The Clock Choke | Analysis and Video |
A deadly, yet generally uncommon submission in jiu jitsu, the clock choke is a brutal move that is designed to capitalize on an opponent’s lazy turtle guard. It’s a cool choke to watch, too. Seriously, when a high-level black belt hits it, it looks almost as beautiful as ballet. If you’re not into ballet, then it’s as beautiful as watching Clark Gracie lock up an omoplata (don’t get the reference? No worries, click here). In all seriousness, however, the submission really is fantastic and ends a fight fairly fast when done properly. In fact, well-known black belt submission specialist Mario Sperry took a moment to comment on the choke in an interview with GRACIEMAG:
“I’ve always liked the clock because it’s such a strong position that it can be applied in different ways. Also because it’s a match-defining move, once it’s been sunk, it’s very hard for the opponent to escape. I’ve always known how to pass guard and whenever I would go for it I would do it with the intention of making the opponent commit a mistake like going to all fours or letting me take their collar. Of course, when you try to sink the classic clock – the one where you put one hand under the opponent’s chin and wrap the other around his back in order to grip the other collar – you need to be alert and prevent the opponent from holding your outer arm and rolling over as he tries to gain side-control. The clock can be considered a blue-belt move – at least that’s when I began to use it a lot.”
Sperry is spot-on when saying the choke is very hard for the opponent to escape. Not only is it difficult to escape, it’s also a submission that can be applied on various positions, making it extremely versatile and also a necessity to anyone who’s serious about competing in the jiu jitsu world. The choke’s set-up is also fantastic because it’s done from the turtle position, which is almost as great as having your opponent’s back completely. That being said, if you start to set-up the choke and accidentally screw it up, there’s a high percentage chance that you’ll still be in a semi-dominant position to work from.
Here’s a basic clock choke set-up from Jon Foster:
Now for the reason why I said this choke can be as beautiful as watching ballet. This variation tutorial from Renato Tavares is absolutely awesome:
I highly encourage everyone (including white belts) to at least give this choke a try, and I encourage every colored belt to try the variation. I was at a seminar taught by Saulo Ribeiro where he showed a similar variation, and after trying it and having it done to myself, I can say that it’s easily the tightest gi choke I’ve ever been in.