Brabo Choke (BJJ): How-To, Tips, History, & More

Tsavo NealLearning BJJLeave a Comment

brabo choke bjj submission by leo viera

What is the brabo choke, and how do make it a part of your gi top game? 

The brabo is a D-tier submission: there are often better options from side control.

However, if you practice it, it can become a powerful move and control position that your training partners won’t expect. You can also use it to set up passes and other submissions.

In this article, I’ll break down…

You’ll understand how to improve your brabo choke or add it to your game.

How To Do The Brabo Choke

The brabo choke is a submission applied from side control (top). It’s performed using your opponent’s lapel, making it a gi choke.

Here are the steps to doing the brabo:

  1. From top side control, lift your opponent’s far-side shoulder off the mat.
  2. Use your shoulder to apply pressure to your opponent’s face, turn their head away, and push their far side shoulder back on the mat.
  3. Free your opponent’s gi lapel and pass it to your other hand underneath their shoulder, gripping it behind their head.
  4. Advance to knee on belly while you keep their lapel stapled to the ground.
  5. Release your far-side grip on the lapel and replace the grip closest to you. Aim to get a very deep grip. (From this position, you can do a cross-collar choke or baseball bat choke)
  6. Pull their far side arm so their body is facing you. Drop your am on their tricep.
  7. Using their sleeve, ensure their arm is resting on their neck.
  8. Drive your chest onto your opponent’s arm  (which applies pressure to their neck) to get the tap.

Here’s my favorite video to explain how to do the brabo choke:

Here is some footage of Leo Viera hitting the brabo choke in competition:

Brabo Choke Tips

Here are some principles, best practices, and tips for using the brabo choke in your rolls. 

  • If you can’t use it to get the tap, use it to advance to a better position.
  • You can use the brabo grip from top half-guard, and use it to pass to side control.
  • When you’re attempting to finish the submission, lift your choking arm up. This enables you to drop your shoulder down, applying more pressure on your opponent’s neck.
  • To avoid a neck crank submission, compress your elbows together and drop your chest into the choke instead of pulling and squeezing.
  • You can also use the brabo choke from closed guard (bottom) either as a submission or a position to control your opponent (and use it to set up other attacks, such as the cross collar choke from closed guard).
  • Leo Viera, who’s known for his brabo choke, shares his insights in his BJJFanatics instructional: The Secrets Of The Brabo Choke

History Of The Brabo Choke

“Brabo” is Portugeuse for “angry.”

The Brabo choke is the “brother” of the D’arce choke.

Unfortunately, it’s constantly changing names, making it difficult to categorize. Generally, “brabo” refers to a gi-specific grip and choke.

It’s different from the D’arce choke because it involves the use of the lapel and gi. However, the mechanics of the submission are quite similar — it is an “arm triangle” type of choke.

Matt Kirkly dug up the history of the name, which comes from an interview with Leo Vieira:

Q: In the current edition of Grappling, Jacare is in demonstrating the Brabo choke and he mentioned that you used the choke a lot.

A: Yes, I used it a lot, but I don’t know why they say I created it, as I always look to develop something and look at the white belts training and I saw a white belt use it something like that, and then I think ‘man, this can happen’ and then I worked on this position and everyone started to call it the Brabo choke; Kid Peligro put the name to it, he loves to put names for position (laughs).

Q: Does the name mean anything, Brabo?

A: It’s when something is aggressive and my old email used to be Leobrabo, then when I showed it to Kid, came up with the name Brabo and it kind of stuck.

Riccardo Baleia also shared his findings about the brabo choke on r/BJJ:

I get into this debate with “Lil Tony” from time to time. There are 3 people who are actually accredited with popularizing this position. Joe D’Arce who learned it from John Danaher. He did it mostly No Gi. Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro. He actually put Bruno to sleep with it. Video HERE: and than of course Leo Vieira. The history, from what I recall goes like this. D’Arce made the “Brabo” popular, pulling it off mostly NO Gi in events like Grapplers Quest around the year 2000. In 2001, Shaolin used the move on Bruno Fernandes but I dont think anyone understood what it was. It wasn’t until Leo Vieira did it twice in one tournament (Another video coming soon 😉 ) that the technique really became known. Kid Peligro reviewed the tournament and nicknamed the technique the “Brabo” which was also Leos nick name for the time.

Takeaway Thoughts

There you have it: your step-by-step guide to hitting the brabo choke when you roll.

What do you like or dislike about the brabo choke? Do you have any brabo principles or tips I should add to this article?

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Happy rolling. 🤙

tsavo neal

Tsavo Neal

Tsavo is the founder of BJJ Equipment and BJJ blue belt who started training in 2019. He’s a passionate hobbyist and BJJ gear/equipment aficionado who wanted to share his favorite pickups with other jiujiteiros. He launched BJJ Equipment in 2022 to make it easy for jiu-jitsu practitioners to find the best BJJ gear so they look, feel, and perform at their best on the mats.

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