Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's Rear Naked Choke in 6 Steps

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Step 1 of the Rear Naked Choke

Step 1 of the rear naked choke. Stephan Kesting/BeginningBJJ.com

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the rear naked choke is a very important attack. To apply this attack, start in the rear mount position, controlling your opponent with the over-under grip. It's important that your bottom hand grabs your top wrist, and not the other way around.

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Step 2 of the Rear Naked Choke

Step 2 of the rear naked choke. Stephan Kesting/BeginningBJJ.com

Once you've mastered the first position, grip your opponent's opposite (right) shoulder with your top (left) hand. This step resembles a “tiger claw,” because your fingers are in a claw shape as they grip the back of his right shoulder. This makes your grip more fierce.

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Step 3 of the Rear Naked Choke

Step 3 of the rear naked choke. Stephan Kesting/BeginningBJJ.com

Next, you'll need to pull your bottom (right) arm out from under your opponent's armpit and clasp your hands together, palm-to-palm. Note in the photo how the right forearm is pointing downwards. This makes for a very strong position because your arm is braced against your opponent's back. Note that in the photo, the opponent is still blocking the choke with his hands. You'll learn how to respond in kind in the following step. 

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Step 4 of the Rear Naked Choke

Step 4 of the rear naked choke. Stephan Kesting/BeginningBJJ.com

With your left hand, regrip the shoulder (just like in step two). At the same time, shoot your right hand forward to knock his right hand off of your forearm, limiting your foe's ability to block your choke. This is a quick motion, almost like a palm strike to your rival's wrist. You don't want to push his hand slowly or leave your hand dangling out there for him to grab. It's your goal to end this conflict as quickly and effectively as possible.

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Step 5 of the Rear Naked Choke

Step 5 of the rear naked choke. Stephan Kesting/BeginningBJJ.com

You'll now return to the palm-to-palm grip from step three. Now, the noose around his neck is much tighter, and his primary defense – his right hand – has been removed from your forearm. Note how in the photo the elbow is positioned directly in front of the opponent's nose. Ideally your forearm will be placed under his jaw and not across your foe's face or chin.

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Step 6 of the Rear Naked Choke

Step 6 of the rear naked choke. Stephan Kesting/BeginningBJJ.com

In this final step, you'll need to shoot your right hand deep behind your opponent's neck and lock it into place using pressure from your own head. Your left hand should be on your right bicep. You will squeeze down and then in and up in a hooking motion under your foe's jaw.

You will also stretch your opponent out by extending your legs and arching your back to make the choke even more powerful. Carefully monitor your training partner in case he passes out before he gets a chance to tap out. Have your instructor or someone else observe in case your training partner needs help, and you don't notice.

Safety concerns aside, following these six steps will turbo charge your rear naked choke attack when you're training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or submission wrestling. It may even come in handy during a real-life attack.