In BJJ, not all submissions are created equal. Some submissions are difficult to apply on bigger, stronger opponents. The Kimura, for example, is a highly effective technique, but it can also easily be countered by a strong opponent. Chokes, on the other hand, work on anyone regardless of size or strength. Below are some of the reasons that chokes in BJJ are so important.
BJJ Chokes Require Little Strength
“Strength doesn’t matter in BJJ.” We’ve all heard this a million times, and there is some truth in it. It’s certainly true that BJJ allows a smaller, weaker, less athletic person to neutralize the natural advantages of a bigger, stronger, more athletic opponent. However, strength is always a factor in any physical altercation, and some techniques are more effective on stronger opponents than others—the choke is one such technique.
Chokes are Great for Self-Defense
Strangles are available from almost every position. This makes them an extremely versatile submission. In addition to the sheer number of chokes available, many of them can be applied quickly with little noticeable setup. This makes chokes in BJJ a quick and effective submission option.
Chokes in BJJ Can Distract Your Opponent
Not only are chokes effective as submissions, but you can use them to set up other submissions. When you threaten your opponent with a choke, he or she must defend it. This often creates openings for additional attacks. And if your opponent fails to defend your choke attempt, you can finish the submission.
BJJ Chokes are Applicable in Self-Defense Situations
Chokes—particularly chokes that utilize the gi collar—are great for both sport BJJ and self-defense situations. Most self-defense scenarios (hopefully) involve two clothed opponents. This makes collar chokes extremely practical for self-defense purposes. In addition, as discussed above, BJJ chokes can be successfully applied on opponents of all sizes, making them particularly effective in the street.
They Put Attackers to Sleep
Finally, chokes can leave your opponent totally incapacitated. When you place prolonged pressure on your opponent’s carotid arteries, he or she will eventually pass out due to a lack of blood flow to the brain. Obviously, this should rarely happen in training, as we must always prioritize the health and safety of our training partners. However, in self-defense scenarios, the ability to incapacitate an attacker long enough to safely retreat is crucial. While joint locks are effective, only a properly executed BJJ choke is guaranteed to incapacitate an attacker.
Don’t Sleep on the Power of the Strangle
If you train BJJ, you must devote a portion of your training to developing your BJJ chokes. Given the variety of chokes in BJJ, you shouldn’t sleep on the strangle!