The Dominance is in the Details
Today, we’re revisiting the choke with a different purpose in mind. We’ll focus on the details of how to get it locked in faster and tighter, so that your opponent’s tap comes that much sooner.
The Darce, D’Arce, Brabo, and Anaconda
First, semantics. The Darce is a choke of many names. Darce, D’Arce, and Brabo all refer to the same move; the anaconda choke, which looks similar, is a cousin of that move. (Our overview of the anaconda is here).
As I understand it, the difference in nomenclature is something like this: “Brabo” is the Brazilians’ name for the move, and “Darce” comes from “D’Arce” (pronounced Dee-Arsee), which, in turn, comes from Joe D’Arce, a BJJ black belt who used the move particularly effectively.
For instruction’s sake, we’ll say that you and your opponent are oriented the way Coach Tim and Jake are in our original Darce video (below). You’ll start in top side control, with your right knee at your opponent’s right hip. When he turns up towards you, your right arm will be your choking arm. As usual, reverse these instructions to work the other side.
Pointers for Sinking Your Choking Arm
As always, initial snugness is the key to making this choke work. Accordingly, here are a couple of tips for getting your choking arm tight to your opponent’s neck. These are especially important because the looser your initial grip is, the more likely it is that your submission will come via neck crank rather than choke, and nobody enjoys that.
- Make sure your opponent’s underhook is gone. You’ll want to apply enough downward pressure that your opponent can’t hold on, anyway, but to make things easier, try kicking your legs straight out behind you, then pulling them back in to your opponent’s body. That should break his grip.
- Drop your right shoulder much lower than you think you need to. In fact, you can dip your right hip to the mat, too. By dipping that right shoulder as low as you can, you get valuable extra inches of your choking hand.
- Use your left hand to ratchet your right arm through. When you first punch your right arm through, you’ll grab it in a gable grip (see right) with your left hand. Ultimately, you’ll want to sneak your right hand to your left bicep, but before that, you can pull your right hand out farther with your left hand, using your left forearm as a lever with your unfortunate opponent’s neck as the fulcrum. Your grip is strong enough that you can afford to do this a few times.
- Row your left elbow back, forcing your opponent’s head down. This is a point that Coach Tim illustrates in the video. Used in tandem with these other tips, this should really get your right hand far past your opponent’s neck.
Pointers for Finishing the Choke
- If you’re feeling nasty, make your Darce a neck crank. I don’t typically recommend this, because neck cranks are awful. Still, if you’re in competition, you’ve got your Darce, and your opponent won’t tap, the neck crank is an option. What you’ll do is just lean to your left side, putting your weight onto your opponent’s left ear. That’ll fold his neck horribly over your right arm.
- Especially if he gets to his knees, make it a “Brabo-tine.” This works even if your opponent doesn’t try to get up to his knees, but it’s even better if he does. You’ll finish the way we finished the guillotine: by curling your left knee in towards your opponent’s waist and throwing your right leg over his back.