Submissions for Suckas: D’Arce Choke with Demo from Joe D’Arce

D'Arce Choke
Tony Ferguson attempts to secure a D'arce choke against Danny Castillo in their lightweight bout during the UFC 177 event at Sleep Train Arena on August 30, 2014 in Sacramento, California.

Each week we will release a submission of the week only here on MMA Sucka. We will break down the origins of the submission, talk about some of its famous users, and so much more. You might even get a video breakdown by fighters in the MMA world! Be sure to come back each week to see what will be the next Submissions for Suckas. This is the D’Arce Choke for Suckas. 

The Origins of the D’Arce Choke

The D’Arce choke, also known as a no-gi brabo choke, was first popularized in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Many submissions and maneuvers have been around for over 100 years, when BJJ was first conceived, and wrestling has been around for thousands of years to add to that.

Over the years a submission will evolve and normally take the name of someone who was very successful with the maneuver or re-invented it to its current form. Depending on your source, the origins of the submission can be interpreted differently. It is also very possible, and likely, the same maneuver was discovered coincidently around the same time.

John Danaher and the Renzo Gracie Academy

One of those creation stories is that Renzo Gracie Academy long-time professor, John Danaher, invented the move as a blue belt. Danaher, a Renzo Gracie black belt, is coach to many of the greatest BJJ practitioners in the world today and is known for his leg locking system.

Danaher recalls a story where he invented the maneuver but at the time he named it the “inverted kata gatame strangle.” Danaher goes on to say he had just earned his blue belt and approached Renzo Gracie, along with Shawn Williams, with the idea for the submission.

After showing and practicing the move with Renzo, Gracie began to teach the move the following night in his classes. From there the submission would be picked up on by a friend and student of Danaher, Joe D’Arce.

The Multi-Step Process from Bjorn Dag to Milton Vieira

Similar to Joe D’Arce, another strong BJJ practitioner, Milton Vieira, made the submission famous after learning it elsewhere. The majority of the black belt’s training came from Jefferson “Pop” Pereira, who was a coach with Luta Livre.

Down the road, Vieira decided he wanted to give MMA a shot and joined Brazilian Top Team (BTT.) BTT was home to many of the world’s best BJJ implementers in MMA such as Murilo Bustamante, Ricardo Liborio, and Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueria. Vieira’s unique submission game was picked up on by his BTT teammates and was being used by some of the sport’s biggest names.

“The Family Tree” of the submission later came to be known after Daniel D’Dane, president of the Luta Livre Federation, issued a statement to the press stating the submission was developed by Bjorn Dag Lagerstrom, a student of his.

Bjorn “accidentally” developed the submission when attempting to learn how to apply an anaconda choke. Bjorn began to use the submission in competitions where he used it to finish bouts. D’Dane would go on to say that in 2001 he returned to Brazil and taught the technique he picked up to teammates at Renovacao Fight Team. Alexandre Pequeno was one of those teammates, who would then show the technique to Jefferson Pereira. Thus, the passing down to Vieira who was a student of Pereira.

Earning Its Name

One of those Renzo Gracie Academy students to learn Danaher’s invention was Joe D’Arce. The third-degree black belt began to use the move in competitions with extreme success. In the video made by D’Arce for MMASucka, he mentioned the submission came out of necessity due to a bad shoulder injury.

The move caught the attention of a very well-respected west coast American grappler, Marc Laimon. Laimon began to call the move the “darce choke” as we began to teach it on the west coast. After seeing D’Arce perform the maneuver so well, he gave it that name when describing it to his students. Since then the name has stuck in the world of BJJ and MMA. D’Arce now runs his own school (D’Arce Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) in New York.

D’Arce as competed in well over one hundred grappling competitions with multiple title wins. He has also competed in Pancrase where he represented team Renzo Gracie in 2004 where they took on team Pancrase. D’Arce is a 2000 and 2002 Pan American gold medalist as well as several Grapplers Quest and NAGA championships. As you can see in the video posted further into the article, D’Arce is amazing at explaining the technique and anyone in the area should take advantage of such an amazing practitioner to improve their BJJ game.

The Technique

Who better than Joe D’Arce to explain the technique and application of the D’Arce choke? The video provided was made at D’Arce Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by D’Arce and two of his talented students for MMASucka.

Thank you, Joe!

The D’Arce Choke Used in MMA

It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the first successful MMA finish by D’Arce, but the first successful finish in the UFC came at UFC 69. Kendall Grove used the unseen D’Arce choke to finish Alan Belcher, taking home Submission of the Night honors.

Grove rocked Belcher with devastating strikes which led to a successful double leg takedown. As Belcher was doing everything he could to escape, Grove locked in the D’Arce choke much to the pleasure of commentator Joe Rogan.

“The Diamond” Shines with the D’Arce

UFC lightweight contender, Dustin Poirier, has used the D’Arce successfully twice in UFC victories. Poirier is the only fighter in UFC history to win and lose by D’Arce. His loss came in a fight of the year battle with “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier in May 2012.

Poirier turned around after his defeat to the Korean Zombie and won by D’Arce against Jonathan Brookins in December 2012. Poirier’s first victory by D’Arce came against Pablo Garza at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos. The fairly new black belt, Poirier earned the honor from Louisiana pioneer Tim Credeur. Credeur is the state’s first black belt and holds a second-degree black belt under multi-time world champion Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros.

The UFC’s Leader in D’Arce Choke Victories

10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former wrestling national champion, Tony Ferguson, holds the UFC record with three D’Arce choke victories. Ferguson also has back-to-back D’Arce wins recently in his career. All three finishes have also earned Ferguson an “of the night” bonus each time.

The first victory came in the first round of his UFC 166 bout against Mike Rio. The next two came in back to back bouts with Edson Barboza and Lando Vannata respectively. Ferguson was featured on an episode of UFC on Fox where he broke down how he likes to set up the D’Arce with fellow black belt and analyst Kenny Florian.

Come back each week to mmasucka.com to find out what next week’s Submission for Suckas will be. Another big thank you to Joe D’Arce for the demonstration video made for us at MMA Sucka!

Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images

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