The brabo is a choking technique utilized in grappling related sports/martial arts whose creation is attributed to ‘Leozinho’ Vieira in the early 2000’s decade. The choke relies on trapping the opponent’s arm with the attacker’s chest while applying pressure with both the trapped arm and a grip on the opponent’s far collar/own lapel, this way effectively stopping the blood circulation from reaching the brain causing loss of consciousness. The gi brabo choke was developed for the Jiu Jitsu guard passer (fighter on top position) being applied either from side control or half guard, but has evolved since it’s creation and is currently seen being performed also from the guard, particularly the closed guard. This choke is not to be confused with the no-gi brabo choke, also called darce, which is a variation of the arm triangle.
The History of the Gi Brabo Choke
Grappling is an ancient form of combat, with different styles and masters throughout the few millennium that have come and gone since the time it first became an established fighting style. It is impossible to tell if other martial arts were already making use of this brabo grip to achieve a choke before it was seen being used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions in the very early 2000’s, although in our research we could not find it being referenced anywhere.
The brabo choke became popular in Jiu Jitsu by way of Leonardo Vieira, founder of the Checkmat academy (who competed with the Alliance team at the time). Vieira first saw one of his students, a white belt, get into a similar position by instinct. According to an interview given to Carl Fisher on November 2004 to the Channel Islands Jiu Jitsu team website (now extinct) Leozinho said:
I always look to develop stuff and observe the white belts training, I saw a white belt once using something like that, and I thought ‘man, this could happen’. Then I started working on this position – Leo Vieira
The position became a tremendous success, and Leo Vieira started putting it to practice in tournaments at the start of 2000. His dynamic style with a strong emphasis on knee slide guard passing and knee on belly from side control fitted tremendously well with the brabo choke which he used to submit all his opponents at the 2004 Pan American Championship (except for Fredson Alves in the final) and everyone at the World Cup of 2004, except Jair Lourenco who he choked from the back (although the back was taken as a consequence of a brabo choke attempt).
The success of Leo Vieira caught the eye of many other competitors who soon adapted this new choke to their game. The brabo is also used as a way to set up for the cross choke, guard passes and back takes, this versatility has made it one of the most sought out positions for guard passers around the globe in BJJ competitions.
In Portuguese, brabo means a variety of things such as angry, aggressive or tough. At the time when Leo Vieira started doing the position, he’s email was “leobrabo@…” for that reason, and because it fit well with the actual meaning of the word ‘brabo’, Kit Pelligro (a good friend of Vieira) started calling the position ‘brabo choke’.
- Leonardo Vieira
- Rafael Mendes
- Guilherme Mendes
- Andre Galvao
- Otavio Sousa
- Lucas Lepri
- Mario Reis
- Rodolfo Vieira
Brabo Choke from Side Control
Brabo Choke from Half Guard
Brabo Choke, one handed
Rafael Mendes vs Andre Monteiro
Leonardo Vieira vs Yuki Nakai
Andre Galvao vs Makoto Ikuta