In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), the crucifix is a dominant position that allows the practitioner to control their opponent’s arms and apply a variety of submission holds. The crucifix position is achieved by controlling one of the opponent’s arms and using one’s own legs to trap the other arm, effectively “crucifying” the opponent.
What is the Crucifix Position?
There are different variations of the crucifix position in BJJ, but the most common involves controlling one of the opponent’s arms with a Kimura grip, while using one’s legs to trap the opponent’s other arm. From this position, the BJJ practitioner can apply various submission holds, such as the armbar or a rear naked choke.
The crucifix position is considered a very strong and dominant position in BJJ, as the opponent is essentially immobilized and unable to defend themselves effectively. It is often used as a transitional position to move into other dominant positions or to secure a submission hold.
It’s important to note that while the crucifix position can be a powerful tool in BJJ, it should be practiced with caution and under the guidance of an experienced instructor, as there is a risk of injury to the opponent’s arms and shoulders if the position is applied incorrectly.
Brief History of the Crucifix in BJJ
The history of the crucifix position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is closely linked to the history of the art itself. BJJ was developed in Brazil in the early 20th century by the Gracie family, who were inspired by the teachings of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
The crucifix position has its roots in Judo, which is another Japanese martial art that heavily influenced BJJ. In Judo, the position is called “ude garami,” which translates to “entangled arm lock.” The ude garami position was used as a submission hold in Judo competitions, and it was later adapted and incorporated into BJJ.
In BJJ, the crucifix position is achieved by controlling one of the opponent’s arms and using one’s own legs to trap the other arm. From this position, the BJJ practitioner can apply various submission holds, such as the armbar or a rear naked choke.
Over time, BJJ practitioners have developed numerous techniques and variations of the crucifix position, making it a versatile and effective tool in their grappling arsenal. The crucifix has become a staple position in BJJ competition, with many high-level competitors using it to secure victories in tournaments and matches.
Today, the crucifix position is an important part of BJJ training and competition, with many instructors teaching their students how to use and defend against this position. While the crucifix is a powerful and effective position, it should always be used with caution and under the guidance of an experienced instructor, as there is a risk of injury to the opponent’s arms and shoulders if the position is applied incorrectly.
How to get into the Crucifix Position?
This dominant and powerful position allows the person to control their opponent’s movement and potentially submit them. There are a number of different ways to get into the BJJ crucifix position from the back and top side control.
Here are some basics steps to one crucifix setup:
- Start by taking your opponent’s back. This can be done from a variety of positions, such as when your opponent is in the turtle position on their knees or when they turn away from you.
- Once you have your seatbelt grip or in a good back control position, control one of their arms by wrapping it around your waist and holding onto their wrist with one of your hands.
- Next, use your free arm to underhook your opponent’s other arm, placing your forearm under their armpit.
- From here, transition to the crucifix position by stepping over your opponent’s head with the leg on the same side as the arm you have trapped. This will allow you to sit on your opponent’s upper back and isolate their trapped arm.
- Finally, use your underhooked arm to control your opponent’s head, and use your trapped arm to apply pressure to their trapped arm, potentially leading to a submission.
It’s important to note that the crucifix position can be difficult to set up and execute, and it requires a good deal of grappling skill and practice.
Submissions from the Crucifix Position?
The crucifix position is a highly effective position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other grappling arts for controlling and submitting your opponent. Here are some common submissions that can be performed from the crucifix position:
- Armbar/Armlocks: From the crucifix position, you can isolate your opponent’s arm and apply an armbar. To do this, control your opponent’s far arm with your near arm and wrap your inside or outside leg around their near arm. As with most armlock attacks, apply pressure by extending your hips and pulling on their arm.
- Kimura: Similar to the armbar, you can also apply a Kimura trap or lock from the crucifix position. Control your opponent’s far arm with your near arm and lock their near arm with your legs. Apply pressure by rotating their arm towards their back.
- Choke: Crucifix allows time to get under your opponent’s chin as well as several choke options from the crucifix position, including the arm triangle, collar choke, rear naked choke, and gogoplata. To apply the arm triangle, for example, control your opponent’s far arm with your near arm and slide your other arm underneath their near arm. Lock your hands together and apply pressure by squeezing your elbows together.
- Shoulder lock: From the crucifix position, you can also apply a shoulder lock or omoplata by controlling your opponent’s far arm with your near arm and using your other arm to apply pressure to their shoulder joint.
