Techniques>Chokes and strangles>Choke and strangle techniques

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Choke and strangle techniques


A good choke or strangle should render the opponent unconscious quickly and without injury.

Basic requirements

Basic requirements for applying an effective choke or strangle are:
  • Make sure your body always has complete freedom of action so that you are in the best position for the technique you intend to use and that you are flexible enough to respond to your opponent's attempts to escape. Your position should be stable so you can use your entire body in applying the technique.
  • Lead your opponent into a position where it is most difficult for him or her to resistance, and easier for you to control his or her actions. Your opponent must be unstable and under your control as much as possible. Very often, this means stretching out your opponent's body backward.
  • Train your hands to get an accurate hold the minute you begin a technique, make your choke or strangle work in a very brief time, and once you begin the pressure, refrain from continually releasing pressure to adjust your position. Your techniques will have much greater effect if you are firmly resolved not to let your opponent get away and to continue until the end without slackening. The constancy of pressure, rather than extreme force, is the most effective. Excessive reliance on strength indicates a defect in the technique since very little pressure is needed to compress an artery and render a person unconscious.

Some choke and strangle techniques

The following chokes and strangles start from the hands and arms being held in a basic guard position with the hands held in fists just below cheekbones, with palms toward the face, and with the forearms almost vertical.
  • Normal cross lock. From the front with arms crossed with the hands (palms down), grasp the collars with the thumb inside. Then straighten the arms to apply pressure with the little finger knuckles.
  • Reverse cross lock. From the front with arms crossed with the hands (palms up), grasp the collars with the fingers inside. Then straighten the arms and rotate the wrists inward to apply pressure with the little finger side of the wrists.
  • Half cross lock. From the front, grasp the collars with one hand fingers-in and one hand thumb-in and rotate the bottoms of the fists inward.
  • Naked lock. From the rear, place the forearm in front of the throat and pull back against the throat. 
  • Front naked lock. Sometimes called the guillotine. From the front, one hand grabs opposite collar, then push the forearm against windpipe while the other hand grabs other collar and pulls. 
  • Sliding collar lock. From the rear, one hand reaches around the neck grasping the collar as the other hand reaching under the arm to the opposite collar.
  • One-hand choke. From the front or side, reach across the throat and grabs the opposite collar. Then press the forearm against the throat.
  • Two-hand choke. From the front, grab the collar with the thumbs inside and turn angle your fists downward and outward so the thumbs press into the sides of the neck.
  • Sleeve wheel choke. From the front, reach around the back of the neck and grab the back of the collar with one hand. Reach the other hand across in front of the throat and grab your sleeve while pressing the forearms against the throat.
  • Thrust choke. From the front, grasp a lapel and push the fist directly into the side of the neck.
  • Sleeper hold. From rear place an arm around person’s throat using the biceps area and the inner forearm of the arm to press against the carotid arteries on either side of the neck. The hand of the choking arm hooks into the inside elbow of the other arm, and the hand of that arm goes behind the head of the person, locking in the hold. Then pull the arm around the neck upward and inward while tensing the biceps.
  • Koiwai, E. K. (1999). How Safe is Choking in Judo?
  • Ohlenkamp, Neil. (1995). Principles of Judo Choking Techniques. [Online]. Available: [2004, December 31]. Used with permission.

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