The lateral vascular neck restraint demonstrated by soldiers of the Maldives Armed Forces
AKA Stranglehold, shime-waza

A chokehold or choke (also stranglehold or in Judo referred to as shime-waza, 絞技, "constriction technique"[1]) is a general term for grappling hold that critically reduces or prevents either air (choking)[2] or blood (strangling) from passing through the neck of an opponent. The restriction may be of one or both and depends on the hold used and the reaction of the victim. The lack of blood or air may lead to unconsciousness or even death if the hold is maintained. Chokeholds are used in martial arts, combat sports, self-defense, law enforcement and in military hand to hand combat applications. They are considered superior to brute-force manual strangling, which generally requires a large disparity in physical strength to be effective.[3] Rather than using the fingers or arms to attempt to crush the neck, chokeholds effectively use leverage such as figure-four holds or collar holds that use the clothes to assist in the constriction. .

The terminology used varies, in most martial arts, the term "chokehold" or "choke" is used for all types of grappling holds that strangle. This can be misleading as most holds aim to strangle not choke with the exception of "air chokes" (choking means "to have severe difficulty in breathing because of a constricted or obstructed throat or a lack of air"[2]). In Judo terminology, "blood chokes" are referred to as "strangleholds" or "strangles" while "air chokes" are called "chokeholds" or "chokes".[1] In forensics the terms "strangle" and "stranglehold" designate any type of neck compression,[3] while in law-enforcement they are referred to as "neck holds".[4]


Air choke

An air choke or tracheal choke specifically refers to a "true" choke that compresses the upper airway (trachea, larynx or laryngopharynx), hence interfering with breathing, and leading to asphyxia. Although less effective at inducing unconsciousness than its vascular counterpart, the air choke causes excruciating pain and air hunger, and in combat sports a fighter will usually submit to such a submission hold. Air chokes have been associated with fractures of the larynx or hyoid bone, and are considered less safe than blood chokes to practice. The common law-enforcement arm bar choke is an air choke done by placing the forearm across the front of the neck from behind. The free hand grabs the wrist and pulls back the forearm, hence driving the forearm (usually the radius bone) into the front of the neck. The Air choke tends to be considered less effective due to the way that it is commonly performed; a properly performed air choke is just as fast as a blood choke. Rather than going directly into the windpipe, they attack the nerve that causes the gag reflex.

Blood choke

Blood chokes, carotid restraint or sleeper holds, are a form of strangulation that compresse one or both carotid arteries and/or the jugular veins without compressing the airway, hence causing cerebral ischemia and a temporary hypoxic condition in the brain.[5] A well applied blood choke may lead to unconsciousness in a matter of seconds. Compared to traditional manual strangulation, properly applied blood chokes require little physical strength, and can be applied successfully by a smaller person.[6]

Use in combat sports

Most chokeholds featured in combat sports and martial arts are blood chokes, although some air chokes or combinations occur as well. Blood chokes, especially the rear naked choke (mata leão), triangle chokes, or gi chokes, are commonly used as submission holds in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In Judo, chokeholds, known as shime-waza, are used but are often subject to restrictions based on age or rank. Chokeholds are not allowed in Sport Sambo but are allowed in Combat Sambo. The chokeholds used in Catch wrestling and Shoot wrestling are the inspiration for the "chokeholds" in modern professional wrestling performances. Due to the effectiveness of chokeholds and their popularity in a wide variety of martial arts, they are often used to force submissions in mixed martial art and submission grappling competitions.

Use in law enforcement

The lateral vascular neck restraint (also called sleeper hold) was once a widely taught blood choke in law enforcement, and was performed from behind by putting an arm around the neck with the crook of the elbow over the midline of the neck. By pinching the arm together while assisting with the free hand, the carotid arteries and jugular veins were compressed on both sides of the neck. This hold did not put any pressure on the airway, but an improperly applied hold could quickly turn into an air choke if the person being strangled resisted the hold by attempting to turn around.[7]

Due to risks of injuries, American law enforcement agencies restrict or forbid its use. The Los Angeles Police Department, for example, prohibited its officers from using air chokes and restricted use of the carotid hold to instances where death or serious bodily injury was threatened, after routinely using chokeholds for many years.[8] The Bay Area Rapid Transit Police are completely prohibited from using carotid holds.[9]

The "blood choke" has experienced a resurgence in popularity with law enforcement since close examination of statistical data has revealed that the carotid artery submission technique, also called the vascular neck restraint (VNR), in 52.9% of the uses left the person being choked uninjured, 41% sustained minor injuries and less than 6% required minor outpatient procedures.[10] There were no recorded incidents of hospitalization or fatalities and the injuries were considered incidental to the application of the technique. It is currently used by numerous police departments in the United States. Some departments consider it a choice when lethal force is justified.

