Baseball bat choke is a great choke that has gained popularity among finishers. And in some situations, it can come from obscure places that can catch an opponent off-guard. It’s a go-to submission by Gui Mendes and Magid Hage to name a few.
But what makes it an interesting attack is the fact that you can use it while you are on dominant position or you can also use it as a Hail Mary attempt throwing “position before submission” mentality out the window. You have the likes of Magid Hage that has turned this as a trademark submission catching opponent whenever they are passing.
Also called the samurai choke, baseball bat choke is similar to holding a bat (or a katana). You have one hand facing up and the other is facing down. For this choke to work, you need to get your radial bone and your ulna in contact with your opponent’s neck. But unlike a cross collar choke where you grip across, you get the same side of the lapel.
Baseball Bat Choke From Side Mount
Before discussing a high-risk variant of the baseball bat choke, it is a good idea to first discuss how you can catch someone from the bottom. It usually happens from the side mount.
It’s a common scenario that you can’t get the cross face properly if you are doing side mount, especially in high-level tournaments. As an alternative, you can use the collar grip instead. With your thumb in, it can serve as a club grip to make the opponent to face the other way. However, this can already be used as an initial grip for different chokes including canto choke and baseball bat choke.
To go for a baseball bat choke, you want to come up and transition towards a knee on belly position. Knee on belly is a great way to keep the opponent’s hip down making it easier to get the second grip. The other grip will have to be four fingers into the collar. Depending on who you ask, some want their opponents turning towards them before getting the second grip. At times, this makes it easier to transition to other attacks as well.
Once you have the second grip, it is important to have your pinky and thumb meet. This will ensure that you are squeezing the neck.
To finish the baseball bat choke, you will need to drive your elbow down to your opponent’s chest and run towards the north-south position. To finish the choke, you will just get your head towards your opponent’s hip to minimize the opponent’s movement.
Baseball Bat Choke From Side Mount Using the Lapel
So what if you were lucky enough to get the cross face and cup the opponent’s lat? Does it mean that you have to settle towards a collar grip just to get the baseball bat choke? If you have the cross face, then might as well maintain it and hunt for the dragon’s tail instead when setting up the baseball bat choke.
Your other hand can start to loosen up the opponent’s lapel and feed the dragon’s tail to your other hand. This way, you can still maintain pressure on your opponent’s face. Next, you want to pop up to a knee on belly position and get your second grip. The second grip has to be palm up.
Finishing the baseball bat choke is still the same as the first setup. You will need to drive down your elbow to your opponent as you spin to the north-south position and drop your head to his or her hip.
Baseball bat choke against a passing opponent
There are instances when baseball bat chokes are used as Hail Mary submissions against opponents who are ahead on points. This is a setup that is commonly used by the likes of Magid Hage. To make this work, you can start from a Z-guard position or even from half guard where you have your back flat. But between the two, some prefer to start from z-guard simply because they have their hips off the mat. It is also easier to disguise the grips as your frame.
From z-guard, you want the first grip to be the one where your thumb goes in the collar. Next, you will get the second grip with four fingers in the collar or the one with the hand up. Once you have this, you want to release your guard to bait your opponent to pass.
Once the opponent starts to pass, don’t let go of the grips and turn to the other way as if you are giving your back. You can then get your elbow close to your chest to squeeze the baseball bat choke. Sometimes, your opponent is even going to get complete hooks. But as long as you don’t let go of the grip and your elbow already close to your chest, there is a likelihood that you will get the tap or your opponent will fall asleep because it is a surprise attack.
How to Address The Baseball Bat Choke?
Is it an unstoppable choke? Can you get away with it every time? The reason why baseball bat choke is effective when used from the bottom is the fact that there is an element of surprise.
To be able to defend the baseball bat choke, you want to get rid of the grip with the thumb in. This is easier to remove than the grip with the palm up. The opponent can double team that side and rip the grip form the collar. But of course, there are different factors to consider. Does he or she have enough leverage to break the grip?
If the baseball bat choke is coming from top position, then this will make the choke harder to address. The baseball bat choke can be a secure attack if done from a dominant position.
This choke is a high-risk high reward move. But with good grips and proper timing, it is possible to make this a good addition to your arsenal.