Fighting Back – Choke Holds

A two-hand choke hold is used to control.  The assailant would like to instill a sense of fear, then move you to another location or choke you to unconsciousness.  Your carotid arteries are on either side of your neck and control blood flow to your head, and especially your brain.  If the assailant has clamped down on both arteries you have from 8-12 seconds to escape before you pass out.  You must break out of this hold quickly and decisively.


If your assailant is choking you from the front, put your hands together to make a fist with your elbows at shoulder width.  Then step forward with your strong leg and drive your hands upward like a wedge.  Don’t push upward – drive upward hard, as though your life depended on it.  His hands should come off moving both up and out at the same time.  That will open his face up for a finger thrust to his eyes, a knuckle strike to his throat, a palm heel to his face or an elbow to his face.  You can add a stomp to his foot as you step forward.  You may break his choke but it doesn’t mean he’ll quit.  Continue to fight.


If he chokes you from the rear, step forward with your strong foot or slightly back with your weak foot.  Let’s say you stepped forward with your right foot.  Now lift your left arm high.  Quickly pivot counter clockwise.  Your hips should quickly pivot a full 180 degrees so that you are now facing your assailant.  Your raised arm and twisting neck will free you from his choke.  Now strike fast and hard with a palm heel to his face, knuckles to his throat, a knee to his groin or kicks to his shins.  You’re free from the choke but it’s not over until he quits or you’ve gained the freedom to escape.



In each of these moves the key is to act decisively.  You won’t be able to shove your way to freedom.  You must jerk rather than tug and strike rather than push.   Do not stop fighting until it’s safe to do so.

These videos are provided as examples of how to escape choke holds.  Use the principles and experiment to see what works best for you.  There are no guarantees.  If you think you’ve got a better way to do it, great.  Drop me a line.


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