I remember the first time I felt the sneaky force of the Baseball Choke: a very innocuous name for such a devastating submission. I hadn’t actually even heard of it until a few seconds after it rendered me unconscious.

If you’ll indulge me for a moment, my inner monologue went something like this:

“All right, I’m in his guard. Everything is cool. Oh man, his knee is already on the mat. Such an easy guard pass! What a great day!

Why is his forearm by my neck? *Loud Gurgle.* zzzzzzzz……”

When I woke up a second later, my rolling partner asked me if I was OK. I was too excited to say yes right away.

“What the hell was that?”

Baseball Choke.”

It immediately became my favorite technique.

If you’re new to BJJ and you haven’t learned the choke yet, YouTube is full of videos that will give you a primer on what it is (your instructor can show you how to do it properly). Most of the videos will mention how quickly it comes on and how easy it is to apply. They’re not kidding.

Though I got caught the first time with a baseball choke off of a baited guard pass, there are a lot of positions you can finish the technique from. I like the knee-on-belly variation the best. It gives me a reason to work that position a bit more (other than just to pressure someone’s guts).

Sometimes, it seems like the person on bottom is so focused on not giving up the mount that they don’t notice my hand creeping behind their head. Other times, they DO notice and quickly scramble to defend—only to leave a meal of an armbar that even a grappling noob like me can snatch up. Other times, they’re too good and you get swept. Such a heartbreaker.

As a Cubs fan, it’s nice to hear the words “Baseball” and “Choke” in the same sentence without referring to a premature exit from the playoffs (or, more accurately in the past few years, the season all but ending by June). I might never see a World Series win in my lifetime, but that’s out of my hands. This submission, when I’m fortunate enough to get it, is very much the opposite. Play ball!