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Medical Correct Chokehold technique

  1. Jan 21, 2008 #1
    Alright, just something thats been bothering me. My knowledge of BJJ says that when you have your opponent in a secure chokehold and apply the right pressure( which isnt that much at all) no matter what size opponent they will pass out. Ive learned that it only takes like 3.8 psi to stop the bloodflow through the arteries and veins in the neck. Someone was trying to tell me that if they have really big strong neck muscles you wont be able to compress their veins and arteries enough to make them pass out. I just wanted to prove to him you can flex your neck muscles all you want but that isnt going to keep your arteries and veins from being compressed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2008 #2


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    I'm not at all sure of what a "choke hold" accomplishes, but I can help you out with the anatomy here. The most external major blood vessels in the neck are the external jugular veins. These you can occlude fairly easily with fairly mild pressure (we commonly access these veins in veterinary applications...and the pressure applied to occlude them sufficiently to "puff" them up and get a blood sample from them varies from light pressure with one's thumb in an animal such as a sheep or goat, to leaning one's entire fist with quite a bit of weight behind it for a cow). You'd have a much harder time compressing the other large vessels in the neck. The internal jugular veins are quite deep. The external carotid arteries are located deep to the trachea and surrounded by muscles. If you were to apply enough pressure to compress the carotid arteries, you're likely also applying enough pressure to crush the trachea, which in and of itself would "choke" the person and cause serious damage. Because the vessels in the neck are supplying the brain with blood, and this is so important to survival, there are redundant systems built in. It would be quite difficult to apply external pressure sufficient to occlude all those vessels.

    I will caution you NOT to attempt such a maneuver if it results in someone passing out. That means that oxygen is being deprived to the brain, and is quite dangerous, possibly even deadly.
  4. Jan 21, 2008 #3
    Long ago, I learned, and used, the classic chokehold. Moonbear speaks the truth - it crushes the windpipe. People frequently die from it.
  5. Jan 21, 2008 #4

    Doc Al

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    One must distinguish two main types of "chokes": So-called "blood" chokes (often called strangles or "sleeper" holds) versus "air" chokes where the trachea is crushed. It's the first type that easyrider is talking about.

    Done correctly, there is very little pressure on the trachea with a strangle. The sides of the neck are squeezed off and it's lights out. Compared to a trachea choke, the sleeper is relatively harmless and quite humane. (I don't advise taking it to completion--you never know if someone's blood vessels will recover cleanly. Especially with geezers like myself.) In sportive play, like jiu-jitsu, the "victim" has the opportunity to tap out if they cannot escape.

    One of the problems in applying such holds in real life (under high stress) is that it's very easy (for the poorly trained) to end up crushing the trachea. That's why many police departments have banned its use.
  6. Jan 22, 2008 #5
    So is it possible to make any real human pass out?
  7. Jan 22, 2008 #6


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  8. Jan 22, 2008 #7

    I've done BJJ myself.

    I believe it is more along the lines of ... Having extemely devoloped neck muscles makes it more difficult to get the correct position for the optimum choke.
  9. Jan 22, 2008 #8
    Yeah I see what youre saying, like someone who does shrug workouts and has a strong neck can shrug their shoulders up and tuck their chin harder.

    My friend tried to make the argument "well did you hear Frank Trigg after his fight with Matt Hughes? Frank Trigg said the reason he couldnt choke him out was because his neck was so strong it was like choking a cinder block."

    My reply was "well did you see the Penn-Hughes fight? BJ Penn choked Hughes out no problem and he is much less built than Trigg but has 10x the technique, doesnt matter how strong your neck is, with correct technique and position a 110 pound girl could choke out a 400 pound NFL lineman. As long as your arms can fit around the neck properly, you could choke out any mammal on earth if it would let you."

    His reply was " ................ "
  10. Jan 22, 2008 #9
    There are a lot of different chokes as mentioned here. In combat arts there are thumb chokes directly to the trachea (extremely dangerous). This type of choke will take down big and small men.

    Actually wikipedia has a good article on it.

    With this type of choke,
    large muscles will definitely help someone from getting choked out faster.

