Inside Sankaku

Expert Guide For Outside Sankaku: Techniques and Tips

Outside Sankaku, a term rooted in grappling arts, holds significant importance in ground fighting. This technique involves utilizing leg entanglements and triangular configurations to control and submit opponents. 

Outside Sankaku offers practitioners a versatile and effective method to control and submit opponents in various grappling scenarios. It enables the practitioner to utilize angles, leverage, and pressure to immobilize the opponent and apply a wide range of submissions, such as triangle chokes and leg locks.

This article aims to comprehensively explore Outside Sankaku techniques, setups, and applications. We will delve into the fundamental techniques, such as the Outside Triangle Choke and leg locks, discussing their setups, execution, variations, and common mistakes.

The concept behind Outside Sankaku is to create a strong and secure entanglement that restricts the opponent’s movement and limits their defensive options. 

By leveraging the legs to control the opponent’s limbs and applying pressure, the practitioner can neutralize their opponent’s strength and execute various submissions precisely.

Angles play a pivotal role in Sankaku as they determine the effectiveness of control and submission opportunities. By positioning the legs at optimal angles, the practitioner can maximize pressure and restrict the opponent’s mobility, making it challenging for them to escape or defend.

Control is paramount Sankaku. Maintaining control over the opponent’s limbs, body position, and overall movement is crucial for executing successful submissions. 

The practitioner can establish and maintain control throughout the technique through precise grip management, weight distribution, and reading and anticipating the opponent’s reactions.


Setups for Outside Sankaku

To effectively apply Outside Sankaku in grappling, it is crucial to have a repertoire of setups from different positions. 

By understanding the setups and the techniques involved, practitioners can seamlessly transition into the Outside Sankaku position, gaining a significant advantage over opponents. 

Guard Pull to Outside Sankaku: Grips, Off-Balancing, Securing the Position

The Guard Pull to Outside Sankaku is a strategic approach to initiate the Outside Sankaku technique from the guard position. It allows the practitioner to surprise the opponent, quickly transition to the Outside Sankaku position, and establish control.


  1. Grips: To execute this setup, the practitioner must secure a firm grip on the opponent’s gi or limbs, providing the necessary control and leverage. Depending on the specific situation, this grip can be obtained on the collar, sleeves, or even the opponent’s wrists.
  2. Off-Balancing: Off-balancing the opponent is crucial to creating the Guard Pull to Sankaku opening. This can be achieved through foot sweeps, hip movement, or disrupting the opponent’s base, causing them to shift their weight and lose their balance.
  3. Securing the Position: As the opponent reacts to the off-balancing, the practitioner quickly wraps their legs around the opponent’s body, forming the Outside Sankaku position. Maintaining control of the opponent’s arm(s) during this transition is essential, as it prevents them from defending effectively or escaping.

Standing to Outside Sankaku: Snap-Downs, Front Headlocks, Creating Angles

The Standing to Sankaku setup is instrumental when the practitioner is in a standing position or facing an opponent who is standing. It involves using snap-downs, front headlocks, and strategic positioning to create the opportunity for Sankaku.


  1. Snap-Downs: Snap-downs are effective for bringing the opponent’s posture down and gaining control. By securing a collar or head-and-arm grip, the practitioner quickly snaps the opponent’s head down, forcing them to bend forward and lose balance.
  2. Front Headlocks: Once the opponent’s head is down, the practitioner can transition to a front headlock, maintaining control of the opponent’s head and arm. This allows them to dictate the direction of the opponent’s movement and set up the Sankaku position.
  3. Creating Angles: Creating angles is crucial for successful Standing Sankaku setups. By stepping to the side, circling, or maneuvering around the opponent, the practitioner can gain advantageous positioning and secure the Sankaku position, ready to execute submissions.

Applications of Outside Sankaku

Sankaku offers many applications in grappling, both offensively and defensively. From this position, practitioners can employ various techniques to control and submit opponents and execute sweeping and reversing maneuvers. 

