How many times have you been trying to choke out a training partner, straining and straining, then give up in disgust only to have him say, “Man, I was SO close to tapping out!!”
Or what about those times when you’ve been caught in a choke, see no way out, and your only defense is to hunker down and hope that your opponent will give up before you run out of air or blood to the brain?
The amazing thing is that this escape actually works! People give up too soon, and many chokes that would be effective if held just a little longer.
Chokes aren’t usually like joint locks. Typically an armlock or a leglock is a binary thing: either it’s on or it’s not.
Choking techniques, by contrast, have a spectrum of effectiveness…
Now, at one end some chokes are so powerful and perfectly applied that they take effect almost instantaneously. At the other end of the spectrum some chokes are so weak that you could hang out in the them for the entire match.
But in between these two extremes is a wide continuum. Some chokes just take a little longer than others, especially if all the little adjustments aren’t 100% perfect.
(Interestingly, the more pain-free a choke is the slower your opponent usually taps, even if it’s affecting his blood supply to the brain. But a choke that’s very painful – like a guillotine right across the trachea or a Brabo choke with the forearm just crunching into the side of the neck – often get your opponent to tap out a little bit faster unless he has a really high pain tolerance or is very motivated not to tap!)
To help you finish more chokes – including both painless blood chokes and painful air chokes – here’s a good guideline that I learned from my friend Elliott Bayev…
Once you apply a choke, hold it and slowly count to 10!
If you start doing this you’ll find that you start finishing a LOT more of your chokes!
This 10 second hold accomplishes a number of different goals…
It gives the technique time to cut off the blood to the brain, have your opponent fade to black and wake up unconscious.
It allows your sparring partner lose hope that you’re going to let him go, thus negating the hold-on-and-pray defense.
And it makes sure that you don’t go so hard that you blow out your grip in one last-ditch effort to make the choke come on instantly.
So, the next time you’re reefing on a collar choke or squeezing the crap out of a triangle choke just relax a tiny bit, settle in for the long haul, and slowly count to 10.
You’ll be amazed at how many more people you tap out!
More Articles About Choking People!
Adjustments to Make Your Triangle Choke More Powerful – Elliott Bayev takes you through the nuances of the triangle choke to take it from something that’ll eventually choke out your opponent to something that’ll get him tapping like crazy right now!
Recovering from Chokes and Strangles in Grappling – OK, so you’ve choked someone out and now they’re drooling face down on the mat. What do you do to bring them back around? Here’s part 1 and part 2 of this very important discussion…
How to Make Your Chokes Tighter with BJJ Choke Mechanics – Rob Biernacki shows you how to make ALL your chokes tighter by first breaking down the fundamental mechanics of choking, and then applying it to different situations in BJJ…