finish the technique. 

It’s the same when performing the triangle choke; you should fix your submission’s angle by adjusting the hips and legs positions to make the triangle so tight without losing much time and energy. 

  1. Finish the triangle

Finishing the triangle is the next step after the attacker has achieved the position mentioned above. So, how do you spend the triangle choke?

John Danaher teaches the concepts needed to complete the triangle submission through the BJJ video tutorial below.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

When the attacker’s legs are locked around the opponent’s neck, the opponent’s trapped arm is positioned across the attacker’s body, and the attacker’s hips are well-positioned.

Then, the attacker needs to do a small hip bridge, squeeze his legs together, and pull down on the opponent’s head.

As a result, the opponent will give up the BJJ fight due to the immense pressure produced on his neck.

Here is another instructional video on how to triangle choke in BJJ?

Coach Tom teaches four hacks to complete the triangle submission through the BJJ video tutorial below.

Source: The Grappling Academy

Here is another instructional video that teaches you how to do the No-Gi triangle choke? 

Source: Hayabusa

Awesome!! Never say, “I can’t finish a triangle choke.”

Triangle Choke Variations

inverted and reverse triangle choke

The triangle choke is one of the most compelling submissions in the art of jiu-jitsu.

It can be performed with several variations from several positions, including the closed guard, half guard, mount, back mount, side control, rubber guard, spider guard, etc.

However, the triangle choke’s mechanics remain the same, which means that if you have difficulty with it from closed guard, you will have difficulty with it from other positions.

  • Triangle Choke from Closed Guard

bjj triangle choke

The triangle choke from the guard is one of the simplest and most famous submissions in BJJ.

Proficient, versatile, and successful submissions in Gi/Nogi, and MMA since the early days of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Apart from BJJ, MMA, and UFC tournaments, the triangle can be practical self-defense. Here are more details about the jiu-jitsu triangle from the guard in the video below.

Source: The Grappling Academy

  • Triangle Choke from Mount

The mount is one of the primary and top dominant positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Thus, the mounted triangle choke is undoubtedly a great submission that you should go for it. So, how to triangle choke from the mount in BJJ?

Source: MMA Leech

The triangle choke from the mount is another effective BJJ move to submit your opponent.

So, when you’re at the mount position, you should start by placing the opponent’s arm between your legs, and your other leg goes under the opponent’s head.

Manage your weight correctly to create maximum pressure on your opponent.

And Boom! you’re ready to finish the BJJ triangle from this position, or you can roll to the side control and finish it.

Apart from the full-guard triangle, the mounted jiu-jitsu triangle choke is the most successful variation of BJJ triangles.

  • Triangle Choke from Side Control

Side control is one of the primary and top fertile positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that gives you a plethora of submissions, including the triangle choke.

If you’re in that position, the side control triangle submission is undoubtedly a great choice. So, how set up the BJJ triangle from side control?

Triangle choke from the top side control position

Source: Howcast

Triangle choke from the bottom side control position

Source: BJJ Fanatics
  • Arm Triangle Choke


The arm triangle choke is usually achieved successfully in mixed martial arts (MMA) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

The fighter needs to establish solid top control on the opponent’s upper body, which presses the load down on the warrior’s upper body.

Almost like the other triangle variations, the arm-triangle may be a blood choke submission that leaves the opponent strangled between their shoulder and your arm. So, how to do the triangle arm choke? 

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

The BJJ arm-triangle choke is reachable from several jiu-jitsu positions such as the side control, the mount, and half guard, to mention names, but the famous position is the side control.

You must use your forearm alongside your opponent’s outstretched arm and shoulder.

Then, you furthermore may want to squeeze a forearm into your opponent’s neck to raise and accomplish the triangle submission.

As a result, you’ll stop the air and blood flow to your opponent leading to tap out. 

  • Inverted Jiu-Jitsu Triangle

Source: JiuJitsuMag

The inverted triangle choke is a brilliant submission because, in most cases, your jiu-jitsu opponent could not predict it.

The prolific Estima brothers used this variation of BJJ triangle chokes to submit top-level grapplers. So, how do you do an inverted triangle?

The inverted triangle’s mechanic jiu-jitsu movements are relatively simple to learn and apply.

Let’s assume that you try to attack your opponent with an inverted triangle while you’re in the side control position.

So, here are the necessary steps to finish the inverted triangle from side control.

  1. First, make sure that the entry to the triangle exists, where you need to detect that one opponent’s arm is in (between your legs) and the other one is out (make it happen if not).
  2. Secondly, you would like to throw your far side leg over the opponent’s head.
  3. Third, close the triangle by closing your legs and readjust your position if necessary to make the BJJ triangle very tight.
  4. Squeeze your legs, and scoot your butt towards the opponent’s hips.
  • Reverse Triangle

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

The reverse jiu-jitsu triangle choke is one of the essential triangle submission variations.

Let’s assume that you’re at the top BJJ turtle position where your opponent gives you no chance to reach his back control.

Sure, you would like to switch things up; for example, go for a reverse triangle. So, how to do a reverse triangle in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Source: Chewjitsu

To reach the reverse triangle choke from the top turtle position, you should insert your nearside leg under the opponent’s head and all the way around.

The purpose here is to secure your ankle on the highest with your opposite pistol.

Therefore, the leg you’ve got under the opponent goes to make choking pressure with the shin.

