Grapplers Graveyard

Mastering the Anaconda Choke

anaconda choke bjj

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that focuses on ground fighting and submission holds. One powerful move in BJJ is the Anaconda Choke. This article will explain the choke, its history, how to do it, and different ways to use it. Whether you’re new to BJJ or have been practicing for a while, learning this move can make you a better grappler.

Introduction to the Anaconda Choke

What is the Anaconda Choke?

The Anaconda Choke is a move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that targets the opponent’s neck and arm. It works like how a snake squeezes its prey. This choke is a type of arm-triangle choke, where your arm goes around the opponent’s neck and one arm, cutting off blood flow to their brain.

Why is it important in BJJ?

In BJJ, the Anaconda Choke is important because it is very effective and can be used in many situations. Learning this choke can make your submission game stronger and give you an advantage over your opponents.

History of the Anaconda Choke

Where did it come from?

The Anaconda Choke is believed to have been created by Brazilian fighter Milton Vieira. Vieira is known for his innovative techniques in BJJ and MMA, and this choke is one of his most famous moves.

How has it changed over time?

Over the years, the Anaconda Choke has evolved. Fighters have developed new ways to set it up and finish it. It has become popular in both BJJ and MMA, with fighters like Ryan Garcia using it in competitions.

Anatomy of the Anaconda Choke

How does it work?

The Anaconda Choke is simply an arm-triangle choke. Your arm goes around the opponent’s neck and one arm, creating a triangle shape. This triangle applies pressure to the carotid arteries, which are the main blood vessels to the brain.

What happens to the blood flow?

The choke works by cutting off blood flow to the brain. When you trap the opponent’s arm and neck, you apply pressure that stops blood from reaching their brain. This can make the opponent tap out or pass out.

Setting Up the Anaconda Choke

Snap Down Technique

One common way to set up the choke is the snap-down technique. This involves pulling the opponent’s head and upper body down, making them vulnerable. From here, you can move into the front headlock position.

Moving from Front Headlock

Once you have the front headlock, you can start setting up the Anaconda Choke. Thread one arm under the opponent’s neck and connect it to the bicep of your other arm. Then, roll the opponent over the trapped arm to tighten the choke.

How to Do the Anaconda Choke

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Secure the Front Headlock: Start by getting a front headlock on your opponent, making sure you control their head and neck.

  2. Thread the Arm: Thread your arm under the opponent’s neck, reaching for your bicep on the other arm.

  3. Connect the Hands: Connect your hands, creating a tight grip around the opponent’s neck and arm.

  4. Roll the Opponent: Perform a gator roll, rolling the opponent over the trapped arm to tighten the choke.

  5. Apply Pressure: Squeeze your arms and apply pressure, cutting off blood flow to the opponent’s brain.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Incorrect Arm Placement: Make sure your arm is properly threaded under the opponent’s neck to apply maximum pressure.

  • Ineffective Grip: Keep a strong grip to prevent the opponent from escaping.

  • Poor Body Positioning: Stay close to the opponent to maintain control and pressure.

Different Ways to Use the Anaconda Choke

Gator Roll

The Gator Roll is a popular way to finish the move. You roll the opponent over the trapped arm to tighten the choke. This rolling motion also makes it harder for the opponent to defend.

Modified Anaconda Choke

Sometimes, fighters modify it to fit their style or the situation. These changes can include different grips, body positions, or angles of pressure, making the choke more personalized.

How to Defend Against the Anaconda Choke

Spotting the Setup

The first step in defending against this choke is recognizing the setup. By knowing the common setups, like the snap down or front headlock, you can anticipate the choke and take action to stop it.

Effective Counters

Good counters to the move include breaking the opponent’s grip, creating space to breathe, and using leverage to escape. Practicing these counters can help you stay calm and escape the choke during a match.

Training Drills for the Anaconda Choke

Partner Drills

Partner drills are important for learning this move. These drills let you practice the choke in a controlled setting, improving your technique and building muscle memory.

Solo Drills

Solo drills can also help. These drills focus on building the strength, flexibility, and coordination needed to do it well.

Importance of Grip Strength

Building Grip Strength

Grip strength is key in all grappling or combat sports. Building grip strength with exercises like deadlifts, pull-ups, and grip trainers can help you hold and maintain the choke.

Grip Training Exercises

Add grip training exercises to your routine to improve your grip strength. These exercises can include farmer’s walks, plate pinches, and wrist curls, all of which target the muscles needed for a strong grip.

Role of Body Positioning

Keeping Control

Keeping control over your opponent is important for getting the submission. Good body positioning helps you apply pressure effectively and stop the opponent from escaping.

Best Angles for Pressure

Knowing the best angles for applying pressure can make the difference between a successful choke and a failed one. Try different angles to find what works best for you.

Adding the Anaconda Choke to Your Game

Combining with Other Moves

This choke can be combined with other submissions to create a versatile game. For example, moving from the Anaconda Choke to an armbar or triangle choke can surprise opponents and increase your chances of winning.

Switching Between Techniques

Smooth transitions between techniques are key to a successful grappling game. Practice switching between the Anaconda Choke and other submissions to develop a fluid and dynamic approach.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Incorrect Arm Placement

One common mistake in doing the Anaconda Choke is incorrect arm placement. Make sure your arm is properly threaded under the opponent’s neck to apply maximum pressure.

Ineffective Pressure Application

Applying ineffective pressure can result in a failed choke. Focus on keeping a strong grip and applying consistent pressure to cut off blood flow and secure the submission.

Benefits of Mastering the Anaconda Choke

Competitive Edge

Mastering this move just gives you a competitive edge in both BJJ and MMA. Its versatility and effectiveness make it a valuable tool for any grappler.

Versatility in Grappling

The choke’s versatility allows it to be used in many positions and situations, making it a valuable addition to any grappler’s game. Whether you’re in a tournament or a sparring session, this move can be a game-changer.


What is the Anaconda Choke?

The choke is a move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that targets the opponent’s neck and arm, creating a constriction similar to how a snake subdues its prey.

How do you set up the Anaconda Choke?

The choke can be set up using techniques like the snap down, which forces the opponent into a vulnerable position, allowing the practitioner to transition into the front headlock and secure the choke.

What are the common mistakes in executing the Anaconda Choke?

Common mistakes include incorrect arm placement, ineffective grip, and poor body positioning. Ensuring proper technique and maintaining control are key to executing the choke successfully.

How can you defend against the Anaconda Choke?

Defensive strategies include recognizing the setup, breaking the practitioner’s grip, creating space to breathe, and using leverage to escape the choke.

What are the benefits of mastering the Anaconda Choke?

Mastering the Anaconda Choke provides a competitive edge, enhances your submission game, and offers versatility in various grappling scenarios.

Can the Anaconda Choke be used in MMA?

Yes, the choke is effective in both BJJ and MMA, with many fighters incorporating it into their repertoire to secure submissions in high-stakes competitions.


The Anaconda Choke is a powerful and versatile submission technique that can significantly enhance your grappling game. By understanding its history, mechanics, and execution, you can master this choke and use it to gain a competitive edge in both BJJ and MMA. Remember to practice regularly, refine your technique, and stay committed to continuous improvement.


  1. Evolve MMA – BJJ 101: Anaconda Choke

  2. BJJ Fanatics – How to Do the Anaconda Choke

  3. Grapplearts – Anaconda Choke

  4. Jiu-Jitsu Times – The Anaconda Choke: A Comprehensive Guide

  5. BJJ World – Anaconda Choke: The Ultimate Guide

  6. Wikipedia – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu