Recovery From Chokes & Strangles

If you practice chokes and strangles long enough you will eventually choke someone partially or fully unconscious – because some strangles are not very painful people can even go unconscious without realizing it. This is not an inherently dangerous situation so long as you follow a few safety precautions.

The first time I saw someone strangled fully unconscious it was frightening. A competitor at a local tournament was being strangled and resisted tapping a little bit too long. At first he just lay there unresponsive. Then he emitted a very loud snoring/gurgling sound. Then he started to shake and quiver as if he was having a ‘gentle’ epileptic seizure. Finally he awoke, looking somewhat sheepish and embarrassed. The whole thing took about 10 seconds, but seemed a lot longer to me.

Now not everyone who gets strangled out will respond the same way – a lot depends on how deeply unconscious the person is and how long the strangle is held. Sometimes they’ll snore and sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they’ll shake uncontrollably and sometimes they won’t. People can even lose bladder control if the choke/strangle is held too long (fortunately this is a fairly rare occurrence).

If you DO throttle someone fully out then here are some safety precautions you should know about:

  1. Be aware of your opponent’s level of consciousness. People don’t always know they’re about to pass out, and some people won’t tap to chokes. This is especially true if you ever use a choke in self-defense: with all the chaos and adrenaline you might hold the strangle for a lot longer than necessary.
  2. Release the hold as soon as possible. Continuing a strangle after someone is unconscious is very dangerous.
  3. Roll the person onto their side (unless you also suspect spinal injury). By placing them onto their side you are ensuring that their airway remains open – many people die when they lie unconscious flat on their backs.
  4. if they remain unconscious for more than 20 SECONDS call for medical help and initiate artificial respiration and/or CPR

I know that this is all scary stuff, but keeping these safety precautions in mind helps keep choking amd strangling relatively safe. Hundreds of thousands of chokes have been applied in Judo and Jiu-jitsu for centuries with very few resultant injuries.

Finally, here’s one more very effective way to choke somebody, and you don’t even need to be touching their neck to do it!

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