The North South Choke

This weeks YouTube instructional covers the North South Choke. On the surface, the north south choke looks simple enough. When you first see it, you think you simply wrap your arm around the neck from the north south position and squeeze, but the choke is far more technically nuanced than that. Its true that you must both wrap your arm around the neck and squeeze, but the details about what muscles you contract and how hard you squeeze will make all the difference between a successful choke and one that fails and leave your arms too exhausted to be effective. 

With almost all submissions, chokes especially and the north south choke in particular, the focus should not be on squeezing harder. You are not necessarily making the choke any tighter by squeezing harder and often a harder squeeze is counter productive. Focus instead on using your position and bodyweight along with the larger muscle groups of the body to finish.


For the north south choke, focus on eliminating the slack around your opponents neck first, next, focus on getting yourself as low and close to the floor with your ear pressed against your opponents shoulder on the opposite than the neck as you envision pulling your opponents head away from his body.


The squeeze is the final stage of the choke after you have positioned yourself correctly. Often, you will find that your position and bodyweight are enough to make your opponent tap, but understanding the proper amount of pressure to apply is vital to your progression in Jiu Jitsu.

For the north south choke, you do not want to rely on the bicep and forearm to do the work. The bicep is relatively weak compared to the larger and stronger muscles of the shoulders, chest, lats and abdominals. Focus on sinking your shoulder into the neck while you contract the muscles of your back, abs, and chest as you press your body into the neck.

How hard should you squeeze? The answer is painfully simple. As hard as is necessary. No more. No less. If you have positioned yourself correctly, you should only have to squeeze about as hard as you would if you were carrying a small dog under your arm. Your squeeze should not be so hard that you can’t keep the pressure for less than 60 seconds. If your opponent has not tapped after applying proper position, pressure and a steady controlled squeeze, it is time to move on to another position or submission. From the north south, you will almost always have a very easy Kimura available if they have successfully defended the north south choke.

Here is some more detailed video instruction from the Hellfish Mixed Martial Arts YouTube channel with some set ups to the choke as well as transitions to other submissions.