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1 Basic Crucifix Setups

The best way to add the crucifix to your game is to treat it as a component of a larger strategy for attacking the back. In this chapter, we’re going to develop skills that every grappler needs to know but are especially valuable when our goal is the crucifix.

While the first two techniques–countering bad single legs and fireman’s carry takedowns–are shown as quick introductions to the crucifix, most of this chapter has you using transitions to gain other superior positions that will ultimately lead to the crucifix. These core lessons are:

Sprawl — Defending takedowns and exposing the back.

Spin Behind — Countering side control escapes and securing back control.

Side Ride — Controlling a turtled opponent and setting up the crucifix and other attacks.

Even though I call these basic techniques, you will learn to use them in advanced ways. If you truly commit to integrating the crucifix into your jiu-jitsu–and you may find that it fills a gap you didn’t even know you had–these setups will become a big part of your arsenal. You will find yourself hitting them faster and faster, especially if you put the time into drilling them. After a few months of working on the crucifix, you will start to trap the arm without even thinking about. That’s when your crucifix game will be truly dangerous.