Jiu-Jitsu is limitless. There are always new ways to control your opponents, especially in the Gi where the Gi material is a great tool.
The cradle is a basic technique in amateur wrestling. Its name refers to the move’s similarity to the way a person holds an infant in their arms. The wrestler performs the cradle by grabbing the neck of his opponent with one arm, and wrapping the elbow of the other arm behind the knee of the opponent. The wrestler then locks both hands together. In that way, the cradled wrestler finds it very difficult to escape.
Cradles aren’t a BJJ move but once you know some BJJ and you start using cradles your mind will open like the Red Sea. 4x BJJ world champ and 3x ADCC Braulio Estima has developed his own system of using the cradle in the Gi. He gets them from everywhere and nowhere do the BJJ guys see it coming. He uses the opponent’s lapel to control their body and easily sets up the cradle from any position. Butterfly Guard, Weave Passing, Turtles, once you see them you will have a “Holy Sh*t” moment. This system is unlike any other and will become your goto move. Braulio has left many a BJJ world champ who made the mistake of coming to roll wondering how the hell he got twisted into a pretzel.
This is one of the most underrated technique in grappling as it is incredibly miserable and demoralizing. This technique is not seen often in sport jiu jitsu as it takes time to cook your opponent and let them run out of oxygen however do not underestimate the cradle!
If you are interested in learning more about cradle in grappling and Catch Wrestling, specifically as it pertains to competition grappling, you should check out Neil Melanson. If you haven’t heard of Neil Melanson you’ve probably heard of the various champions he’s coached (Blackzilians team and Extreme Couture)
Neil learned his skills from the Hayastan Grappling system, developed by Gokor Chivechyan and Gene LeBell. He is considered one of the foremost experts on Catch Wrestling. For more information about Neil’s impressive grappling style, pick up his DVD set in which he covers some of his coveted techniques.
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