First off, if you don't know what I'm talking about, then right off the bat (pun intended) you lose grappling points with us. But, we know it gets busy in your household with all the chores your mom makes you do, so we'll cut you some slack. This past weekend, at the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials in San Diego, a yet unknown and relatively recent GB black belt named Magid Hage IV choked out several opponents, including Zak Maxwell and Clark Gracie (who Hage actually choked unconscious) using a trusty old choke commonly referred to as the "baseball choke." Hage went on to take gold in his Under 183 lb division. Check it:
"How can I learn this magical choke, DSTRYR?", you may be asking. "Will it give me the ability to rule my dojo with an iron fist?" Answers: We'll show you some good instruction on the finer points here. But, no, it sadly will not change your life as a grappler. This choke is tricky and sweet, but our assessment is that it would be difficult to make this your bread n' butter, day in day out move. But, maybe Magid would disagree.
The Ins & Outs of the Baseball Choke.
Long before Magid was choking fools out this way (and probably when he was still in middle school), a guy I know well named Dion Watts was known for it. Dion is a JJM black belt of many years and owner of Watts MMA in Simi Valley, CA. Dion has long been known in the So Cal grappling scene as "the guy who does that one choke really, really good." And, it's true. He's basically to this choke what Eddie Bravo was to the Twister. No, he didn't invent it, but he sure gave it life and made a name for himself with it.
Here are a few vids of Dion blasting folks with this choke way back in the day (the video quality is proof of that) before the choke even had a name:
I figured it's a no brainer to use Dion's videos which illustrate the choke in great detail from multiple positions, since he really is the man, when it comes to hitting a home run with this bad boy:
From the Knees.
From the Guard Pass.
As you can see, grapplers, Dion loves this choke and probably has dreams about the various ways he can get it on unsuspecting opponents. And, that's awesome because we all get to learn from it. Oh, and, yes, he calls it the "Watts Choke," and that's all good with us. Maybe people will start calling it the Hage Choke from now on.
My assessment that this choke might not be a great bread n' butter choke is not meant to disparage the choke or the grapplers who continue to develop it. I just think it's less likely to be "gettable" on a guy you've already caught with it or against anyone who has been warned in advance that you like to do it. It's a sneak attack and, clearly and especially in light of Hage's spectacular victories, is 100% legit and deadly.
Now, go choke each other (but, please, not unconscious).