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The search for the elusive triangle

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Tony Manifold, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. Tony Manifold

    Tony Manifold Brown Belt

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    Or learning BJJ to suit your body.


    So I have been on a quest lately to finally figure out the triangle. I have been submission grappling (in one form or another) for a long time. One technique which I have never been able to really pull off is a the triangle from guard. I can do an inverted one from top side (ala Aesopian's side control video) but I can barely even pull off triangle from guard when drilling them.

    I know that my body type makes them difficult for me. I am 5'8 with thick legs and a 29" inseam (to put that in perspective, my shirt sleeve is 29 1/2 "). But I have always thought I must be missing something, some technical detail that is missing that will allow me to make them work. I have looked at as many sources online as I can find, I have Ryan Hall's Triangle DVDs, Maia triangle DVD, I have tried to do it like my instructor, nothing has worked.

    So last night, before we got started, My coach asked us if we had anything we wanted to work on, as he put it anything we sucked at :). I asked him about triangles. Our conversation went something like this.

    Me: I suck at triangels
    Coach: because you have the legs of a 4'7" person
    me: pretty much.
    Coach: Don't do triangles.
    me: Is it really as simple as that?
    Coach: Yeah, some people just aren't built to do triangles especially in you weight class with guys being so big (I am about 190ish).

    Then he started to address the class..
    Coach: This is a great question because you need to start to develop a game that works for you. I am right on the cusp of being able to do triangles at my weight because guys are big in the shoulders and it can be too hard to lock it in. You won't see Marcelo doing a lot of triangle because it doesn't fit his body type. (to me agains) Spider guard would be bad for you too for the same reason. Build a game that suits your body rather than trying to fit it into some mold. Some guys just won't be very good at triangles.


    This is sort of like the conversation we have on the forums every time RG gets brought up. You need to very flexible to make it work so if you are not, then use something else. It can be the same thing for more fundamental things like triangles. I will still drill them in class, because I feel that I should know how to do them even if they don't work for me. That is the knowledge side, in case I ever end up teaching BJJ. But it was a great thing to hear my coach tell me something I had been feeling for awhile, that triangles just aren't for me.
     
  2. Mr Randy Watson

    Mr Randy Watson Green Belt

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    I too have a lot of trouble with the triangle. I think it's just one of those techniques that you need the right body type to pull off. I tend to be able to lock it up, but no matter how hard I squeeze and pull the head I can rarely finish it. I really want to try out the Ryan Hall version of getting perpendicular and using the "squat" leg muscles to push/crunch the neck as opposed to using the traditional triangle. There is a good triangle thread on here someplace that has a video of it.
    Sorry if this makes no sense, I am DRUNK right now.
    I wish my gym was open at 1 am, I want to roll right now!
     
  3. HardEight

    HardEight Blue Belt

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    I have trouble getting the lock on too. I am similar to your build. ~5'-7" 170 but my thighs are pretty muscular from soccer and weightlifting all though college and highschool. I can get them on skinny guys but if they are big, forget it. I can however manage to pull off teepee triangles on bigger guys. Might want to give that a shot.
     
  4. newerest

    newerest Purple Belt

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  5. Zankou

    Zankou Muscle and Hate Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I have 30" inseam (despite being 6'1", super-long torso), so only 1/2 inch more than yours, and yet hit triangles more than any other submission. You can absolutely do it, and have an advantage in fact, but you need to do it differently than the classic triangle.

    Mike Fowler has a whole dvd set on "Triangles for the Average Joe" that explains how to hit them if you don't have skinny long legs. It's just a somewhat different process, and you have to get used to viewing the triangle as a dominating closed guard position rather than an instant-on submission (the way guys with long legs can use it).

    The basic point is that you are unlikely to submit bigger guys with the choke unless you rotate perpendicular. So you need to get good at ways of rotating. But that's actually a side-issue. The more important practical thing is to know what to do when you can't rotate (usually because your opponent is trying to keep you in front of them). Because they are trying to keep you from rotating for the finish, they are stuck. This is a great situation for you. They are stuck in a crushing vice grip. It's exhausting for them, and they are highly exposed -- both arms. So I usually just enjoy squeezing (by extending the legs, a key point, rather than pulling him in and down on yourself, as many do) and attacking the arms with armbars, kimuras, shoulder locks, wrist locks, all the while rotating and tightening at every opportunity. Like a boa constrictor. It may take a couple minutes to finish, but so what? Relax and enjoy this epic closed guard position, because your opponent surely won't.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  6. -kc-

    -kc- Orange Belt

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    I have been grappling (MMA) for 4 years and I learned triangle with ease. Now it is my "signature move":icon_chee...thing that helps me the most is that I am 6'3" (220lbs) and i have long legs.
     