Control and Submissions from Outside Sankaku Position

  1. Control: The Sankaku position provides excellent control over opponents’ bodies, limiting their mobility and defensive options. The practitioner can restrict their movement, prevent escapes, and maintain dominance by entangling the legs around the opponent’s body.
  2. Submissions: Sankaku offers a range of submission opportunities. From this position, practitioners can execute submissions such as the Outside Triangle Choke, various leg locks, and upper body submissions by transitioning to traditional Sankaku configurations. These submissions capitalize on the control established by the leg entanglements, providing effective ways to force the opponent to tap out.
Outside Sankaku

Sweeping and Reversing Techniques using Outside Sankaku

  1. Sweeping: The  Sankaku position can be utilized for sweeping techniques, allowing practitioners to reverse the position and gain a dominant advantage. By manipulating the opponent’s balance, leveraging the entangled legs, and utilizing momentum, practitioners can sweep their opponents, moving from a defensive or disadvantaged position to a more favorable one.
  2. Reversals: Sankaku can serve as a platform for effective reversals. By utilizing the entangled legs, maintaining control, and exploiting the opponent’s reactions, practitioners can reverse the position and transition into dominant positions such as the mount or back control. These reversals often catch opponents off guard and allow practitioners to shift the fight’s momentum in their favor.

Counters and Escapes from Outside Sankaku

While Outside Sankaku can be a powerful position for control and submission, practitioners must be familiar with techniques and strategies to counter and escape it. 

Defense against Outside Triangle Choke and Leg Locks

  1. Defense against Outside Triangle Choke: It is crucial to prevent the opponent from fully locking the triangle configuration and applying pressure. This can be done by posture, keeping the head and chin tucked, and maintaining a solid base. Additionally, hand fighting and breaking the opponent’s grip on the leg or collar can disrupt their control and nullify the submission attempt.
  2. Defense against Leg Locks: When caught in leg locks from Sankaku, it is vital to act quickly to prevent further damage or submission. Depending on the specific leg lock being applied, different defensive strategies can be employed. These may include hand fighting to release the grip, relieving pressure through positional adjustments, or countering with effective leg lock defense techniques, such as applying pressure against the opponent’s foot or ankle.

Escaping and Reversing to Regain Dominant Positions

  1. Escaping Outside Sankaku: Escaping the Sankaku position requires a combination of technique, timing, and explosiveness. Essential methods include creating space and breaking the entanglement by pushing or pulling the legs, using controlled leg pummeling to regain a neutral position, or utilizing hip movement and weight distribution to disrupt the opponent’s control.
  2. Reversing to Dominant Positions: When caught in Sankaku, practitioners can employ reversal techniques to regain dominance. This may involve bridging and rolling to change the position, executing technical stand-ups, or transitioning to counterattacks that exploit openings in the opponent’s defense.

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Mastering the Outside Sankaku position in grappling requires a comprehensive understanding of its techniques, setups, applications, and counter-strategies. Throughout this article, we have explored the fundamental aspects of Sankaku, delving into its definition, principles, techniques, setups, applications, and counters.

Outside Sankaku offers practitioners a versatile toolset for controlling and submitting opponents and sweeping and reversing positions. By leveraging angles, leverage, and control, practitioners can establish dominance and capitalize on their opponent’s vulnerabilities.

Incorporating Sankaku into your grappling repertoire expands your arsenal. It enhances your ability to adapt to various situations on the mats. Whether you are looking to control opponents, secure submissions, execute sweeps and reversals, or defend against attacks, Sankaku offers a dynamic and practical approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Outside Sankaku position in grappling? 

A: The Outside Sankaku position is a grappling position where one of the practitioner’s legs is wrapped around the opponent’s body, creating a triangle-like configuration with their legs. This position allows for control, submission opportunities, and sweeping/reversal options.

Q: Can beginners learn and apply Outside Sankaku techniques? 

A: Yes, beginners can learn and apply Outside Sankaku techniques. However, beginners must receive proper instruction, practice with a skilled partner, and gradually progress in training. Starting with the fundamental techniques, slowly building upon them, and refining the execution will help beginners develop proficiency in Outside Sankaku.

Q: How long does it take to master Outside Sankaku? 

A: The time it takes to master Outside Sankaku varies for each individual. It depends on training frequency, consistency, natural aptitude, and previous grappling experience. With dedicated practice and a focus on technique, mastery of Sankaku can be achieved over time.

Q: Are there any restrictions or limitations on using Outside Sankaku in competitive grappling? 

A: Competitive grappling organizations may have specific rules regarding Sankaku techniques. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the regulations of the particular competition or event you are participating in to ensure compliance and avoid penalties.

Q: Can Outside Sankaku be effective against larger or stronger opponents? 

A: Outside Sankaku techniques can be effective against larger or stronger opponents. Sankaku relies on leverage, angles, and control rather than strength. Practitioners can overcome their opponents’ size and strength advantages by utilizing proper technique, timing, and strategy.

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