North-South Choke

The North-south position is utilized more of a control position rather than an aggressive position for a lot of grapplers. At times, it is even treated as a stalling position. What if you can make your north-south position more aggressive to keep your opponent defending the submission instead of just thinking about improving his or her position?

The north-south choke is an underutilized but effective submission that can be done in different situations. Among grapplers that popularized this move include Marcelo Garcia and Jeff Monson. North-South Choke is similar to the mechanics of your guillotine but without the use of your legs. Instead, you finish the move by the distance between you and your opponent as well as how you clasp your hands.

Things to Consider Before Hitting the Choke

There are some things that you might want to remember first if you are going to try the north-south choke. First, it is important to know how to properly do a North-South against an opponent. A common way to stabilize an opponent at the bottom is to control the hips. It means that you will hold both hips. And also, you want your weight to be on your opponent’s face. It means that the hip should be covering the face. A common mistake is to have your feet active when you should be making your opponent uncomfortable. And just like doing side control, you want the opponent to be turning to one side.

Setting Up The Choke

Just like the guillotine, there are two north-south choke variations that you can use. The most common is the arm-in variation wherein you have the arm of your opponent in between. What makes it a common setup is the fact it is easier to use especially if you are controlling the opponent’s hip.

Doing the north-south choke is simple. Once you have the opponent looking at one direction, you want your hip to be blocking the other side. Next, you’d want the choking hand to enter the side where the opponent is looking. Ideally, the bicep is going to be in contact with the neck of your opponent. The wrist will also be in contact with your opponent’s neck.

Next, without a clasping hand, you can create a temporary grip. You can do this by cupping your chest or by gripping on your gi’s collar. Once you feel that the opponent at the bottom stopped moving, then it’s time to clasp the choking hand. You can clasp it either by doing an arm-in variation or by clasping your in front of the shoulder.

Finishing the north-south choke is similar to the guillotine in a way that you squeeze the neck. You pull up using the clasping hand as you try to get your bicep to get as close as possible to your torso. But as for your body, you want your body to be sliding down moving farther from the opponent.

If done properly, it can either be a choke or a crank. However, there are also instances when it can be both. Either way, it is possible to get the tap.

Why Practice the North-South Choke?

The north-south choke requires small movements which giving you the chance to go back to your starting position and maintain control. When dealing with someone who is spazzy or someone stronger, this can be a good option. And also, it is a high-percentage move once you have the right grip. Wrapping your choking hand on the neck is already most of the work. At times, you can even choke by grabbing your lapel and moving back.

Between the arm-in north-south choke and the front-naked version, the former is safer considering how you can still have control of the opponent if he or she decides to push.

Combining The North-South Choke With Other Attacks

There are a lot of underutilized north-south attacks. You can combine them with your north-south choke and get a higher chance of sinking in the submission. One attack that you can combine with your north-south choke is the paper cutter choke.

It also requires minimal changes in your grips. To do the paper cutter choke, the hand that is controlling the hip will only switch to the collar. The grip will be made in such a way that the hand is going to crawl underneath your opponent. Next, the choking hand will grab thumb in and sink in the choke. Because it creates space, it is common for the opponent to defend the paper cutter choke and frame and face you. What you can do is to use this opportunity to wrap your hand and resume the north-south choke.

North-South Choke from Side Mount

Setting up the North-South Choke doesn’t always have to start from the north-south position exclusively. Because it is similar to doing a guillotine, it can also come from a scramble. There are instances when you can capture someone directly into a north-south choke when they are under the side mount. This usually happens when they decide to push and frame, and scoot at the same time to create space. The moment that the opponent uses both hands to frame and scoot, it’s a chance for you to wrap your arm for a north-south choke.

What makes this setup less popular is the fact that you might not be able to sink your choke as deep as the conventional setup. Because of the framing hand and because your chest is not in contact against your opponent’s chest, there is a high probability that you might lose the position.

Teaching North-South Choke to Novice Grapplers

A lot of novice grapplers miss the opportunity to maximize this choke. North-South is a common position that occurs in different scenarios. For instance, it’s a good stalling position, especially when facing someone who has a good side-mount escape. On top of that, North-South is a decent refuge whenever you are dealing with someone who has a flexible guard.

The north-south choke can catch opponents off-guard. It requires minimal movements and you don’t have to muscle anything if done the right way. All you need to do is to find the right squeeze and slide your body downwards.

About the author

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Richard Presley

A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Richard is the owner and primary writer of Attack The back. Check out my About Me Page to learn more!