It’s important to note that while these various submissions are effective from the crucifix position, they should only be attempted with proper training and under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
What are ways to Defend the Crucifix?
There are several ways to defend against the crucifix position in grappling. This often depends on how your opponent is setting up the position.
Here are some simple crucifix defense reminders:
- Preventing the setup: One of the best ways to defend against the crucifix is to prevent your opponent from getting into the position in the first place. This means avoiding situations where your opponent can take your back or control your arms.
- Turtling up: If your opponent is starting to set up the crucifix, you can try to turtle up by getting into a compact position with your hands and arms protecting your head and neck. This can make it more difficult for your opponent to control your arms and transition into the crucifix.
- Escaping the back control: If your opponent has taken your back but has not yet secured the crucifix position, you can try to escape the back control by shrimping, rolling, or standing up. This can allow you to reset the position and avoid getting trapped in the crucifix.
- Defending the trapped arm: If your opponent has already secured the crucifix position and is applying pressure to your trapped arm, you can try to defend by keeping your elbow close to your body and creating space to relieve the pressure. You can also try to roll toward your trapped arm to alleviate the pressure.
- Defending the underhooked arm: If your opponent has an underhook on your other arm, you can try to defend by using your free hand to grab their wrist and prevent them from controlling your arm. You can also try to roll towards the underhooked arm to escape the position.
It’s important to note that defending against the crucifix can be challenging, and it’s always best to avoid getting into the position in the first place. These defenses mentioned are simple breakdowns and can require many technical steps. However, with practice and skill, it is possible to escape and defend against the crucifix position in many situations.
Who are the Best People at Crucifix in BJJ?
There are many skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioners who excel at the crucifix position, but here are a few well-known names:
- Baret Yoshida: Baret is highly skilled at the crucifix position and has developed a number of submissions and attacks from this position, attacking necks and limbs and various ways.
- Marcelo Garcia: A world-renowned BJJ competitor who is known for his fluid and dynamic grappling style. Marcelo is especially known for his use of the crucifix position and the numerous submission holds and different attacks from that position.
- Demian Maia: A former UFC fighter and multiple-time BJJ world champion who is known for his exceptional ground skills. Demian is highly skilled in the crucifix position and has used it successfully in both BJJ competitions and MMA fights.
- Eddie Cummings: A highly skilled BJJ practitioner and former member of the Danaher Death Squad, Eddie is known for his innovative grappling style and his use of the leg entanglement positions. Eddie is also highly skilled in the crucifix position and has used it to win several high-level BJJ competitions.
- Marcelo Cohen: A highly respected BJJ black belt and instructor, Marcelo is known for his technical precision and his ability to break down complex techniques. Marcelo is a specialist in the crucifix position and has developed several innovative techniques from that position.
Again, it’s important to note that what works well for one practitioner may not work as well for another, and there are many skilled BJJ practitioners who are excellent at the crucifix position but may not be as well-known.
The Crucifix Master: Baret Yoshida
Yes, Baret Yoshida is a highly skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner and instructor who is known for his use of the crucifix position. Baret has been practicing BJJ since the early 1990s and has competed at the highest levels of the sport, winning numerous titles and accolades.
Baret is especially known for his use of the crucifix position and has developed several innovative techniques from that position. He is known for his technical precision and his ability to transition smoothly between positions, making him a formidable opponent on the mats.
In addition to his competition success, Baret is also a highly respected BJJ instructor, with a reputation for being a patient and insightful teacher. He has trained many top-level competitors and is considered one of the foremost authorities on the crucifix position in BJJ.
Why You Should Learn the Crucifix Position?
The crucifix position is an advanced grappling position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other grappling arts that is highly effective for controlling and attacking your opponent. Learning the crucifix position can offer several benefits, including:
- Control: When you are in the crucifix position, you have a high degree of control over your opponent’s upper body, making it difficult for them to escape or defend themselves.
- Submission opportunities: From the crucifix position, you can attack your opponent with a variety of submissions, including chokes, arm locks, and shoulder locks.
- Strategic advantage: The crucifix position can be used to tire out your opponent, restrict their movements, and create opportunities for other attacks.
- Versatility: The crucifix position can be used in both gi and no-gi grappling, making it a versatile technique that can be used in a variety of settings.
Overall, learning the crucifix position can greatly enhance your grappling skills and offer a powerful tool for controlling and submitting your opponents. However, it is important to note that the crucifix position is an advanced technique that requires a great deal of practice and proficiency in grappling fundamentals along with proper instruction.