Chokes and Strangles

Razor

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I'm curious as to what people think about chokes, strangles and their safety. I think I read somewhere that in some Judo and Jujutsu classes people actually practice these on one another until they lose consciousness, which doesn't seem very safe to me as the brain can be damaged very quickly if deprived of oxygen.

How long does it generally take to make someone pass out with a choke or a strangle hold?
Is it easy to go too far and actually damage someone with this?
How long does it take to regain consciousness typically?
Is there any indication of lasting damage that anyone has ever heard of?

For context, I'm asking because I've been taught some choke and strangle holds but not in any great detail, not because I want to do this to anyone. I like to understand the potential consequences of techniques that I am taught, and while this is quite simple with something like a wrist lock or throws, depriving the brain of oxygen seems like something of an unknown which worries me a bit. I'm really looking for people's personal experience of using them, perhaps in systems like Judo that use them a bit more, rather than any more technical information on oxygen deprivation. I will of course ask my instructor as well, I just wanted a wider information base. My only real experience is using them until someone taps and a couple of times being unable to escape them myself, starting to feel light headed and then tapping.

Some thoughts, experiences and knowledge would be appreciated!
 

drop bear

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We had a guy put to sleep the other day while rolling. It is not common but it does happen. Got him in about 4 seconds and he was mostly asleep for mabye 4 or 5 seconds.

I wouldn't make a career of it. But I don't see once or twice being an issue.
 

Andrew Green

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How Safe is Choking in Judo

Basically no reported deaths, no reported lasting damage.

There have been deaths from chokes in law enforcement, but that is a rather different sort of situation. There was also a backyard video of a kid choking his cousin where he kept holding it long after the point of unconsciousness that led to death. The Gracie Brothers did a video on the incident where they talked about how chokes work and the safety issues:

Anyways, chokes are very safe, when done in a controlled environment by people that know what they are doing. But it is also very dangerous, and without control and knowing what's going on it can become deadly. But if you damage the wind pipe, or hold the choke long after the guy passes out you risk serious problems. Both of those are pretty unlikely in a training or sport environment though.
 

Tony Dismukes

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How long does it take to regain consciousness typically?

Andrew answered your other questions pretty well, so I thought I'd grab this one. The answer is - just a few seconds. (So all those video games where you preform a "non-lethal" takedown of a guard and leave him unharmed but unconscious in a corner somewhere? Sorry dude. Doesn't work that way.)

Here is a video of a friend of mine explaining the effectiveness and safety of chokes. At the end, he demonstrates several people being choked to unconsciousness so you can see what the process (including recovery) looks like.

(Note - the gentleman in question is not some ignorant yahoo taking stupid chances. Besides being a BJJ & Judo black belt, he also has a PhD in exercise physiology, so he knows something about how the human body works.)

 

Touch Of Death

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I'm curious as to what people think about chokes, strangles and their safety. I think I read somewhere that in some Judo and Jujutsu classes people actually practice these on one another until they lose consciousness, which doesn't seem very safe to me as the brain can be damaged very quickly if deprived of oxygen.

How long does it generally take to make someone pass out with a choke or a strangle hold?
Is it easy to go too far and actually damage someone with this?
How long does it take to regain consciousness typically?
Is there any indication of lasting damage that anyone has ever heard of?

For context, I'm asking because I've been taught some choke and strangle holds but not in any great detail, not because I want to do this to anyone. I like to understand the potential consequences of techniques that I am taught, and while this is quite simple with something like a wrist lock or throws, depriving the brain of oxygen seems like something of an unknown which worries me a bit. I'm really looking for people's personal experience of using them, perhaps in systems like Judo that use them a bit more, rather than any more technical information on oxygen deprivation. I will of course ask my instructor as well, I just wanted a wider information base. My only real experience is using them until someone taps and a couple of times being unable to escape them myself, starting to feel light headed and then tapping.

Some thoughts, experiences and knowledge would be appreciated!
Don't practice this stuff if you are elderly. Other than that, it is as safe as crossing the street. :)
 

K-man

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I have a minor concern of the potential to damage the vagus nerve.

In the internal carotid artery lies a very important structure called the carotid sinus or bulb. Next to this artery runs the vagus nerve. Compressing these structures causes the body to respond in some very significant ways primarily decreasing blood pressure and heart rate. Some people (usually unbeknown to them) can have a hypersensitive carotid sinus which when compressed/stimulated can cause a profound drop in blood pressure and heart rate. In these cases, a dangerously irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) can ensue.
Ask the Fight Doc Is brain damage possible when chokes are held too long MMAjunkie
You might recall the guy choked out by police in New York who died of a suspected heart attack shortly afterwards in police custody. The choke was applied with what appears a lot of force and twisting of the neck which may well have damaged the vagus nerve.

