Buggy Choke: How To Use This Surprise Choke Effectively In BJJ
buggy choke bjj

Buggy Choke: How to use this surprise choke effectively in BJJ

Confidence in BJJ is all about mastering the art of escaping from tough spots. So having some surprise moves such as the buggy choke in your arsenal is beneficial. Being able to wriggle out of a precarious position not only acts as a safety net but also empowers you to get creative on the mats. 

It might sound unconventional, but believe me, you can even set up submission traps from inferior positions that will leave your training partners scratching their heads. Today, I want to dive into one such sneaky move, the buggy choke, a submission that usually catches your opponent by surprise when you’re stuck in bottom side control.

Practicing the Buggy Choke

The best way to practice the buggy choke is on a Jiu Jitsu dummy which you can find on amazon using the image below.

I have one of these and honestly, you don’t appreciate how much you can learn by repetitive practice. Even if it is on something that can’t quite fight back.

buggy choke using jiu jitsu training dummy

What Is The Buggy Choke?

As a purple belt with some experience under my belt, I know that the triangle choke is one of the most versatile techniques in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It can be executed from practically any position, even used as a pathway to leg entanglements. The triangle choke comes in two flavors: one where you trap the opponent’s head with your legs (leg triangle) and another where you use your arms (arm triangle). Regardless of the flavor, the goal remains the same – disrupt the blood flow in your opponent’s carotid arteries.

Now, let’s talk about the intriguing hybrid known as the buggy choke. It’s like the lovechild of a leg and arm triangle, often pulled off from bottom side control. I know it sounds puzzling, but bear with me. To perform it, you’ll loop your arms beneath your legs, ensnaring your opponent’s head and arm below your armpit. Their head and arm are tucked beside your rib cage, while your legs form a triangle. So, let’s dive into the details of how to execute this maneuver.

The Steps To The Buggy Choke

Before you can even think about attempting the buggy choke, there are two crucial steps you need to master. Flexibility and positioning are key here.

First, lie on your back and reach up to your shin. Imagine trying to reach your elbow all the way up to your hamstring – it’s somewhat like performing an armbar on yourself. Getting your biceps to your knee pit while lying flat on your back can be quite a challenge, but it’s the ideal arm position for this choke. You must turn your body to the side, prop yourself up on your elbow, and push off the mat. This isn’t something you can do halfway during live training because your opponent can easily flatten you back down. As you sit up, avoid excessive arm curling to reach your arms behind your knee. Keep both your leg and arm relaxed as you extend. While lying on your side, plant your elbow on the mat and extend your arm as you lift your top leg, positioning your bicep perfectly underneath your knee. This is the first step to locking in a tight buggy choke.

Next Steps in the Buggy Choke

Next, dorsiflex your toes (point them upward) and lock your bottom leg on top of your top leg, creating a triangle with your legs. From this position, continue blading your body, allowing you to place your hand on the mat, opening up more options. Throughout this process, never release the “uppercut” position of your arm as it remains trapped underneath your leg. Finish the sequence by locking both your arms with a gable grip.

Trust me, the buggy choke can be a fantastic technique, especially in the hands of a tricky grappler. While there are various ways to escape side control, the mere threat of a buggy choke can create opportunities for you to recover to a more advantageous position.

The Ruotolo Buggy Choke

Speaking of tricky grapplers, the Ruotolo brothers are well-known for their success with the buggy choke. Here are three critical details they emphasize for a successful execution:

First, avoid lying flat on your back when setting up the buggy choke. In Jiu-Jitsu, creating space and transitioning to different setups while flat on your back is challenging. Instead, angle yourself to face your opponent because reaching your arm to your leg will be nearly impossible if you’re entirely flat on the mat. To complete the buggy choke, your arm needs to be behind your knee as you lock your hands together.

It’s crucial to relieve the shoulder pressure from your opponent’s side control by turning your hips toward them rather than staying flat. This adjustment creates ample space, making it easier to reach your hand to your leg and lock in the choke.

Lastly, after locking in the buggy choke with your arms clasped and your legs forming a triangle, ensure your heel points toward the floor. Your locking leg should be angled towards the mat as if you’re trying to stand on that same leg. This generates intense pressure to cinch the choke tightly.

If you are still unsure, maybe John Danaher from new wave jiu jitsu, explanation on the buggy strangle will help. Check out the video below. John Danaher has the most complicated way to explain the buggy choke or ‘strangle’.


BJJ is a dynamic sport, and new techniques are constantly emerging. While the buggy choke is a viable bjj technique, I highly recommend consulting your coach before adding it to your arsenal. This submission demands flexibility, so be prepared to put in some extra work on your mobility.

If you’re eager to explore this technique further, I suggest checking out the Ruotolo brothers in action. Tye and Kade are absolute wizards on the mats, and you’ll undoubtedly pick up valuable insights by watching them roll.

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