  7. RacerX

    RacerX Orange Belt

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    I always thought the traditional triangle where you are almost perpendicular and you pinch your knees together worked reasonably well. This is demonstrated by Keith Nakasone on Mike Swain's Complete Judo, which you can probably find a clip of. If you pinch your knees, you don't lose the lock of your foot and the back of the other knee and you can clearly see the triangle close.
     
  8. Wrestleben

    Wrestleben Brown Belt

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    Here is the Ryan Hall clip explaining his reasoning for the angle.

     
  9. Vector_X

    Vector_X Brown Belt

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    Your coach is right. Certain people are better suited for certain submissions than others. I'd say the real key is when you get the one leg behind someones back really push down so it is harder for them to posture and go for head. Next, make sure you turn to the side so you aren't straight on and then pull the arm across. I'm a huge fan of transitioning to the armbar from the triangle, but hey if the triangle is working that'll work as well.
     
  10. newerest

    newerest Purple Belt

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    Marcello still triangle chokes people in practice all the time. He just doesn't risk losing the position. When you have short legs you cannot always fully lock up the triangle. Does it still choke? Yes, but they have a small window to get out.
     
  11. spelingmastir

    spelingmastir White Belt

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    Having longer legs helps with being able to lock them around the opponent when you don't have proper positioning. This allows them more slop. With shorter limbs, you have to be more precise. The amount of space you need to finish a triangle is very small and even someone with short legs should be able to finish many larger opponents. I'm about your size and have triangled many much bigger guys. Think of a rope that wraps diagonally around one side of the neck and under the opposite armpit. That's not a big rope, even with a big muscular guy. I would say that my legs are thicker as well(fan of KFC and ribs). You have to make sure that your calf is around the back of the neck and not the shoulder.

    Many people like to say they can't do this or that because they are smaller and/or weaker. If you were an eight foot tower of muscle, you wouldn't need martial arts. The point is to learn proper technique. Work on drilling it with gradually increasing resistance and listen to feedback. Keep working and you'll get it!
     
  12. An end for

    An end for Purple Belt

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    The triangle is the one move I can't do. I have short, fat legs, and even though I'm flexible, I just can't do the regular triangle outside of a drill with very little resistance and with an herculean effort. I'll try some of the things from this thread, especially because the triangle is so obvious to pull off in many situations for me, but I just can't do it.
     
  13. RacerX

    RacerX Orange Belt

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  14. pcgrob

    pcgrob White Belt

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    I am by no means a triangle expert, but I understand where you are coming from as I am 5'11" at 198 lbs. with very thick legs. Pulling a triangle on guys my size or larger (often the case in my gym) can prove difficult. Here's a video of a roll I had this morning where I finished with a triangle. My opponent Ed, is about the same height but at around 230 lbs. with a broad upper torso. Getting my legs locked around his head/arm for triangle is no easy task, and as you can see I had to work my way through several small steps to tighten up the lock and get his arm across to effect the choke. Like others mentioned, getting that angle is key, but sometimes an opponent will be effective at defending against that movement.

    YouTube - Match of the day #2 Ed v. Robert
     
  15. Shemhazai

    Shemhazai Black Belt

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    Sure, but the leg press method is WAY stronger. And in the odd event that your opponent doesn't get choked, your legs won't be half as burnt-out.
     
  16. crochuck

    crochuck Banned Banned

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    I have a similar build to you and have a very hard time getting into the triangle position because most people can posture up and my legs aren't long enough to reach around them, however I find that when I do get someone in a triangle it ends pretty quick because my legs are so think. I can make it much tighter than the skinny long guys with much less effort because of how think my legs are.

    This is a side note but I actually had a pretty funny experience the other day in class because of my thick legs. We were learning a pass from half guard where you pass the tail of the guys Gi between his legs and my training partner couldn't get the Gi to pass through to save his life, not because i was squeezing, but because my legs are so tight around his just from locking my ankle in my knee. Then he calls over a purple belt to see if they could help. They couldn't do it and said I was just being an ass and squeezing the whole time. Then they call another purple belt he says the same thing. Then we call over our instructor and he says the same thing. I tell him I'm not squeezing at all and eventually he is just like well don't do that pass on him lol.
     
  17. FWTG

    FWTG Blue Belt

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    Looked like he tapped out of exhaustion. The triangle wasn't even close to locked there. You should have made a beeline to his head to pull posture down and spin to your right...even underhooking his leg or orm to assist while holding him down by grabbing your own shin. Also when hes stacking like in that video either walk your shoulders back (like in the Renzo video) or shoot your hips up and backward roll into mount.
     
  18. newerest

    newerest Purple Belt

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  19. elbigsam

    elbigsam Blue Belt

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    Its hard to finish triangles against big guys. More size, more strength. As others have said, if you can lock it up it will be deadly tight. When triangling big guys I pay special attention to posture control, before I close the triangle I pull down on my shin the entire time to ensure broken posture and prevent the "shrug" pass
     
  20. elbigsam

    elbigsam Blue Belt

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    I'm also enormous tho.
     

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