If I had to use just one choke for the rest of my time in grappling, it would be the Japanese necktie. It is a very powerful submission hold that is my go-to move whenever I feel like nothing else is going to work against a bigger or more experienced opponent.
Today we’re going to explore this nasty choke as well as its international variations including the Peruvian Necktie, German Necktie, and more!
Choke vs. Crank
There’s the debate of choke versus crank in BJJ. In essence, any choke can turn into a neck crank, and vice versa. The debate that often happens is whether the tap was a result of a choke or a crank, the latter being considered to be a lower form of a submission hold.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter. If you go for a Kimura but finish with a wristlock, nobody is going to complain. Well, whoever tapped might complain, but they’re going to do it anyway, they tapped.
My point is that a neck crank is a legitimate way to finish a submission. If it only happened from time to time it would be okay to question its efficiency, I guess. But given the high percentage of taps due to cranks, getting a tap from a crank is a legitimate way to win.
Getting a tap from a crank, when you were after a choke is also not something that should be written down as your fault when you’re the one pursuing the choke. The person you’re trying to choke often tries to escape in ways that put them into a cranking position. That is not your fault, nor should you feel bad about getting such a tap.
In fact, every good choke should have a cranking component to it, whether as part of the submission or a follow up. That is why neck cranks are forbidden in competition, but only when they’re done as a standout, purposeful crank. Those that happen as part of a choke are completely legal!
This opens up the doors very wide for all necktie submissions out there. And, as you’ll see soon enough, there are lots of them!
The Fundamentals of Necktie Chokes
A BJJ necktie choke is a submission hold that is part blood choke, air choke, neck crank, and chest compression (in most cases). It can work as a direct choke or a triangle choke (shoulder pressures the carotid artery on one side). BJJ neckties can also be set up using your arms, legs, your arms and legs, or a combination including the collars, lapels, and sleeves of a gi.
An International Collection Of BJJ Neckties
For some reason, most neckties I know of are named after countries. Perhaps, people just figure a necktie out and name it after the country they are from? What I know for certain is how the Peruvian necktie was named.
The Peruvian Necktie
The term Peruvian necktie refers to a form of murder often seen in Peruvian prisons, where one’s neck gets cut into a V-shape. The V-shape of your arms when setting up, and in particular, finishing the Peruvaian necktie is most likely how this move got its name.
While not my favorite variation of the necktie, the Peruvian is a great place to understand the basics of necktie chokes.
A Peruvian necktie starts with you in the front headlock position against a turtled opponent. You need to have one arm over their shoulder, and the other underneath their armpit. This means that your body is nearer to the side where your arm goes under the opponent’s armpit. Think of it as if you’re trying to set up a Darce choke but your arms are too short to go for the figure four grip.
Instead, get an S-grip or a palm-to-palm grip, right underneath your opponent’s neck. This ensures you’ll place the pressure exactly where you need to when you go for the finishing mechanics.
The position itself is quite easy to hold for you and difficult for the bottom person to escape, meaning you can take your time finishing. For the finish, you’ll want to shift your body weight, aiming to get your head as near to their waist as possible, while putting your chest on their back. This creates the angle required for you to transfer your leg over the back of their head.
Once you have the leg there, your aim is to sit down, and use your free leg to trap your opponent. Ideally, you would throw it up and over their back, but if that fails you can just aim to catch their near side leg with it. The goal here is to stop them from rolling over.
This puts you in a prime finishing position. Using your arms to pull, and extending the leg that is behind their neck is going to put immense pressure on their neck.
The position of your grips means there’s an air choke. Your forearm and their shoulder provide the blood choke component. The leg on the back of their head gets you a chest compression and leaning back to pull gives you an angle to also do a neck crank.
Out of all the moves in Jiu Jitsu, and all the BJJ necktie variations, the Japanese necktie is by far my number one submission hold. It works off of a failed Darce choke and is one of the most brutal choke-crank-compressions I know of.
Imagine that you’re trying to get a Darce from side control, with the person in front of you facing towards you. As in the Peruvian Necktie, you can’t (or won’t) go for the full Darce finish, so you instead just get a palm to palm grip behind your opponent’s neck.
Finishing the choke requires you to grab one of your opponent’s legs. The top one works better, but it won’t matter too much if you get the bottom one. You just have to have one of their legs trapped before you engage the choke.