As far as the modified triangle chokes go, this one is tight and doesn’t require any particular limb length. 

  • Rear Triangle Choke

The rear triangle choke is a terrific way of handling an ultra-defensive opponent once you have back control.

But, honestly, out of all triangles, I know this one; it is far and away from my favorite.

Sometimes you only can’t finish a BJJ choke from the back due to the excellent defense of a top-class hand fighting expert, so you’re getting to hit a rear triangle.

So, how to do a rear triangle choke in Jiu-Jitsu?

Source: Stephan Kesting

To get a rear triangle choke in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or MMA, you need to start from a basic seatbelt configuration, and you should reach the choking side.

Then, from this BJJ position, you should extend both your arms to create enough space to angle out towards the “under” side.

Then, make a smooth move toward the jiu-jitsu rear triangle. Just get your bottom leg across the opponent’s neck and make it all the way through to lock up with the opposite leg.

This is a brutal Brazilian jiu-jitsu triangle that leaves you with total opponent control leading him to submit. 

  • No Arm Triangle

Source: Ben Egli

What if your BJJ opponent arrives to get out their arm during the triangle chokes setup? How remedy to maintain the dominant jiu-jitsu position and get the submission done? 

The regular triangle could not be finished when the opponent gets their arm out due to the big space inside the jiu-jitsu triangle structure.

The attacker needs to move actively to maintain his dominance; then, a no-arm-triangle choke would be a good BJJ submission choice. So, how to do the no-arm-triangle choke in BJJ? 

source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

During the BJJ triangle choke set up without a trapped arm, you’ll discover that you need just some simple jiu-jitsu moves to fix the situation.

  1. First, you should maintain the attack position structure and use your arm to keep the wedge leg.
  2. Then, thread your other arm under the opponent’s neck and grab your first arm.
  3. And finally, you’ll pack up the jiu-jitsu triangle and squeeze. And here is the tap; no one can shake it.

Triangle Choke Transitions

jiu jitsu guard types

Mastering multiple triangle choke transitions will be fantastic for diversifying your jiu-jitsu game so far. Thus, you can get at glance transit to the armbar, kimura, or omoplata.

However, always relying on the triangle choke submission to win a fight could bring you trouble fighting different opponents.

Did you know that you could easily switch from the triangle to armbar or omoplata? Here are some triangle transitions.

Triangle to Armbar Transition

no gi armbar from guard

Triangles and, therefore, armbars are among the hottest submissions in jiu-jitsu martial art and grappling.

These two techniques are very effective and reachable from almost every BJJ position, including the guard, mount, side control, back, and more.

Here is how to switch from a triangle choke to the armbar from several BJJ positions. Stay Tuned!

The closed guard is a superb position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that gives the practitioner multiple opportunities to switch from the triangle choke to the armbar. Here’s how?

Through the video below, you’ll learn to get an awesome armbar triangle combo from the full guard. Source: Carnage BJJ

  • Triangle to Armbar from Mount

The jiu-jitsu mount is another essential position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that gives you multiple choices to go for the mounted triangle armbar combo. Here’s how?

Source: The Grappling Academy

  • Triangle to Armbar from Back Mount

The back mount is another essential position in BJJ martial arts to size a terrific triangle choke armbar combo. Here’s how?

Source: Evolve Mixed Martial Arts

Triangle Omoplata Transition

Through the video below, you’ll learn to get an awesome armbar triangle omoplata combo from closed guard.

Source: MMA Leech

BJJ Triangle Choke Escapes

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

During a BJJ fight, you must give all necessary to win, and it’s not always easy. But sometimes, many competitors make mistakes finding themselves in a deteriorating position like the BJJ triangle choke.

This happens, but you can’t just give at that point. So, you need to try an escape, which is possible if you make the right BJJ moves at the right time.

However, you should know that most BJJ escapes consume much of the fighter’s energy.

And it comes to possibly correct a failure in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu submission defense approach. So, how to get out of a triangle in jiu-jitsu?

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

The triangle choke is one of the top submissions that forces several BJJ competitors to tape out due to the high neck pressure. But, is there any chance to get out of it? 

The good news is that particular sequence moves escape the BJJ triangle. However, these BJJ escape moves will be effective if the triangle isn’t already locked.  

Here are some tips to escape the BJJ triangle choke from the guard:

  1. The first thing you need to do is adjust your posture, giving you time to breathe correctly and prevent the choke.
  2. Your Knee must be placed into the side of the opponent’s hip. 
  3. Continue and spin to side control. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Triangle Drills

closed guard

Drilling the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu triangle choke variations will help you perfect this BJJ submission like other techniques.

The triangle Jiu Jitsu drills will give you more coordination and quality while executing the triangle movements. 

Here is an excellent video on how to drill the BJJ UFC triangle, armbar, omoplata variations

Source: MMA Leech

Here is another jiu-jitsu instructional video showing you some excellent triangle choke drills

Source: Valhalla Academy


Awesome, you ought to insert as much as you can of this triangle choke variation into your Jiu Jitsu fight because it’s an effective BJJ submission.

And do not hesitate to test the different triangle choke variations and transitions mentioned above.

Otherwise, you ought to drill several times the triangle movement more on the road to become smooth.

Finally, let’s admire these beautiful triangle choke finishes in UFC.

Tough UFC Triangle choke finishes. Source: UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship

Feel free to tell us; What’s your favorite BJJ triangle choke BJJ variation?