Kron Gracie's cross collar guard study

What techniques does Kron Gracie use?

I guess like many, I have been intrigued by Kron Gracie’s jiu jitsu for a long time. He is a true submission hunter that chooses to use the basics instead of the modern competition jiu jitsu. But what are these basics has somewhat puzzled me in his case. Anybody watching a few of his fights notices what he likes to do as isolated techniques:
  • Closed guard to arm locks/oma plata
  • Single legs as takedowns and sweeps
  • Crucifix
  • Loop choke
  • Mount to arm bar/cross choke
But what about his open guard? Everyone has to have an open guard when their guard is forced open. There doesn’t seem to be a structure to it at first glance but instead it looks like Kron is just flailing his limbs. He doesn’t use any standard structure in modern jiu jitsu such as De La Riva, Reverse De La Rive, Half guard (tries to escape it), X guard, leg lasso or 50/50. You could perhaps argue that he plays spider with a collar grip but that would be an over simplification.

A look at Kron Gracie’s main open guard, the cross collar guard...

Kron’s approach to when grips are not established is uncommon in today’s competitive jiu jitsu. Instead of sitting up to butterfly guard position he keeps his feet dangling high or on the hip. While he does this he is looking to establish a cross collar grip or sometimes, on a rare occasion, a sleeve. While this approach might seem silly for jiu jitsu, it might actually work in his favour as he is now transitioning to MMA where the feet protect you from punches this way.

When opponent comes closer and engages, Kron likes to use tbe collar grip and scissor sweep type control with his foot on the outside of his opponents hip. I will call this “scissor legs” from now on. This is a common thing for Roberto Satoshi as well. Satoshi even reinforced the control with the lapel as in his recent match with Celso Vinicius in Worlds 2014.

The pulling of the cross collar and scissor legs often make knee slides difficult as you are not able to kill the leg and step over most of the time. Kron basically never gets his guard passed with a knee slide which is one of the best passes in high level jiu jitsu.

Sometimes Kron is forced into half guard or knee shield half guard position. He doesn’t want to play there at all but instead tries to escape to scissor guard or full guard immediately. The way he does this is by basing on his non-collar hand pulling his bottom leg out. Once the bottom leg is out he can immediately attack.

This basing on the non-collar hand seems to be the key set up for Kron’s techniques of the cross collar guard. He is constantly coming up using the hand on the ground and pulling on the collar set up his attacks. Opponent has poor posture because Kron’s bodyweight is pulling his head down and is forced to react. Opponents are pretty much left with 3 options:

a) Keep head low and try to pass bullfighter style
b) Push with your arms to force head back up
c)  Retreat altogether

Kron’s attacks from cross collar guard

1. Loop choke against keeping head low/bullfight

When opponents choose to keep head low and accept the poor posture, it is a good moment to attack one of Kron’s favourite submissions – the loop choke. Most of the time, the opponent tries to toreanda with the low head as well, which is ideal for loop chokes.

In nogi, Kron uses his guillotine instead of the loop choke and you see him coming up for the guillotine all the time (see Aoki match for example). He even sometimes seems to accept a takedown to get a guillotine attempt.

Kron Gracie style loop choke demonstrated:

2. Armbar or oma plata vs pushing

Sometimes opponent’s only push with their hands to counter Kron coming up. This is a viable option but leaves the opponent arms exposed to oma platas and arm bars. Sometimes the set up for the attack on the arm is the loop choke itself instead of Kron coming up

3. Ankle pick or scramble sweep to top vs retreat

When the opponent doesn’t give push Kron down when he is coming up or attacking the loop, but instead retreats, it often leads to single legs and scramble sweeps. Kron has even managed to catch Buchecha like this once he retreats.

Link to closed guard

As a final note, Kron loves his closed guard. As you can imagine, the cross collar grip guard and the scissor position with the legs often leads to Kron being able to close his guard. From the closed guard he has a variety of attacks including arm bars, oma platas, hip bump sweeps etc. But that is an another study in itself

Here is a compilation video:


  1. Hi, really like the article but really could use some screenshots/images! especially in the area where you're describing the scissor legs

  2. Joo on kyllä mielenkiintoista analyysiä. Klipit ei jostain syystä pelitä tapletissa, mutta jos kuvia/suoria tubelinkkejä jaksat joskus lisätä niin hienoa!

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