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The 3 Best Choke Hold Techniques for Self-Defense

In this article you will discover the 3 best choke hold techniques for self-defense. It includes the rear naked choke, the guillotine choke, and the arm triangle choke. 

You will also learn how to escape a choke hold. 

Choke Hold Safety

Learning how to choke hold correctly will allow you to render an opponent unconsciousness within 10 seconds. It is important to disengage the neck choke as soon as your opponent goes limp. Continuing to apply any of these wrestling choke holds for longer than that will lead to brain damage and eventually death. 

In most cases, your opponent will regain consciousness within 30 seconds, so escape as soon as he’s out.

In training, let go as soon as your opponent taps out.

How to Apply the Guillotine Choke

The guillotine is on of the best front choke hold techniques there are. To apply the guillotine choke, wrap your arm around the back of your opponent’s neck and under the front of it. His head should be to the side of your torso. 

Your palm should face your chest, so that the top of your wrist cuts into his throat just below his Adam’s apple. Use your other hand to grasp your first hand and pull up into yourself with both hands. Keep your feet in the fighter’s stance for balance.

For an alternative grip, place your other hand on his shoulder. Grab your forearm with your first hand and arch your back to apply the chokehold.

How to apply the guillotine choke.
Applying the guillotine choke.

Defense Against Being Tackled

Applying the guillotine is a good self-defense choke hold because you can use it to counter to the common tackle. 

As your opponent comes in, widen your legs and drop your weight on top of him from your center of gravity. You can drop your elbow into his back at the same time, and/or punch him in the ribs.

Apply the guillotine

Using the guillotine choke for self-defense against the common tackle.
Using the guillotine choke for self-defense against the common tackle.

Guillotine on the Ground

If you lose your balance and end up on the ground, wrap your legs around your opponent and cross your ankles to lock him in.

Push him away with your legs while pulling his neck towards your chin.

How to do the guillotine choke on the ground.
How to do the guillotine choke on the ground.

How to do a Sleeper Hold

The sleeper hold (rear naked choke) is probably the most famous MMA choke hold there is, and for good reason. Learning how to get out of a rear choke hold is very difficult if it is applied correctly.

Place his trachea is at the crook of your elbow. 

If your right arm is around his neck, grab your left bicep with your right hand. Put your left hand behind his head and squeeze your elbows together.

Applying the rear naked choke.
Applying the rear naked choke.

If needed, force him to expose his neck by pulling up at his eyes or scraping your forearm under his nose. 

To sneak up on someone (to help a friend, for example), come in below his line of sight. That way, if he turns around, you have a few more moments before he spots you.

Rear Naked Choke on the Ground

When ground fighting, the best position to be in is the rear mount, applying the rear naked choke. In this position, you’re on your opponent’s back, facing the same way. Both your legs are wrapped around him, with your heels “hooked” inside his legs. 

Do not cross your feet. 

Apply the sleeper hold.

Applying the rear naked choke on the ground.
Applying the rear naked choke on the ground.

How to do the Arm Triangle Choke

Like the rear naked choke, the arm choke hold is a classic carotid artery choke hold. 

To apply the elbow choke, place one arm under your opponent’s neck. Grab your wrist with your other hand and squeeze tight so your shoulder and bicep cut of his blood supply. It will work better if his arm is between your head and his neck, as that will close the gap.

Alternatively, use your shoulder and opposite fist to squeeze on his arteries.

How to do the triangle choke on the ground.
Applying the arm triangle choke on the ground.

You can apply this from the side or from behind, on the ground or standing, though the rear naked choke is more effective.

How to do the arm triangle choke while standing.
Applying the arm triangle choke from the side.

How to Get Out of a Choke Hold

When learning how to break a choke hold, the principles are the same whether you are choked from behind on the front. Your first priority is to free your airway.

Adopt the elbow-burst position as best as you can.

How to escape choke holds.
Using the elbow burst to escape choke holds.

Slide your hands down your head and hook them down hard on your attacker’s forearm, preferably at his wrist. 

As soon as a gap is a created, tuck your chin to your shoulder. 

Attack and struggle to get your head out.

As a last resort, bite him. Shaking your head while you bite will cause more pain. 

The above is good as a rear naked choke defense as well as side and front chokes. 

Another way to escape the guillotine, if the above doesn’t work, is to arch your back to bring your head up and away from your attacker. Place your hands on his hips if you need to.

Move your head across his belly to free it.

Escaping the guillotine choke hold.
How to escape the guillotine choke hold.

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How to do Choke Holds Conclusion

Now you know three different choke holds for self-defense, as well as how to escape them. When practicing these ufc choke holds, safety is paramount. Remember to let go as soon as your training partner taps out.

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