Thursday, January 19, 2012

A mat work counter: How NOT to lose by a triangle choke (sankaku)

Getting pinned or choked with a triangle (sankaku time) has got to be one of the stupidest things that happens to people in judo. You hide like a turtle in a shell and let someone sit on your head. In what alternate reality is this a good strategy in a fight? Yet, people do it all the time and lose this way all the time.

Many matches are won by a technique called a sankaku jime in judo and reverse triangle in mixed martial arts and jiu-jitsu. The top player uses a figure four to trap one arm and choke the opponent with his or her legs, leaving both hands free to either hold the  trap the opposite arm for a better pin or attempt an arm lock. It is a bad position for the player on the bottom.  However ... if you are ready when the technique begins, you can launch a surprise attack counter, as shown ....

You don't want THIS, do you?  

Step 1: The opponent puts a knee into your shoulder and hooks your arm with the other leg.

Really, really important for this technique to work  --- as your opponent steps in, you are going to put the back of your hand against the knee. Your other hand is cupping the heel. You are not grabbing either leg. You want your opponent to be lulled into a sense of security. Your opponent almost has the figure four sunk in. “Almost” is a really, really important word in that sentence. With the figure four almost sunk in and you not having a grip anywhere, the opponent feels confident, she rolls to her side expecting to lock in the pin and choke as she rolls over.

Step 2: Put one hand against the opponent’s knee and the other cupping the heel.

Step 3: As your opponent rolls, spread your hands apart as far as they can go. This ends up with your opponent lying on his or her back with legs spread wide apart. Not a very defensible position. (Note: When you are resisting, the person who is applying sankaku is going to pull harder to roll you. The harder they pull, the easier it is going to be for you to roll fast right up into the opponent.) 

Step 4:  Continue the direction of the roll so that you are laying on your stomach, with one hand under your opponent’s neck grabbing the collar and the one that was on the knee slide underneath grabbing the leg.

There! Now that’s a much nicer position for you, isn’t it?


Unknown said...

Nice! Thanks. Will try this one next practice.


Anonymous said...

So helpful--I can't believe no ones ever mentioned it to me before--thank you!

Anonymous said...

I showed my Sensei the counter today and in all of his 20 plus years he has never seen it. A simple effective counter. Keep em coming!


Dr. AnnMaria said...

Your sensei is a gem (I'm guessing you already know that). The ones who don't pretend to know it all are the best instructors because they are the ones who keep learning. You're lucky you ended up with someone like that.

Loren said...

I remember this! I can just never remember how to get the triangle to drill the defense!