The Darce Choke: Technique and Famous Subs

Whether you practice mixed martial arts or are a UFC enthusiast, you’ve probably seen or heard about the Darce Choke. The Darce Choke is a standard move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but where did it come from? How did the action get its name? If you’re interested in learning the history of the Darce Choke, you’ve come to the right place.

What Is the Darce Choke?

The Darce choke is a relative of the Anaconda choke. To perform this signature move, lace your arm under your opponent’s arm that is nearest to you and lock it around their neck. Your hand should be resting on the shoulder on the far side of your opponent. Next, bring your free arm up and use it to press the ball of your hand into your opponent’s neck.

Depending on the positioning of your hand, you can either cut off your opponent’s airway or hit a cluster of nerves that sits just below the ear. Either way, a successful Darce choke can push your opponent to tap out.

How It Started: The History of the Darce Choke

The move that would later become the Darce choke was created in Germany in the early 90s. A Norwegian student named Bjorn Dag Lagerstrom is credited with creating the action after unsuccessful attempts at doing an Anaconda choke. Despite not being able to pull off the move as he had intended, Lagerstrom was still able to win his matches with this new chokehold.

In the early 2000s, a black belt fighter named Joe D’Arce used this technique to win several Grappler’s Quest tournaments. His success brought the chokehold into the mainstream, where it became a popular move in many mixed martial arts circles. Because he popularized the move, many people refer to this chokehold as the Darce choke, even though D’Arce is not credited with creating the move.

The Darce Choke: What Does It Mean?

The Darce or D’Arce Choke, as this move is most commonly referred to, is named after a black belt fighter called Joe D’Arce. D’Arce popularized the move in the early 2000s while competing in the Grappler’s Quest and Pancrase tournaments.

Despite the move being named after him, the Darce Choke was not invented by Joe D’Arce. In fact, a Norwegian Luta Livre fighter named Bjorn Dag Lagerstrom created the move. The Portuguese name for the move is “triangulo de braco invertido,” which translates to “inverted arm triangle.” This name refers to the maneuver involved in completing the move rather than the person who created it.

This choking maneuver is also referred to as the “No Gi Brabo” choke, which is a variation of the brabo choke. The Portuguese word “brabo” translates to “fierce” or “angry” in English. Both of these chokeholds are very powerful moves, so this terminology is fitting.

If you’re not sure of the difference between the Darce choke and the Brabo choke, here are two video demonstrations that do a great job illustrating the differences. Please note that in the Brabo choke demonstration, the instructor does say that he uses a slightly different technique than is typically used due to his build and personal preferences.

Darce Choke:

Brabo Choke:

The Anaconda Choke vs. The Darce Choke: What’s the Difference?

As we mentioned above, the Darce choke is close relative to the Anaconda choke. The Darce choke is a variation of the Anaconda choke, which can make deciphering the difference between the two moves confusing for beginners. The difference is pretty simple: it all relies on where you start and where you end.

In the Anaconda choke, your arm will go over the shoulder, across the chest, and under the opposite arm, where you will grip your opponent’s armpit.

In the Darce choke, your arm will go under your opponent’s arm and across the neck, where you will grip the bicep on the opposite side of your opponent’s body.

The Darce choke is an excellent move for when you are fighting someone with a broad chest, as it will be easier for you to latch around their neck than going across their chest to latch on to their armpit.

Famous Examples of The Darce Choke in Action

So now that we’ve talked about where the move came from, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane. Here are some of our favorite examples of the Darce choke in action:

Joe D’Arce vs. Jason Walls

We would be remiss if we didn’t include Joe D’Arce in our list. After all, he is the one who made the move as famous as it is today—plus the action was named after him. This fight with Jason Walls is just one of the many examples of battles where he used the now renowned move, and it never fails to impress. 

Kendall Grove vs. Alan Belcher

Kendall Grove was the first fighter to use the Darce choke in UFC history and thus secured the second spot on our list, under the chokehold’s namesake. In his epic 2007 fight with Alan Belcher, Grove managed to lock his opponent in a Darce choke so fierce that Belcher was rendered unconscious, thus forfeiting the match.

Tony Ferguson vs. Mike Rio

Tony Ferguson currently holds the world record for most UFC matches won from using the Darce choke with three matches. Again, this is just one example of Ferguson using the Darce choke of the many we could choose from, all of which are just as impressive.

These are just three of the many famous examples of the Darce choke in action in the world of mixed martial arts and competitive fighting. If you’re interested in seeing more examples, you can watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s compilation video of the Best Darce Chokes in UFC History:

This video includes both the Grove versus Belcher and Ferguson versus Rio fights, plus more fights that you may not have known used the Darce choke.

In Conclusion: The Darce Choke

As a popular move in the realm of mixed martial arts, the Darce choke is one that you’ve no doubt seen in action or had to learn in your Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes. Whether you’re a fighter or a martial arts enthusiast, you can always benefit from knowing more about the most popular and effective moves in the game. 

When it was first created by a freak accident in the early 90s, we’re sure Lagerstrom had no idea how prevalent the move would one day become or that there would be people that would be looking to master it to use in their martial arts career. Knowing the history of the move and its relation to other actions will give you a better understanding of how and when to use the move—and how to avoid it if used on you. 

Just like any other hobby or career you’re interested in, knowing the history and meaning of the different elements involved can make the experience more prosperous and more rewarding for you. 

Now that you’ve learned about the Darce Choke, check out my posts on the Ezekiel Choke and the Rear Naked Choke.

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