An Easy Guide to Understand the Crossface Technique

The cross face is one of the most fundamental techniques for beginner BJJ martial artists and wrestlers. As a result, you should be familiar with this great move from your early days on the mats to improve your game. So, what does the crossface mean in BJJ and wrestling?

The crossface is one of the fundamental concepts for weakening an opponent by controlling his head. It is primarily used in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling to manipulate opponents before submitting them.

This guide will help you understand and master the crossface movement as a beginner or advanced grappling fighter looking to improve your standing game. Keep an eye out!

Crossface in BJJ

BJJ Crossface Meaning

The BJJ cross face is one of the elemental positions with a high amount of pressure on the jiu-jitsu martial art opponent. This amazing Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique gives the grappler tough control of the opponent’s head.

Otherwise, the crossface may sometimes conduct the success of many jiu-jitsu positions, including the side control, full mount, top half guard, and many other BJJ grappling positions. 

The cross-face position is one of the elemental characteristics of the pressure game from the highest position in grappling. Moreover, all practitioners know that controlling your opponent with extreme pressure is a necessary aspect of jiu-jitsu combat.

Crossface Setup in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The crossface BJJ lies on two powerful Brazilian jiu-jitsu principles pressure and head control. If you try to reach the cross-face position, here are some tips for a successful Cross face in jiu-jitsu:

  1. Reach the cross-face dedicated position such as the side mount, top half guard, etc.
  2. When there, you have to place your hand under your opponent’s neck as deep as you can.
  3. Drive extreme pressure on the BJJ opponent’s head using your shoulder. However, make sure to distribute your weight properly aligned with pressure placement.

The most important thing is keeping yourself in a secure jiu-jitsu position at the BJJ cross face. Moreover, remember that if your shoulder movement is done correctly, you will probably be swept and give your crossed opponent a big chance to reverse things.

Controlling in jiu-jitsu martial art means you easily control the opponent’s body by limiting his movement when the spine is not aligned.

Need more help!

In the following video, you get great detail on the process of setting up the crossface techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Have fun!

Source: The Grappling Academy

Crossface Setup from Half Guard

The cross face is a basic jiu-jitsu fundamental that gives you direct access to your opponent’s head. It is a big deal that you cannot underestimate his importance.

Almost all the truly high percentage ways of passing tough opponents’ guards come out of some form of head control.

The beauty of the jiu-jitsu half-guard is that you can get direct access to the head right from the start. Moreover, this is very helpful when dealing with a tough opponent in the bottom position; a big part of controlling the head is cross faces.

Now, I invite you to discover the ideal ways of setting a BJJ cross face from the half guard explained by Coach John Danaher. Moreover, this will help you a lot when you try to pass this kind of guard. 

Source: BJJ Fanatics

Related: This complete article will teach you everything you need to know about the half-guard in BJJ. It explains this guard type in detail and offers some effective attacks and sweeps to help build a savage game.

Cross Face from Jiu-Jitsu Side Control

The cross face under hook has become more predominant as jujitsu started to blend a little more with wrestling.

In addition, when someone goes with the cross face, he needs to be completely focused on the shoulders in the chin to make it hard to get to his hands and knees.

Discover more precious detail in the BJJ video below about the cross face from the side mount by Coach Matt Thornton.

Source: SBG Portland BJJ and MMA Videos

Side Control Crossface Escape

Discover one of the easy escapes from the cross face at the side control position explained by Coach Stephan Kesting. You may think that there is no escape from there.

Source: Stephan Kesting

Related: Side Control Escapes: How to Get Out of This BJJ Position

Cross Face WWE Wrestling

The crossface is a well-known submission held in World Wrestling Entertainment to defeat several professional WWE wrestlers. It could be Chris Benoit’s best finish (crippler crossface wrestling move).

However, other wrestlers such as Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and CM Punk have used the WWE wrestling cross face to win many fights.

Otherwise, There are numerous cross-face hold variations in pro wrestling, such as cross-face chicken wing and crippler crossface.

Crossface Chicken Wing

  • Crossface Chickenwing Meaning

The crossface chicken wing is a savage WWE submission that produces much pain in the opponent’s neck and shoulder. A WWE wrestler can reach this beautiful submission from the standing position or the bottom. 

  • WWE Wrestling Crossface Chickenwing Steup

The crossface chicken wing attacker needs to be behind his/her opponent. Besides, he must trap the opponent’s head and one arm using both hands connected around the opponent’s face or chin.

I invite you to watch the following video, where you’ll discover the process of setting up a chicken wing cross face in WWE wrestling.

Source: WWE

Crippler Crossface

The Crossface Crippler is WWE Chris Benoit’s signature move. This is a savage submission that provokes insupportable pain so that it may be banned from World Wrestling Entertainment.

Is the crippler crossface a savage WWE submission? 


So I often see some practitioners do a good job of forcing their way into positions like the side control, and full mount … But then they fail to set the jiu-jitsu cross face correctly. Although, the good news is that the BJJ cross-face is intrinsically strong.

You can mess the cross face up to quite a large degree and still be effective with it. Nevertheless, the higher you go in the BJJ sport, the more you will be required to work with the most efficient forms of cross-face possible.

Speak your mind; Do you use the cross-face technique in jiu-jitsu martial art? How strong is it?

Related: Building a brutal Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game requires knowledge of several Submission techniques. So, I’ve written a lengthy article on the most effective BJJ submissions you must know, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner. Click here to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does the Crossface Have to Offer in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

The crossface technique gives you greater control over your opponent when used correctly in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Indeed, it can complement the underhook move exceptionally well.

In BJJ, When Should You Use the Crossface?

The crossface is more useful when the practitioner passes the guard, most notably when passing the half guard.

And, after passing the guard, the BJJ practitioner will use it to maintain the side control or full mount while applying good pressure to disrupt your opponent.

Scroll to Top