One of the most common and terrifying attacks in the street is the choke/strangle. A well applied choke/strangle can cause unconsciousness in 6-10 seconds. The immediate fear and panic can cause the victim to be “frozen” The fear that one’s life could end is totally over whelming. Normally, if the choke or strangle in released after several seconds, the victim will generally revive by him/herself. If however, the choke/strangle is held on for an extended period of time, death will result. What can the average person do to free themselves and escape?

First, let’s define the difference between a choke/strangle. The reader may be asking at this point; what do I care about the difference, as he or she is quickly sinking into unconsciousness. The difference can allow the “victim” precious seconds to avoid passing out. A “choke” is applied to the carotid artery, which runs along the sides of the neck. A “strangle” is applied to the larynx or Adams apple in the front of the neck. Now, a choke, also known as a blood choke, cuts off the blood flow to the brain causing unconsciousness quickly. The strangle, cuts off the air flow going to the lungs to produce unconsciousness. The blood choke basically doesn’t hurt, but you succumb quicker. The air choke is painful, plus there is mental fear of being suffocated.

Now the first two responses that should be done immediately are: 1. tighten the neck muscles, and 2. try to pull the attackers fingers, or hands, or arm , away from your neck. Just this simple response could give you valuable seconds to breathe. We must also remember that an attack could be: frontal, rear, side, on the ground, face-up, or face-down.

If the victim has been successful in grabbing the attackers fingers, various “finger-locking” techniques can be applied. Believe me folks, even a 250 pound attacker will not be able to withstand the intense pain when one or more fingers are broken or severely sprained. Another very plausible counter-attack is the eye poke. Jabbing the eyes will make any attacker stop in his tracks, as pain and panic overwhelm him. These are the opportunities to escape.

There are many other strikes to pressure points in the body, as well as joint-locking applications that are highly effective. These techniques do require serious study and training. However, I want to leave the reader with the hope that practical self-defense can be learned with dedicated practice, enabling the “victim” to defend and escape the highly dangerous choke/strangle.

Thank you for your time,

Tom B.
self-defense coach. .