Partial list of chokeholds

  • Anaconda choke – Choke starting with attacker facing the opponent on all fours. Attacker passes his leading arm under the neck, and outside past one of the opponent's arms while then grabbing his own other arm's free arm biceps (resulting in similar arm positioning to a rear naked choke). The attacker then arches his back, bending backward to apply the choke. (Not to be confused with a gator roll choke, which involves the roll)
  • Arm triangle choke – Similar to the leg triangle choke except that it is performed from above a grounded opponent using the arms.
  • Gator Roll Choke – Choke starting with attacker facing the opponent on all fours. Attacker passes their leading arm under the opponents arm, and inside under the opponents neck while then grabbing their free arms biceps (resulting in similar arm positioning to a rear naked choke). The attacker then drops their opponent onto their back, then follows through bridging to create additional pressure. (Not to be confused with an anaconda choke, which does not involve the roll)
  • Gi-choke – Any choke applied by using the opponents gi (i.e. uniform), most commonly used in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Example: Ezequiel choke, slide choke, half nelson choke, bow and arrow choke, clock choke).
  • Gogoplata – Performed from full guard by using an Omoplata setup to trap the top man's arm, then pulling the bottom man's foot past the top man's head, pressing the shin of that leg against the throat. The bottom man then pulls on their opponents head, cutting off the airflow and forcing him to submit or risk passing out from lack of oxygen.
  • Guillotine choke – Applied in front of and above the opponent, holding their neck in the crook of the elbow. A common finishing hold in mixed martial arts.[11]
  • North/South choke – Applied from the north-south position with opponent facing up. Uses the biceps to cut off blood flow on one side of the neck. Takes longer than most chokeholds to take effect.
  • Rear naked choke – Applied from behind the opponent, starting by looping one arm around the neck so that the crook of the elbow is under the opponents chin, then placing the hand of that arm on the opposite biceps. The other hand is then placed on the back of the opponents head and pushes the opponents head and neck forward into the crook of the flexed arm. Additional pressure may be applied by pinioning the opponents lower body by locking the legs around the opponents waist (referred to as "hooks") and arching the back to place more force against the neck. A simple and effective chokehold, it is the most common[11] finishing hold in mixed martial arts competition.
  • Triangle choke – Applied from full guard or from mount, the opponent's neck is trapped in a triangle formed by their own arm and the attacker's thigh and calf. A common finishing hold in mixed martial arts.[11]
  • Peruvian Necktie – another chokehold variant

See also


  1. ^ a b Ohlenkamp, Neil. Principles of Judo Choking Techniques. URL last accessed March 3, 2006.
  2. ^ a b The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1999). Oxford University press. ISBN 0-19-861263-X.
  3. ^ a b Jones, Richard. Asphyxia, Strangulation. URL last accessed February 26, 2006.
  4. ^ Reay, Donald; Eisele, John. Death from law enforcement neck holds. last accessed March 3, 2006
  5. ^ Koiwai, Karl. Deaths Allegedly Caused by the Use of "Choke Holds" (Shime-Waza). URL last accessed March 3, 2006.
  6. ^ Koiwai, Karl. How Safe is Choking in Judo?. URL last accessed March 3, 2006.
  7. ^ DiMaio, Vincent; DiMaio, Dominick (2001). Forensic Pathology, Second Edition. Selected Pages from CHAPTER 8 and from Deaths Occurring Following the Application of Choke or Carotid Holds. URL last accessed March 2, 2006.
  8. ^ Mitchell, Michael. LAPD Chokehold history.[dead link]. URL last accessed December 4, 2006.
  9. ^ "Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department Policy Manual: Chapter 3 - General Operations: 300.2.5". BART Police. 2011-01-26. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  10. ^ Force Science News #102. Actual study: "Public-Police Interaction and Its Relation to Arrest and Use of Force by Police and Resulting Injuries to Subjects and Officers; a Description of Risk in One Major Canadian Urban City.
  11. ^ a b c Top 20 most common fight endings URL last accessed February 5, 2006.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • chokehold — [chōk′hōld΄] n. 1. a technique for restraining or subduing a person by locking one s arms around the person s neck 2. firm or absolute control over some activity, process, etc. * * * choke·hold (chōkʹhōld ) n. A restraining move in which one… …   Universalium

  • chokehold — [chōk′hōld΄] n. 1. a technique for restraining or subduing a person by locking one s arms around the person s neck 2. firm or absolute control over some activity, process, etc …   English World dictionary

  • chokehold — noun a) A grappling hold around the neck that cuts off the flow of air to the brain He put his opponent in a chokehold. b) A strong and powerful grasp on something Your country has a chokehold on our economy. See Also: neckhold, stranglehold …   Wiktionary

  • chokehold — noun 1. complete power over a person or situation corporations have a stranglehold on the media the president applied a chokehold to labor disputes that inconvenienced the public • Syn: ↑stranglehold, ↑throttlehold • Hypernyms: ↑power, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Chokehold — Étranglement (art martial) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Étranglement. Préparation d un Hadaka Jime, ou rear naked choke. Le …   Wikipédia en Français

  • chokehold — noun a tight grip round a person s neck, used to restrain them by restricting their breathing …   English new terms dictionary

  • chokehold — /ˈtʃoʊkhoʊld/ (say chohkhohld) noun → stranglehold …   Australian English dictionary

  • Chokehold (band) — Chokehold were a vegan straight edge hardcore/punk band hailing from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. They first formed in 1990, releasing the More Than Ever demo tape in 1991. This was quickly followed in 1992 by a split EP with Crisis of Faith and… …   Wikipedia

  • Cupid's Chokehold — Single by Gym Class Heroes featuring Patrick Stump from the album The Papercut Chronicles and …   Wikipedia

  • Operation Chokehold — Code name for a plan of digital disobedience by iPhone users against AT&T. In response to reports that AT&T was considering incentives to encourage smartphone users to consume less data, the journalist Daniel Lyons posted a call to action on his… …   Dictionary of unconsidered lexicographical trifles

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.