The Anaconda choke is a variation of an arm-in choke or strangle where both arms are connected around one shoulder and the neck of the opponent. As far as we can tell, the Anaconda choke (and other D’arce choke variations) were not invented by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners but more likely by wrestlers in ancient times, even predating Judo.
Arm-in strangles like the Anaconda choke are effective submissions that can not only be used to finish an opponent but control their upper body to significant effect to sweep our opponent, take them down, or put them in increasingly indefensible positions.
In this article, we’ll look at how to perform the Anaconda Choke, escaping it, and discuss other details about the technique.
How To Perform The Anaconda Choke (Step By Step)
Step 1: Trap The Head And Arm
To start the Anaconda, I trap my opponent’s head and arm. I catch a short grip behind the armpit of the captured arm, securing him into the position.
As you can see, my choking arm is flush to the neck. With my hands clasped and the connection made, I can start isolating the arm and shoulder I have trapped. This will allow me to break his posture and create the eventual strangle. Notice that we want to lift the trapped elbow off the mat and start pulling it into the middle of their body.
Step 2: Break Their Posture
Once I pull their arm across their body, I want to collapse them into that space. This essentially puts my opponent in a prone position, not an ideal one to defend anything.
Step 3: Lock Your Arms
I now want to lock my arms into the strangle and remove any slack. From this point on, I don’t want my hands to disconnect; otherwise, I’ll lose my strangling pressure. I place my non-strangling hand in the middle of his back to aid mobility.
Step 4: Block The Hips
Now that I have my arms locked in place, I walk my hips towards his, throw my top leg high and over to block his movement, and cinch the choke in. Remember, your hands need to stay connected for the strangling pressure!
How To Escape The Anaconda Choke
Step 1: You’re In Trouble!
So, we messed up majorly to end up here. Yet here we are… stuck in a front head & arm headlock. If I don’t start getting proactive very quickly, I’ll be on the receiving end of his own Anaconda!
My first priority is to put my head in the center of his chest. This will help me to create an angle.
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Step 2: Peek Out
From having my head in the middle, I will peek out on the non-strangle arm side. I want to make room for my head, shoulders, and hips to come through so I can do a sit-out and start reversing this unfavorable position.
Step 3: Chest Up
Now that I have sat through, I still need to address the fact that I’m in a choke. For this, I ensure I am chest up, facing the ceiling.
Turning up like this creates a new angle and space between his strangling arm and my neck, relieving some pressure and allowing me breathing room for my next move.
Step 4: Unravel The Hands
First, take your free hand and grab low around the tricep of their strangling arm, pulling it away from your neck.
At the same time, swim your trapped arm high and over to bring yourself back chest to chest with your opponent. By swimming through like this, you are forcing the mass of your back and shoulder back into the lock. Your opponent’s hands will likely open here, as it’s tough to maintain a lock around that much mass.
Step 5: Consolidate The Position
Now that you’re out, complete the chest-to-chest pin in side control to prevent them re-attempting the submission. Once you consolidate, consider yourself safe.
The Anaconda Choke is primarily a strangle. However, it can crank the neck depending on the application and direction of pressure in the hold.
An effective Anaconda choke should feel more like a clean strangle than a crank. If your uke notices more crank than strangle, adjust your grips and arm position to be more flush against the neck.
Additionally, focus on making your uke’s shoulder and neck meet to cut off circulation, rather than simply trying to make their neck ‘turn the corner’ by pulling on it harder.
It depends, but generally, practitioners will roll to the trapped arm side as they have no way to post here.
For what is essentially a simple head and arm choke, the Anaconda is very effective as both a control tool and as a submission. It can create strong defensive reactions in your opponent that you can capitalize on or finish the fight quickly.
Make sure that you add the Anaconda to your arsenal!