I can t breathe Eric Garner put in chokehold by NYPD officer video US news The Guardian
 

Transk53

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Andrew answered your other questions pretty well, so I thought I'd grab this one. The answer is - just a few seconds. (So all those video games where you preform a "non-lethal" takedown of a guard and leave him unharmed but unconscious in a corner somewhere? Sorry dude. Doesn't work that way.)

Here is a video of a friend of mine explaining the effectiveness and safety of chokes. At the end, he demonstrates several people being choked to unconsciousness so you can see what the process (including recovery) looks like.

(Note - the gentleman in question is not some ignorant yahoo taking stupid chances. Besides being a BJJ & Judo black belt, he also has a PhD in exercise physiology, so he knows something about how the human body works.)


Great vid. Thanks for sharing.
 

Buka

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Andrew answered your other questions pretty well, so I thought I'd grab this one. The answer is - just a few seconds. (So all those video games where you preform a "non-lethal" takedown of a guard and leave him unharmed but unconscious in a corner somewhere? Sorry dude. Doesn't work that way.)

Here is a video of a friend of mine explaining the effectiveness and safety of chokes. At the end, he demonstrates several people being choked to unconsciousness so you can see what the process (including recovery) looks like.

(Note - the gentleman in question is not some ignorant yahoo taking stupid chances. Besides being a BJJ & Judo black belt, he also has a PhD in exercise physiology, so he knows something about how the human body works.)


A PhD in Exercise Physiology and Black belts in BJJ and Judo - that's off the charts experience and knowledge. So awesome. What a great video.
 

Chris Parker

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Anyways, chokes are very safe, when done in a controlled environment by people that know what they are doing. But it is also very dangerous, and without control and knowing what's going on it can become deadly. But if you damage the wind pipe, or hold the choke long after the guy passes out you risk serious problems. Both of those are pretty unlikely in a training or sport environment though.

Agreed a week or so ago, I attended a seminar featuring three different instructors, each teaching three different systems. I was realistically there for the last of the three, but was curious about the others as well the second of which was a "Shihan" teaching a system of "jujitsu". I expected it to be a non-classical (modern) system, bearing little real relation to actual jujutsu, and, well, it was. Basically, it was a combatively flawed bastardised version of karate with some low-grade judo thrown in (the entire "history" I could get was that it was taught to this "Shihan" by an undercover cop which, to his mind, validated it as "real jujitsu"). That, I can live with poor technique, lack of history, lack of understanding of martial structure etc but then a technique was shown that had me walk off the mat and refuse to come back until after his session was done.

In an introduction seminar, with a room full of people who (mostly) had never done anything like this before, he had everyone practice a technique that involved a choke which was applied by pressing the bone of your forearm into the trachea, then grind up and into the throat (towards the jaw) in order to damage or crush it.

It was not safe, it was not controlled, and it was not done by anyone who knew what they were doing.
 

K-man

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That, I can live with poor technique, lack of history, lack of understanding of martial structure etc but then a technique was shown that had me walk off the mat and refuse to come back until after his session was done.

In an introduction seminar, with a room full of people who (mostly) had never done anything like this before, he had everyone practice a technique that involved a choke which was applied by pressing the bone of your forearm into the trachea, then grind up and into the throat (towards the jaw) in order to damage or crush it.

It was not safe, it was not controlled, and it was not done by anyone who knew what they were doing.
Ouch!
 

drop bear

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Agreed a week or so ago, I attended a seminar featuring three different instructors, each teaching three different systems. I was realistically there for the last of the three, but was curious about the others as well the second of which was a "Shihan" teaching a system of "jujitsu". I expected it to be a non-classical (modern) system, bearing little real relation to actual jujutsu, and, well, it was. Basically, it was a combatively flawed bastardised version of karate with some low-grade judo thrown in (the entire "history" I could get was that it was taught to this "Shihan" by an undercover cop which, to his mind, validated it as "real jujitsu"). That, I can live with poor technique, lack of history, lack of understanding of martial structure etc but then a technique was shown that had me walk off the mat and refuse to come back until after his session was done.

In an introduction seminar, with a room full of people who (mostly) had never done anything like this before, he had everyone practice a technique that involved a choke which was applied by pressing the bone of your forearm into the trachea, then grind up and into the throat (towards the jaw) in order to damage or crush it.