    Compare that to this,
    Notice how the attacker is using the bone of his arm to put pressure on the trachea. Unless someone can build muscles in front of their trachea, they are going down here (possibly forever).
  11. Jan 22, 2008 #10


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    I don't know my anatomy terminology, but there is a variant of that first one where you dig the heel of your thumb into the soft spot between the trachea and the neck muscle. IIRC, that's the carotid artery there up under your chin.
  12. Jan 22, 2008 #11


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  13. Jan 23, 2008 #12
    A carotid choke is much more IMMEDIATELY dangerous than a trachaea choke.

    That is, the carotid choke gets the job done quicker, and if held for the same amount of time it takes for the trachae choke to render unconsciousness, will most likely result in permanent damage.

    However, a person doing the carotid choke, has plenty of time to release the hold without any long term consequences. The trachae choker is likely going to damage the recipients trachae before the guy passes out.

    I maintain that the main advantage of a muscular neck is in restrictng access to the proper angle for the choke. In an extreme case, one might even have a hard time fitting his arm around the guys neck.

    On a related note, having demonstrated the rear naked choke on extremely small people, (tiny girls or young kids), in class, I've noted that the neck can be too SMALL to get an easy choke. Again, the technique and angle must be more optimized than when you do a rear naked on an "average" sized man.
  14. Jan 23, 2008 #13
    I agree, muscles only help with keeping the arms off, doesnt help at all if the choke is already secure. Russ, in the link you posted, theres a diagram in there which shows a top view of the neck and a persons arm around it, are the red parts being the carotid arteries?
  15. Jan 23, 2008 #14
    It should be noted that any loss of conciousness, no matter the hold, means brain damage, and any choke hold can be viewed as felony assault and battery.
  16. Jan 23, 2008 #15
    OK! I know the consequences, just wanting to know if any significant muscles seperate the carotid artery and skin and if these muscles would block the carotid from getting compressed?
  17. Jan 23, 2008 #16
    I don't know the exact anatomy or terminology, but areas around the trachea can be damaged and swell and then that swelling can cause death. Choke holds are dangerous...
  18. Jan 23, 2008 #17
    Alright, I understand with enough pressure applied to the sides of the neck that the trachea will be damaged, thanks for telling me for the thousandth time.

    Anyway, my question was answered here. Just like I thought, no significant muscle blocking the carotid, you would think with most predators going after this area that animals would have evolved to have more protection here. Guess its just one of those things that cant really get evolved to have.

    "Overlying this superior carotid triangle is only skin, superficial fascia which usually are thin although there may be an appreciable amount of subcutaneous fat. Within the superficial fascia is an exceedingly thin (paper-thin) muscle, platysma muscle, which begins in the tela subcutaneous over the upper part of the thorax, passes over the clavicle (collar bone), and runs upward and somewhat medially in the neck and across the mandible to blend with superficially located facial muscles. The platysma muscle has no very important action, but will wrinkle transversely the skin of the neck and help to open the mouth. 'This muscle does not protect the underlying vital structures.
    Consequently, the amount of pressure directed to the superior carotid trianile needs to be no more than 300 mm Hg to cause unconsciousness in an adult. A female can, if the choke is properly performed, without great strength "choke out" a male twice her size."

    Link: http://www.onthemat.com/articles/Anatomy_of_a_Choke_10_13_2005_page_4.html
  19. Jan 23, 2008 #18
    That's simply not true. Strangulations (i.e. blood chokes) are safe provided you let go soon enough. It only takes a few seconds if your choke is set correctly in order to make the guy go unconscious. You're still in the safe zone, because the brain needs to be deprived of oxygen for longer than that before it becomes damaged.

    If they caused brain damage simply buy causing unconsciousness, you'd have swarms of Judoka, BJJers, and MMAers that couldn't even tie their shoes.

    Granted, these guys know when to submit before blacking out, but it still happens. And people are fine.
  20. Jan 25, 2008 #19


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    I don't know how you've arrived at this conclusion. Any oxygen deprivation is going to begin to cause damage immediately. The extent of the damage may not be great enough to be detected behaviorally, or one may be able to recover fully from it, but that does not mean no damage occurred. You also cannot know of any underlying conditions someone may have that would make such a thing lethal.

    Since it seems the original question has been sufficiently answered, and now we're delving into territory of how to choke people rather than understanding anatomy, I'm closing this thread down.
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