I was reading an interview last night with BJJ great Rickson Gracie. During the interview he was asked what he thought were the best submission holds for use in a real fight.
He said that while he really liked the armlock and kneebar if he had to pick, chokeholds would always be his first choice.
Why choose a choke over a joint lock?
He made a very good point about why he’d go with the choke over joint lock. He said that with an armlock you could break an attacker’s arm and they might keep fighting (this is very true) but with a choke, once it’s on it’s submit or go to sleep. It’s pretty hard to put up a fight when you’re unconscious.
I’ve got my own story regarding chokes and jointlocks.
About 20 years ago back in my old neighborhood in Philly I got attacked by one of the local tough guys. At the time I’d been doing BJJ for a little over a year and was a fresh blue belt.
During the first 15 seconds of the fight, I got my hands locked around his midsection and used a takedown called a “bodylock” to send him from the feet onto ground.
Once on the ground I immediately lunged into an armlock. I cranked on this guys arm and heard it pop 3-4 times. Even so, he kept on fighting, and was super upset I did that to him.
I learned a very valuable lesson that day. Even with a mangled up arm, there’s some folks who’ve able to keep fighting, as this knucklehead did.
About 30 seconds later I throw on a super tight rear naked choke and he went to sleep, fight over. I’ve got to give him credit, he’s a tough dude.
The point I’m trying to make is that Rickson was right all along. If ever in a street situation, your first technique choice to stop an attacker should be chokes, followed by jointlocks if needed.
The chokes I recommend are the rear naked, guillotine and head/arm. Those are really strong, fundamentally sound moves.
I’ve included below some great videos focused on different choke holds and the proper technique to apply them.
Study up and pay close attention to the details. Like I always tell the kids, the devil’s in the details.