Roger Gracie is a black belt under Renzo Gracie and possibly the greatest bjj competitor ever with 14x World Champion titles (12 of those titles in the black belt division). Roger is known to utilize mostly a “basic” centred game as opposed to the advanced sports positions of berimbolo and complex sweeps of many competitors.
Roger Gracie is perhaps most famous for his mount and finishing opponents with the most basic cross collar choke from the top. It is a technique that a beginner might learn in a Fundamentals class, yet Roger submits world class level black belts in competition using that same basic choke.
How does he do it?
Here are 3 Tips from Roger Gracie to improve your mount and get the submission:
1) Stabilize the position first!
All too often, when bjj fighters achieve the mount they try for the submission too quickly – before they have solidified their mount position. The opponent immediately bridges and reverses the mount and their efforts have been lost.
Roger recommends using some patience and first securing and stabilize the position.
In an interview with Gracie Mag Roger explains this philosophy: “The students wanted to know what is his secret to have such a strong choke from the mount. He explained. “Once I get to the mount, my first goal is to stay there and then attack.
After I get the first hand in the opponent’s collar, that’s when I get the most vulnerable for the bump.
So, what I do? I use my other arm to defend the bump and then I use the top of my head.
That’s when I put the second hand in. If the opponent is defending well the collar, I go around his head and put only my thumb inside his collar before I go for the choke.”
source: Gracie Mag
2) Attack the neck and understand the details that make the choke effective
Roger uses his leverage advantage and weight to apply big pressure to his opponent from the mount.
Starting with the hand in the collar grip, Roger puts the opponent on the defense immediately. In this video Roger explains an important gripping detail that makes his choke tighter:
Roger Gracie, Cross Collar Choke
3) Attack in combination: choke and arm bar
Black belts have a deep knowledge of the counters to every submission so submitting a top level black belt is no easy task! Roger’s “basic” techniques are so difficult to stop because he attacks in combination.
Which attack does the opponent defend?
The choke or the armlock?
The opponent on the bottom fatigues due to the pressure from the top and creates and opening for an arm lock when they defend the choke. If they do not defend the choke, the tap is soon to follow.
In this video Roger demonstrates how to create your combination attack.
Roger Gracie, Armbar From Cross Collar Setup
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam