Bow and Arrow Choke – Easy to Defeat Higher Belts


The bow and arrow choke is one of the most successful submissions in BJJ competitions. If you fight against the higher belt, like purple, brown or black, this is one of the easiest ways to defeat your opponents. Many opponents with higher belts know how to defend easy chokes, but this is the biggest surprise an opponent can get.

Here is a world-class example from the BJJ competition.

Despite this choke is technically very difficult, it is also highly effective. Once you catch opponent’s kimono, he will have very little chances of escaping. It doesn’t matter whether your opponent is the black belt in BJJ. The control this choke provides is stunning.

The famous BJJ competitors that use bow and arrow choke very successfully in competitions are Ricardo Vieira, Ronaldo Jacare, Bruno Malfacine, Lucas Leite, Andre Galvao, Roberto Abreu, Rubens Charles, Rafael Mendes, Rodolfo Vieira, Diogo Sampaio and many others

A BJJ Bow and Arrow ChokeA BJJ Bow and Arrow Choke

A BJJ Bow and Arrow Choke

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What exactly is a bow and arrow choke

A bow and arrow choke is one of the chokes where you use opponent’s lapel against him. You must have a good technique to be able to obtain it. If you catch the wrong spot, the opponent may slip out of the choke easily. But if you hit the right spot, he will have no chances of escaping. This is one of top three techniques when it comes to the submission in BJJ competitions.

There are two ways of performing this choke – off the mount and off the back.

Mount position

When you perform it off the mount, your primary goal is to force your opponent leaving one part of his back exposed. Remember, everything is in the grip. This looks like a small detail, but if the grip is not strong, your opponent won’t have chances of escaping. One more good tutorial is available here.

Here is how you should perform this choke in steps:

  • When the opponent lifts the right side of his back, grab his right arm with both of your arms and push it forward.
  • Drop your chest behind the opponent’s shoulder blade to the left. Place your other hand on the mat to help you provide more strength in the grip.
  • Sneak your right hand under opponent’s arm, catch his lapel and open it towards yourself. Continue to drive forward and place your left hand under his neck. Turn the upper part of his lapel towards your left hand by using your right hand and push down. Place your left arm under opponent’s chin. Clench the fist of your left arm, catching the upper part of the opponent’s lapel.
  • Pull the elbow of your left hand towards the opponent and start sneaking your body up. Move your right leg up and grab the right knee of the opponent. Note: grab the lower part of the hamstring of your opponent for the better control.
  • Start rolling your opponent over and lift your left leg up. Sit back and keep maintaining the contact with the opponent’s neck.
  • Start pulling your elbow in and force your opponent to tap out.

Here is the list of suggestions you should do if you want more success in your grip:

  • Let the opponent bounce you up and follow the movement of his body so you can get your knee off the ground and tuck your foot in.
  • It is very important to apply the pressure straight on the
    shoulder blade. If you apply it to the shoulder, your opponent can escape easily.
  • The best way when grabbing opponents hamstring would be wrapping your arm under his thigh.
  • If you want to improve the strength of your grip, try to move your body away from the opponent.

Back (sliding collar choke) position

Here is the list of things you should do:

  • Open the upper part of the opponent’s lapel and turn it in with your left hand. Drive your right hand deep under opponent’s neck.
  • Pull opponent’s body towards your right elbow. Grab his knee as you roll sideways.
  • Sit your body up and finish the submission.

Note: your opponent can be ten times stronger, but bow and arrow choke requires no strength at all. It only requires world-class technique and an ability to control opponent’s movement. You can be a weaker opponent, but your grip may lead you to the serious victories over stronger opponents.

Close guard

This is technically the most difficult, but it is an outstanding way to surprise your opponent and win the losing game. Here is the great video tutorial. An opponent holds his hands on your lapel and tries to finish the fight.

And here is the set of instructions:

  • Lift your body up and place your right hand under the forearm of the opponent’s right hand, catching his lapel on his lateral side.
  • Turn the elbow of your right hand up, place your left hand under the forearm of your right hand and catch the forearm of your right hand slightly under the level of your elbow. Put your legs on the lateral side of the opponent’s stomach.
  • Pull the opponent’s right hand forward, keeping it extended and lift your hips. Place your left foot on the ground.
  • Wrap your left leg around the opponent’s left leg. Wrap your left arm around his neck and grab his lapel. Push your right arm under opponent’s arms and grab his left leg in the level of his hamstring.
  • Sway your left leg up and sweep your opponent. Squeeze your legs and wrap your legs around opponent’s body.
  • Clench your right fist, keep pushing opponent’s left leg towards yourself and squeeze until the opponent taps out.

Note: it is very important how you hold the opponent’s sleeve. You must hold it tight and technically correct, or the opponent will slip out.

Escaping bow and arrow choke

Here is an outstanding video.

If the opponent holds you too tight, make sure you don’t let him lock you on the ground with his hand on your hamstring or adductors. In that case, escape will be nearly impossible. In any other scenario, you have good chances.

You have few steps which can save you from the submission:

  • Try to move your head to the left or right to see how deep the submission is.
  • Post your right foot on the ground (if the opponent chokes you with his right hand on his right side), hit the ground and explode to the left, lifting your hips.
  • Lengthen your back and neck as much as you can and slide backward down the mat.
  • Hit the opponent’s right hand with your right hand and rotate towards him.

Note: you can also escape in the later stages of threat. It is a lot more difficult, but you still have the chances.

Defending bow and arrow choke

This video will show you the secrets of defense. You can defend only if you react on time and quickly.

Here are the steps to successful defense:

  • Keep your elbow in, so the opponent has a problem maintaining the pressure on your neck.
  • Your leg is stronger than his arm, kick hard with your leg and rotate to the side in the opposite direction of his hand. If he chokes you with his right hand, rotate to the left.
  • Use your right leg to move. Hold the opponent’s right knee to prevent him from locking your body. Drive your right shoulder upwards.
  • Pushing opponent’s knee all the time, move your left leg to the left and place your right leg under your left leg. Rotate to the hip sideways.
  • Maintaining the contact with the opponent’s knee, rotate to the stomach and slip out of the submission. You can sweep to side control, side mount, or full mount position.

Note: it is very important to kick, use the foot and drive your shoulder as fast as you can. If you forget one of those three, you will be submitted.

Wrapping it up

Bow and arrow choke is one of the best ways to defeat an experienced opponent, especially if you are a lower belt. This is not a technique for beginners, so make sure you train it to perfection. You will need a lot of repetitions but when you learn it properly every single opponent will have a very hard time against you!

For the end, enjoy one textbook example of bow and arrow choke applied in competition.

By the way, bow and arrow choke was allowed in Judo earlier, why not remember those lovely days?

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