One Simple Tip for Surviving the Smother

There’s nothing worse than tapping out to a smother. It is one thing to get caught in a nice technical choke and having to tap out, but it really sucks to get slowly smothered as someone covers your nose and mouth with some part of their body. It’s slow, it’s frustrating and it’s undignified. Sometimes the guy doesn’t even know that he’s doing it to you, which doesn’t make it any better…

Here’s a simple, but not commonly known, technique to survive the smother that I use all the time.

When your face is covered by someone’s gi, and there simply isn’t enough air coming into your mouth and nose, open your mouth as wide as it can go.

Most of the time the increased intake area will allow enough air to get into your lungs to survive and start plotting your escape and revenge.

This is particularly relevant when you are doing gi-jiujitsu (although it is occasionally useful in no-gi submission grappling as well). If your face is covered by someone’s gi and your mouth is just a little bit open, then you are trying to suck air through a relatively small area. If you open your mouth wide then you double or triple the area of gi you are breathing through, making life much better for you.

Give it a shot.  It may seem a bit silly reading about it right now, but it’s a lot better than tapping out.

Further reading: Many grapplers battle with claustrophobia as part of their training. Read this article to find out how to deal with Claustrophobia when you’re doing BJJ, Submission Grappling or MMA.

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