The Darce is a blood choke that includes one of your partners arms in the lock. This is somewhat similar to the triangle choke from guard where one of your legs cuts the blood flow on one side of your partners neck while the blood flow on the other side is stopped by their shoulder pressing into their neck. That sounds a little complicated because it is. Both the triangle choke from guard and other arm in chokes, (darce, brabo, arm triangle), require precise limb placement and pressure in order to consistently get the choke. That is why I like having it in our fundamentals curriculum. When introducing finishes I think it is best to begin with a solid technical foundation and a clear understanding of a lock that hurts versus a submission that stops.

The finishing position is a concept we use to help us understand and train this. A finish is the thing that makes your partner tap. The finishing position is the control used to allow the finish to occur. I can hold a finishing position without making my partner tap. For instance you can hold the triangle from guard without finishing the triangle. The same goes for every other submission we teach. Submissions aren't like a fly you are trying to swat, where if you don't do it fast and suddenly the opportunity disappears. Submissions are preceded by a finishing position which can be held, similar to placing a jar on top of the fly. He is unharmed and can't go anywhere.

You should be able to hold the finishing position as long as necessary without hurting your partner or finishing the submission. Contrast that with the idea of a punchers chance, the idea that an opponent with inferior skills can beat a higher skilled opponent if only he can land that one lucky punch. When a fight plays out with that setup you very rarely see the person with the punchers chance win. What you do see is them either sit back and get picked apart or they rush the attack and either overextend or exhaust themselves while the more skilled participant sits back, stays safe, and waits for the opportunity that they know is coming. People that are not confident in their ability to control and finish the submission tend to jump into it. Those who are skilled can stay safe until they secure the finishing position. From there they will make the adjustments necessary to technically, and definitely, finish the match. 

Macro control is all the work done to control the positional exchanges until a finishing position can be obtained. Once the finishing position is obtained you can take your time and make all of the micro adjustments needed to secure a perfect finish. 

The way we teach the darce makes this easier to see. In the example above we are working to get the correct base position and alignment down solid. The bottom person is always hipping out and extending their top arm to help their partner train the arm placement. Above we see the top player use the bottom players arm to make sure that the bottom persons back is perpendicular to the mat. The first alignment we are looking for is the top players sternum resting right on the bottom persons shoulder. The top person extends a whizzer arm underneath both the bottom players arm and neck. Nothing else is done with that arm at this time. The top person has to make sure that their shoulders are not tilted one way or another and that they are not driving their partner back into the ground. You want to make sure their back stays perpendicular to the mat. The last detail in this step is that top player positions their head so it is extending past their partners back.

 

Next we want to involve the other arm, but there is no attempt at the finish yet. Practice placing the elbow of the second arm on the back of your partners head and then place the palm of that hand on your partners back. The skill at this stage is to hold all of the body alignment described above while your arms are occupied with another task. This takes some practice but know that while it can be frustrating you are developing the coordination right now that solid Jiu Jitsu practitioners are known for.

If you have secured the position correctly you should be able to get a nice clean finish here. Your sternum holds the top pressure. When you fold your arms over you place your bottom hand on your bicep. If you cannot adequately reach your bicep you can take two or three fingers from the bottom hand and feed them into the sleeve of your other arm. The hand on your partners back moves up to their shoulder. This sets and tightens the first arm. The actual finish may come on when do this, alternatively you may need to squeeze the elbow of your bottom arm up a couple of inches. Basically shrug with the whizzer arm to pull that elbow up. If this doesn't work, adjust. Whether you have success or not ask your partner if you are choking them or cranking your neck. 

If your partner is cranking your neck it doesn't mean they are a horrible person, it means they are trying to figure out how to properly perform the move. If several people tell you that you are cranking their neck, and you don't take the time to figure out how to do the move correctly..... well then, yeah, you are a horrible person and you should see me for extra special training. Jokes aside, it takes awhile to learn this control that is why we introduce it fairly soon. If you are struggling with it just ask myself or one of the instructors for help.

Putting the darce intro practice

The darce can be found just about anywhere there is a pummel. We introduce it as a move from top side control. In order to  make the move work you generally have to clear the pummeling arm. To do this you'll need to pick your hips up and bump the elbow of your whizzer arm inward as you establish the finishing position. 

The darce is a great move. Since we attack the move from our partners pummel they will often not see it coming as they are focused on escaping. It is a technique that requires a fair amount of precision and timing to pull off. Grab your partner before class and work the set ups for 5-10 minutes. If you do that before every class you take in April you will develop a solid new choke just in time for nogi season!