Buggy Choke

Getting to the side mount used to be a good way to progress your position and find a non-threatening spot for the person on top. It also serves as a position where the player can rest for a bit to catch his breath especially after dealing with tricky guards. In recent years, getting to side mount is no longer a great spot as more people started using the buggy choke. 

What is the buggy choke? Who made the buggy choke and how do you even set this up? Is there a possible escape to this popular submission? We’ll tackle everything about the buggy choke in this article. 

Who invented the buggy choke? 

Unlike some of the moves that we commonly use in BJJ, the buggy choke is not exactly invented by someone who is a notable icon in BJJ. Instead, the buggy choke is said to have been developed by a white belt. Austin Hardt of Ralph Gracie California invented the buggy choke. 

What is a buggy choke? 

The buggy choke is a sneaky triangle variation usually coming from the bottom side mount position. What makes it sneaky is the fact that it breaches one of the golden rules of BJJ: position before submission. 

Instead, the submission happens when the person applying the choke is in an inferior position—under the side mount. Normally, if you find yourself under side mount, you want to build your frame and regain your guard. 

But aside from the side mount, there are also other variations to the buggy choke wherein it can appear from other positions. 

However, before we even discuss the details of the choke, you need to have good hip flexibility if you’re looking to finish the buggy choke. Also, remember to never force the move if you don’t want your knee to get injured. 

How to hit the buggy choke

The first setup of the buggy choke under the side mount. Here, it is important that the opponent on top has the cross face and the other arm is underneath the far arm. This is th

Next, it is equally important that the person at the bottom isn’t going to stay flat on his hips. Scooting out and facing the opponent lessens reliance on hip flexibility. If there is a cross face, you want to pull on the shoulder to have some space to face your opponent. 

The next step is to get your tricep to contact the opponent’s ear. From this position, you want to lift the leg that is far from the top guy’s hip. The arm is going to make an uppercut position and hold the leg right by behind the bend of the knee. And to hold the position, the hands will clasp using a gable grip to get the squeeze. 

One of the most common problems when doing the buggy choke is when the person on top resists the choke. For a lot of people would rely solely on their squeeze, it’s common to see them burn their arms out after some time. A good adjustment by the Routolo brothers is to lean towards your lat when you’re squeezing for the choke. 

Buggy Choke from Closed Guard

Because of the popularity of the buggy choke, we’ve seen some variations of this choke online. Tyler VanKill even has a variation of the choke when playing closed guard. In this setup, it’s a great way to attack a stalling person on top. To make this move work, the opponent’s posture should be low. The head should be on your torso avoiding chokes, and buying his time. 

Just like the regular buggy choke, the tricep gets to the opponent’s ear. And then, he’d set up a rubber guard on the same side of the arm touching the opponent’s ear. The person at the bottom will then scoot out to face the opponent and bring a slight push on the opponent’s ear. From here, the arm goes in an uppercut position and then grab behind the knee. 

If the opponent tripods and puts pressure on the person applying the buggy choke, it gives the bottom guy more room to move the hips and tighten the choke. At times, the guard player could even work for a triangle or attack a kimura on the other arm. 

How do you counter the buggy choke?

So how do you avoid getting caught in this type of choke? If you are dealing with an opponent who knows his buggy choke defense well, the first thing that you have to do when you have side control is to opt to block the near hip while the other hand maintains the cross face. This removes any of the setups that we’ve discussed so far. 

Now, what if you’re a bit late and you have one arm underneath the opponent’s arm while the other is maintaining the cross face? Once you feel the opponent’s tricep, be sure that you are going to move your ear somewhere near the elbow and not towards the armpit. If you move towards the armpit, you are making the setup easier for the person at the bottom. If done correctly, the person at the bottom will feel an arm-triangle setup coming. 

Now, what if you’re already in the buggy choke? Here, you want to give your neck some wiggle room. The arm nearest your opponent’s hip should open to relieve a bit of pressure on your neck. Next, the cross-face arm will be the one choking the opponent. To get as deep as possible on your cross-face arm, you want to place the arm facing palm down. And from there, invade the opponent’s space and grab by the spine. Gravity will give you leverage giving you the choke. 

When trying to escape the buggy choke, it’s easier to escape someone with shorter legs than you. Also, you might want to try to be preventive rather than risk getting choked. 


The buggy choke is a great move for someone who has some amount of flexibility. However, this choke is not 100% dependent on the person’s flexibility, it also requires an understanding of the right angle when doing the move. But most important of all, don’t overestimate your flexibility to the point that you might injure your knee.