Once you have the leg, your goal is to fall behind their neck, laying sideways on your shoulder, with your chest glued to the back of their head. The grip stays the same at all times. Once you’re in position, triangling the legs provides you with even better torque and pressure.
For the finish, just pull towards yourself and start twisting so that you’re trying to expose the palm to palm grip towards the ceiling. This one is downright scary!
The German necktie is pretty similar to the Japanese, just done without falling. In fact, once you trap their leg with yours, you’ll aim to get your forehead on the ground behind the opponent’s neck.
Next, your goal is to get your free leg over their head, similar to the position of the leg in a Peruvian necktie. The finish is easy to get from that upside-down position, by pulling and twisting with your arms and pushing with that that is behind their neck.
As far as BJJ necktie variations go, this one is a nightmare to defend against. In fact, I am not sure if it is even possible to escape it when done properly. It works against an opponent that’s trying to lay flat on the ground, belly down, preventing you from tilting them to either side. Of course, the presumption is that you already have your grip set up for a Peruvian necktie.
Using the grip you have in place, put the shin of your leg that’s near their head against their neck. Now proceed to fall to the side angling your fall towards the opponent’s far shoulder. As you fall, throw your other leg over their low back. What you get is a Peruvian necktie on steroids as a result of the shin behind the head.
This one is a necktie choke variation done with the gi. You start from side control and aim to get your far side lapel free and across the opponent’s chest. It will force them to turn away from you, giving you a seatbelt-like control, with the lapel running underneath their armpit and your arm holding it over their opposite side shoulder.
You want to proceed by taking the back from this position, establishing your bottom hook. The top leg is going to go over their head, with your shin ending up to the side of their head. Pulling from there was going to get you one of the sickest chokes you’ll ever see.
The Mexican necktie starts off similar to a Peruvian necktie but ends up as a nasty crank/choke finish from the back. It is a fairly straightforward submission, starting off with the palm-to-palm grip from a front headlock, just like for a Peruvian.
Unlike with a Peruvian necktie though, the leg that goes over the back is the first one you set up for the Mexican necktie. Once you have it, you’re going to sit back, pull, and get the other leg as if you’re putting in hooks for back control. All you need to do from there is arch your back, pull with your arms, squeeze and twist.
A BJJ necktie variation by Lachlan Giles, the Australian necktie works similarly to the German necktie in terms of setting it up. It all starts as a Darce attempt from top side control, which you then turn into a German necktie as described above. The moment that is different is that when you transfer your leg behind their neck, you let go of the arm that’s over the head, and you grab your shin with the arm that’s underneath their armpit.
The next step is to roll forward, ending up in a much more comfortable position compared to the German necktie. For the finish, you’ll re-grip the palm to palm, this time including your leg in between the arms. Pull and twist with the arms, extend your leg and get an easy and brutal tap.
Another necktie variation that is a combination of elements we already saw in the German and Australian neckties.
From top side control, when you have a deep crossface grip, all you need to do if an opponent tries to turn towards you is throw your leg over their head, looking to grab your ankle with the crossfacing arm. Try to get your forehead to the ground and squeeze with the arm and leg for a fast finish.
This is one of the sneakiest BJJ necktie variations you will see. It involves having the back with a full seatbelt, to begin with. Setting it up requires you to have both palms underneath the neck, clasped in a palm to palm grip, or an S-grip.
Your legs need to go over both shoulders as well, ending up in a triangle position. Even though having both arms over the shoulders or both legs over the shoulders won’t do anything on their own, combining them in the Colombian necktie produces a very tight choke/crank.
Last but not least, here’s an interesting BJJ necktie variation coming to you from Hawaii. This one starts in the guard, or to be precise, in the rubber guard.
You start this attack by going for a Gogoplata, aiming to get your foot underneath your opponent’s neck. However, instead of trying for a Gogo or Locoplata finish, you now also put both your arms around your opponent’s head, turning an already nasty choke into what has to be one of the most horrible submission holds in all of grappling.
Whenever you can get a tap in BJJ go and get it. When it comes to attacking the neck, why limit yourself to just strangles and chokes, when you can also do chest compressions and neck cranks? In fact, why not use a necktie choke variation and do all four of them at once? After all, the options are as plentiful as they are international!
Ogi is a black belt that does Jiu Jitsu full time and is very passionate about anything grappling-related.
He is also the head coach of Enso Jiu Jitsu in Macedonia and an aspiring Globetrotter.