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Tips For The Choke Hold In Judo

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These techniques must be taught and supervised by a qualified instructor..

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Do not attempt these moves without a qualified instructor!

The words choke and strangle tend to be used interchangeably in judo circles, but it can be useful as an aid to understanding how different techniques work, to consider strangles as techniques which cut off the blood supply to the brain, and chokes as techniques which cut off the air flow to the lungs, by constricting the throat. Because the words are virtually synonymous in everyday use and are even used with the opposite meanings by many people, it is important for the instructor to explain what particular effect each technique aims to achieve. In some cases there may be a dual action.

The Choke Vs. The Strangle

There is a considerable difference in the experience of being choked or strangled, bearing in mind the distinction made above, since the former is much more unpleasant and can cause feelings and reactions of extreme panic and discomfort, similar to when a swimmer swallows water and feels himself to be drowning.

Being strangled, though, can be almost pleasant or something which happens without you even realizing it. Many people have been rendered unconscious and recovered and have had no awareness of what has happened to them; others report feelings of floating or weightlessness like drifting off to sleep. In either event, when a training partner or opponent indicates submission to a shime-waza by tapping it is essential that the pressure is released immediately. If anyone is rendered unconscious by a strangle the technique must be released immediately. Never, under any circumstances, keep applying a strangle or choke once a person becomes unconscious, as this could have fatal consequences.

In randori in the ‘old school’ standing strangles were quite common, often a last resort when one fighter became frustrated at being unable to throw another, and could combine fairly effectively with rough-house tactics. One trick was to apply a strangle such as tsuki-komi-jimeor ryote-jime and push the opponent against the wall, pinning him there and preventing any escape into ne-waza. While appropriate for self-defense training this sort of technique is virtually never seen in modern competition judo and strangles are practiced almost exclusively as groundwork techniques.

There are, however, one or two take-downs that lead into effective strangles such as hineri-jime. Tori puts his hands in for kata-juji-jime, then attacks with yoko-wakare to take uke to the floor and strangle him.

Single wing strangle

This is a technique which has proved its effectiveness in randori and contest at the highest level time and time again. It is a rear strangle and as such is best applied by getting on your opponent’s back when he is in ne-waza and controlling him with the legs.

Tori’s right hand goes around uke’s neck from the rear, the thumb is placed inside the collar with the cutting edge of the wrist making contact with uke’s throat. The left arm goes under uke’s left armpit and levers his arm up into the air above his head. This both prevents uke from using the left hand for defence and provides extra leverage to apply the strangle. Tori’s left hand can grab his right arm to consolidate his position, forming a noose with both arms that is tightened if uke tries to escape by levering down with his left arm, a natural response to having the arm hoisted above the head. The strangle is applied by pulling up and back with the right hand and levering the head forwards with the left hand.

If uke is strong and able to defend well, try climbing up his body, so that his head slides down to the level of your abdomen. Your right arm will straighten in the process and his left arm will be forced still higher above his head, to such an extent that he will have very little leverage. The leverage advantage gained, together with the tightening up of the spaces around the collar of the jacket and the neck, should make the technique effective.

Do not try to squeeze by pulling uke’s neck in close to your chest as in hadaka-jime, using the strength of the arms.

Try lather to slide your upper body away from uke. The feeling is of a fairly long pull through the back and shoulders, with the legs pushing uke down to achieve a hanging effect.

These techniques must be taught and supervised by a qualified instructor Do not attempt these moves without a qualified instructor!


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