WATCH: How the Cross Collar Choke Can Be Effective in a Fight

Welcome to the next installment of our self-defense series with pro MMA fighter Sullivan Cauley. Today, Sully walks us through the cross collar choke from bottom. But before we get to that, here’s a look at each episode so far:

  1. How to Effectively Use a Bear Hug in a Bar Fight
  2. How to Use a Push Kick to Fend off an Attacker
  3. Defending Against a Punch Using the Long Guard
  4. How to Escape From a Full Mount and Avoid a Full Beatdown
  5. Defending the Football Tackle Using the Whizzer & Sprawl
  6. How To Defend the Schoolyard Headlock During a Fight
  7. Choosing the Best Fighting Stance for a Street Fight

Using the Cross Collar Choke From Bottom

Aside from elite Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners, generally nobody wants to be on bottom in a fight for reasons we’ve discussed previously. While you might not be planning on playing guard in your next street fight, it is important to have a plan in case your whizzer and sprawl fail to stop the takedown or you’re clipped by a punch and wind up needing to fight off your back.

It’s important to note that this choke will only work from bottom if you have your opponent in your guard; this means your legs are locked around his body providing you some leverage. Also, given the fact you’ll be exerting a lot of force on your opponent’s clothing through leverage using this choke, you need to make sure he’s wearing something sturdy. Most sweatshirts, jackets and vests will do, especially anything made out of leather.

Executing the Choke

The first step to this technique and for defending yourself from strikes while on bottom is to pull your opponent close. Use his clothing or grab the back of his head or neck to do so. Next, make your fist grip on the back of his collar behind his head. You want to reach your hand to the far side. Then, with your other hand, reach inside his other side’s lapel so that your fingers are inside the jacket and your thumb is outside with the back of your hand and wrist up against the side of his neck. The deeper you can grip the better; reach all the way to the back of his collar if you can.

Now, keeping your grip, take the arm you first gripped with behind his head and bring it over his head and down by his neck so that your arms are crossed in an “x” position. Pull both grips close to your body, pull each arm in opposite directions, and flex your wrists driving the back of your hands and wrists into his neck to block the arterial blood flow.

This technique is relatively easy to learn. It also doesn’t take a lot of strength or athleticism, but executing it under pressure will still be impossible without practice. Lastly, start taking BJJ classes if you want to learn the finer points of choking people with their clothing.  

Watch the video above to see the move in action. Also, be sure to grab the most recent issue of Skillset Magazine at

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