Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Attacks Of Kron Gracie: The Three Prong Approach

Win Or Lose, Kron Gracie Will Try To Finish You

Kron Gracie is the most famous and most popular black belt competitor to have never won a World Title at black belt.

It has been said that he has no style and no discernible guard. That he relies only on basics.

Though his style is not the most common of styles, it is as rich and complex as any of the other black belt competitor's out there. And being the son of Rickson Gracie, of course this adds to his mystique, that he must know secrets the rest of us do not. He's basically the son of a Jiu Jitsu god.

In studying film on Kron Gracie, there are patterns, and guards he plays, and favorite attacks. In the end he has used many different submissions to finish his opponents, usually they come in the form of armbar or choke. Often times he leads with the same few moves, and based on the reactions of his opponents, he will respond accordingly, to whatever is the quickest path to the finish. As opposed to the quickest path to points, to top position, to the back, to mount, to sweep, to your favorite guard, etc.

Why? Because he's probably also one of the most confident grapplers, whatever position he's in, he believes he'll be alright. The rest of us, outside of our comfort zones, panic sets in. So we scramble or play to bring the fight back to our key positions.

Instead of chaining typical moves, he likes to chain submission attempts and chains sweeps or takedowns based on the opponent's reactions to his submission flurries.

It would be impossible to explain his whole game, especially when it's always evolving but he does rely heavily on his 3 prong attack (similar to the triangle offense used by Phil Jackson and executed to perfection by Michael Jordan). It's like in chess, the masters use the same opening moves, after that is when chaos ensues.

Kron Gracie Top 3 Attacks

Kron's Open Guard

Kron likes to play a very loose open guard. He dangles his legs, baiting his opponents Nathan Mendelsohn to grab and pass, typically they'll use a toreando (bull fighter) pass.

He usually dangles his legs pretty low so they have to reach. Kron will then slightly sit up so that he can reach their collar. Instead of a sleeve control game, Kron prefers collar control and the only way for him to be able to grab the collar is for his opponent to bring their collar to him.

This looks very inviting because the pass looks like it's right there, and Kron wants you to pass. Depending on the direction of the pass, Kron will switch his grip on the collar.

Attack 1: Loop Choke

As his opponent charges in for the pass, he will pull their collar down and slap the back of their head into the loop choke.

As you can see in this picture, his opponent has passed, which is what Kron wanted. But passing only makes the choke worse.

From here Kron has two options, he can finish the choke from the position he's in (the loop choke works similarly to a D'arce choke, anaconda choke, or guillotine) or work his way to his feet to finish on top.

No Gi Variation

In no gi, instead of the loop choke, Kron will use the guillotine grip but the mechanics and set up are similar.

Attack 2: The Cross Collar Choke

Whenever you see a cross collar choke, you hear that it's basics or simple. I don't know how the cross collar choke has become the symbol of this, except maybe because it's the first choke we all learned.

Here Kron's opponent, MMA fighter and The Ultimate Fighter alumni and coach Cameron Diffley escapes the loop choke. This is where Kron counters with a cross collar choke.

Moving your head out of the loop choke creates a perfect angle for the cross collar choke. As he works the choke, Kron begins to climb his legs up his opponent's back for insurance if this move were to fail.

Attack 3: The Armbar

In the finals of the brown belt open weight division, Kron's opponent and one of the favorites of the tournament Chris Moriarty escaped the loop choke attempt and the cross collar choke attempt.

Kron really tries to finish each submission, this is also the only way to get the proper sense of urgency from his opponents to apply the next submission if he need be.

In trying to finish the cross collar choke, Kron's opponents will posture and push Kron away, in essence straightening their own arms. Kron had already been climbing his legs up their back and once he feels them pushing is when he climbs the legs up and over into an armbar. There isn't much of a struggle at this point because the arms are so straight, it's hard to clasp the hands and defend.


Kron Gracie's game is far from simple. And just like all the other great ones like Marcelo Garcia to Rubens Charles "Cobrinha" Maciel, he baits his opponents to react in the ways he wants.

Sometimes you roll with someone much better than you, and you feel like they know your every move, that they're five steps ahead of you, reading your mind. No they're not. They're forcing you to react in those ways. They're not guessing what you're going to do, they're manipulating your choices.

That's the sign of a master grappler, they turn their opponent into a puppet as they take the role of puppet master.

Other Breakdowns:

Crucial Moments: Ronda Rousey Vs Miesha Tate II
Breaking Down Roger Gracie's Guard
Chael Sonnen Vs Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: A Lesson In Patterns
BJJ To MMA: Sergio Moraes Breakdown UFC 163
The Art Of Baiting For BJJ

Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletter. You can also connect to Inner BJJ on Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Here are three subs by Kron at one event in 2008. Your analysis appears on point!



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