Rickson Gracie’s Closed Guard Cross Collar Choke Secrets Shared by Henry Akins

Rickson Gracie’s Closed Guard Cross Collar Choke Secrets Shared by Henry Akins

Let’s remind ourselves of the most important thing you need to do when you have someone in your closed guard: attack at all times.

Many jiujiteiros make a mistake of holding a closed guard for a longer period of time without doing anything. And, while simply holding your opponent in it and waiting for the right moment is sometimes a good thing to do, it is never a good approach to use the closed guard as a position of rest for yourself.
Remember: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art, and in its essence lies the possibility of dominating and submitting your opponents through applying beautiful techniques, with a wide variety of colors to them. So you need to move towards that essence whenever you can – strive to be an offensive practitioner, not a defensive one. Never let your opponent rest. Make them uncomfortable and have them to always be on a lookout for what is coming next.


Chokes from closed guard (performed in the Gi) work well because you have control over much of your opponent’s general movement; you are keeping him at a fixed distance and manipulating his posture, all the while applying the choking pressure to his carotid arteries with your hands.

General Choke Guidelines
–>You’ll have to break their guard and keep it broken down to perform these chokes.
–>Make sure that your knuckles or forearms, as well as the lapel (depending on the specifics of the actual choke) are pressing against their carotid arteries – that you’re not just „crushing“ their throat, which will rarely lead to submitting them.
–>If you need to use strength a lot, then you’re not doing it right. Again, remember to position your arms properly, against their arteries; it should not take a lot of strength to tap your opponent if positioning is correct.
–>As a general rule, when in doubt – reach deeper into your opponent’s collar.
–>Pinch your elbows to your chest and don’t let them flare out when you are finishing a choke. This will make it tighter.
–>Be wary that you can take advantage of your opponent’s attempts to get his neck free from the choke; he will use his arms to do so. When he does that, you’ll have options to transition to an armbar.

Rickson was know for his cross choke from inside the guard and also mounted. In tournaments once Rickson got one grip in the crowd would start chanting down from 10 and his opponent always tapped before the count ended… Rickson’s black belt, Henry Akins shows the secrets he learned from Rickson to make an effective closed guard cross collar coke.

Learn from the most successful closed guard player ever with Roger Gracie’s closed guard system, totally explained in this 4-part series

  • Lock on airtight submissions that work at elite levels, including cross chokes, lapel chokes, arm locks, and more.
  • Roger Gracie is one of the most dominant grapplers in history, with 10 Black Belt World Championships and 2-Time ADCC Champion – and he did it with old school Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.