It was not safe, it was not controlled, and it was not done by anyone who knew what they were doing.

Yeah wind chokes are the hip new thing these days.

So there was just an extreme level of contact with inadequate qualified supervision?
 

Chris Parker

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It wasn't a "wind choke". it was a direct crush to the trachea. And no, it wasn't just an "extreme level of contact", it was the way it was presented (telling the students, with no experience of such things at all, or any knowledge of the inherent risks and concerns, that they needed to apply it "with force", and more). There was more to it on the day, but in relation to this thread, that's the crux of it.
 

drop bear

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It wasn't a "wind choke". it was a direct crush to the trachea. And no, it wasn't just an "extreme level of contact", it was the way it was presented (telling the students, with no experience of such things at all, or any knowledge of the inherent risks and concerns, that they needed to apply it "with force", and more). There was more to it on the day, but in relation to this thread, that's the crux of it.

Funny it sounds like a wind choke.


Are you suggesting that that sports technique is too extreme fo SD?
 

Chris Parker

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Funny it sounds like a wind choke.

Then might I suggest you appreciate that I can tell the difference between them, and was clarifying for you?


Are you suggesting that that sports technique is too extreme fo SD?

I don't even know where to start with that but I'll begin by stating that what was shown at the seminar is not really that close to what is shown in your video and couple that with saying that the "trachea" version seems more like a neck crank combined with a trachea pressure which, depending on the ruleset, are both illegal in a number of MMA approaches so, "sport"?
 

drop bear

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Then might I suggest you appreciate that I can tell the difference between them, and was clarifying for you?



I don't even know where to start with that but I'll begin by stating that what was shown at the seminar is not really that close to what is shown in your video and couple that with saying that the "trachea" version seems more like a neck crank combined with a trachea pressure which, depending on the ruleset, are both illegal in a number of MMA approaches so, "sport"?

Well the choke will be some sort of forearm across throat pressure. There are variations on a theme.

I was going to do baz ruttens sleeper version but I could not get the video to play

They are both allowed in mma. The neck crank thing is a bit misleading.

What made the choke you saw more dangerous?
 

Chris Parker

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Well the choke will be some sort of forearm across throat pressure. There are variations on a theme.

Yeah not sure what you're trying to counter there again, I'm more than aware of how a wind choke works, and I'm more than aware of what was shown, and how. So you're saying what, exactly?

I was going to do baz ruttens sleeper version but I could not get the video to play

A "sleeper", kinda by definition, is a blood choke not a wind/trachea choke so I'm not sure why Rutten's version would be better (unless he's not actually showing a sleeper hold) so you're saying what, exactly?

They are both allowed in mma. The neck crank thing is a bit misleading.

Not in amateur rules, they're not. Any kind of attack to the windpipe are classified as illegal and, in professional (unified) rules, any kind of strike or grab to the throat/trachea is considered illegal, which opens the interpretation of chokes to the windpipe being a form of grab or strike, depending on how it's taken...

What made the choke you saw more dangerous?

I'd suggest re-reading my above post for the answer to that.
 

drop bear

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Yeah not sure what you're trying to counter there again, I'm more than aware of how a wind choke works, and I'm more than aware of what was shown, and how. So you're saying what, exactly?



A "sleeper", kinda by definition, is a blood choke not a wind/trachea choke so I'm not sure why Rutten's version would be better (unless he's not actually showing a sleeper hold) so you're saying what, exactly?



Not in amateur rules, they're not. Any kind of attack to the windpipe are classified as illegal and, in professional (unified) rules, any kind of strike or grab to the throat/trachea is considered illegal, which opens the interpretation of chokes to the windpipe being a form of grab or strike, depending on how it's taken...



I'd suggest re-reading my above post for the answer to that.

There isn't really amateur rules in mma. They go in classes. I have never heard of one that would not allow a forearm across the throat choke.

So to clarify, and regardless of the position, was this choke applied with forearm pressure across the throat?
 

Chris Parker

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Well, perhaps your experience doesn't cover all bases

As to the technique, no, really. It was done more as a strike to the trachea, a sudden, sharp pulling pressure in, then a crushing, grinding action by rolling your wrist up into the throat. This method is not designed to get someone to pass out, or go to sleep, it's designed to attack and damage the windpipe. It had far more in common with military methods, with lethal intent, than anything else and the biggest concern is that the room was filled with people who had no experience, no understanding of the control needed, and the instructor had no concern for that himself instead telling people they were being "too nice"

To my mind, he has no business teaching anybody anything.
 

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