What Happens When You Get Choked Out in BJJ

What Happens When You Get Choked Out in BJJ

1. Introduction

Brazillian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that includes various methods and techniques. In jiu-jitsu, the choke method is also used and can be applied in different positions. Chokes are also part of other martial arts. Chokes are applied to the practitioner to render unconscious. It stops the flow of the air or blood in the body. Chokes are one of the crucial characteristics of grappling-based combat arts, including submissions like Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Luta Livre, and Wrestling. Chokes are the lethal weapon in the grappling arsenal.

While training jiu jitsu there are chances to receive the rear neck choke. In this article, we will dive deep into the mechanism that what happens inside the body being choked. 

2. Choke Out in BJJ

In BJJ the athletes acquire the skill of choking but not with brutal force. A choke that is applied can be an air choke or blood choke to subdue even the most arduous opponent. Brazilian jiu-jitsu provides a collection of chokes, that an athlete can apply the chokes from various positions which could be from the mount, guard, side control, and front headlock.

There are several varieties of chokes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) , that tend to stop the flow of air and blood at once. Most of the chokes are strangles, for instance, triangle choke, rear neck choke (RNC), bow and arrow choke, arm choke, loop choke, north-south choke, anaconda choke, and baseball choke.

Choke out is a situation in BJJ that leads the opponent to syncope or they might lose consciousness. This is due to the blockage of blood or air following to the brain.

3. What Happens When You Get Choked Out?

There are considerably more factors that are being considered from the factors of type, duration, and the force that is inserted for the choke. In combat strategy the chokehold can cause unconsciousness, it is a hand-to-hand technique that is used to subdue even the mighty contender. Chokes comprise two major categories: blood choking and air choking.

Most of the athletes go into a panic state and tap too early when they are choked. The fighter might feel a sudden pain in the neck area that is not a sign of choking. The other sign that comes about is hearing a low-pitched buzzing sound is considered the mark of being choked, the feeling of lightheadedness will arouse, and an athlete might see a light moving away rapidly. 

What Happens When You Get Choked Out?

3.1. Unconsciousness occurs

Getting choked is a serious position that leads to defeat, it is a lethal move that can put the practitioner in an uncomfortable position that causes unconsciousness .

The consequences of choking are the lack of oxygen and metabolic disturbances in the brain. Unconsciousness occurs approximately 10 to 14 seconds after being choked. After the release of pressure, the grappler can breathe without any trouble it takes only 10 to 20 seconds. The appearance of a pale color is due to the disturbance in blood pressure.

3.2. Air Chokes

Air chokes occur by disrupting breathing for a long period. Such types of chokes are not as deadly as blood chokes as they can be reserved in a few seconds. Moreover, it does not lead the body to get in a state of unconsciousness.

In air chokes, the pressure is applied to the larynx and trachea, the cartilage passage is disrupted and the windpipe closes rapidly. The air could not pass through and the stopped breathing causes unconsciousness.

It is considered the worst situation in which a choked person faces the trouble to breathe.

3.3. Blockage of Blood Flow

Chokes result in inhibiting the flow of the blood to the brain. Blood vessels are present at both sides of the neck, known as Carotid Artery. During a choke-out around the neck carotid arteries are compressed and suddenly the flow of blood arises As the supply of blood is interrupted the brain becomes unconscious at once.

The rise in the blood pressure causes the arteries of the brain to get wider, this condition is also known as vasodilation. In this situation, there is a rapid decrease in the supply of blood in the brain causing the contender to get into a state of unconsciousness. 

3.4. Damage of Brain cells

During a choke, the supply of the blood is reduced and the cells in the brain do not get the proper supply of oxygen. If the choke is extended from seconds to minutes, it causes severe and permanent damage to the brain.

3.5. Hypertension

Hypertension is a condition in which there is a sudden increase in blood pressure, that leads to a higher risk of strokes. The blood pressure in the arteries is elevated at once, even the athlete who is not prone to hypertension will suffer from the described situation. 

3.6. Sudden Headache

When an athlete is undergoing a blood choke, they will sense a sudden pressure on the head, this is because the brain is deprived of oxygen. 

3.7. Convulsions

The chokes in Brazilian Jiiu jitsu take the athlete to the position of convulsion, in which the muscles of a body contract and relax rapidly. It results in the sudden shaking of the body which is similar to the epileptic seizure. 

3.8. Impact on the Body

Following are some of the related physical conditions that are faced by the grapplers during a choke:

  • In RNC (rear neck choke) pressure is exerted on the larynx and trachea that produces excruciating pain.
  • Due to the disturbance in the carotid arteries and jugular veins, the color of the face changes rapidly.
  • After being choked the grappler went into an unconscious state after 10 to 14 seconds.
  • The unconsciousness occurs due to the sudden lack of oxygen.

3.9. Scientific study

Let's find out the psychological mechanism during the chokes. Dr. Charle Moore is an emergency trauma specialist he is a BJJ practitioner and discussed the body condition during a choke. 

Dr. Charlie states that the rear naked choke is a “so-called blood choke ([one of] those that impede blood flow from the heart to the brain),” as opposed to an “asphyxia choke (those that obstruct airflow, commonly by way of windpipe compression).”

He further states that:

‘Application of the RNC first causes compression of the jugular vein, significantly hindering blood return from the head (and brain) to the heart. The recipient begins to feel flushed – engorged in the face and brow. Further pressure narrows the carotids and reduces the blood flow to the brain.”

The Evidence of choking to death is extremely rare in a combat sports setting. In short, the records state no death record as a direct result of a choke-out in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

4. FAQ

4.1. Does choking cause permanent damage to the body?

If choking is not done properly it might lead to disastrous changes in the body that may include the:

  1. When the choke is performed with a person who has hypertension and cardiac disorder.
  2. The choking practice in young BJJ athletes can lead to serious nerve issues as the bodies of the kids are underdeveloped.
  3. If a fighter continues to hold an opponent in an unconscious state it leads to utter damage in the nervous system.

Permanent and lasting damage can happen when a choke is applied too long:

  • Deprivation of oxygen for 10 to 60 seconds leads to an unconscious state.
  • After a minute the cells of the brain cells get damaged
  • After 3 minutes the brain damage gets severe.
  • After 5 minutes death occurs

4.2. What is the effect of choking on the body?

The arteries are targeted in the choke that suddenly stops the following of the blood to the brain, leading to discoloration on the face. Carotid is the primary source that provides blood to the brain. At the back of the neck, the arteries along the side of the cervical spine also get blocked. Both front and back areas of the neck are blocked which instantly stops the flow of the blood to the brain and the opponent gets into the state of unconsciousness.

Dr. Charlie describes the effect of choking on a body:

“You lock the choke, compressing venous outflow. The face gets flushed. The choke tightens down, the opponent’s carotids narrow, blood flow falls below a critical level, the vision closes in, and consciousness is lost.”

5. Bottom Line

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners come across situations in which they are being choked but there are multiple ways to get out of it as well. That can be achieved by effective training sessions. You can not avoid getting the chokes in BJJ. Getting choked out is an extremely dangerous condition, but it can be done safely. Most BJJ grapplers do chokes in a safe and controlled situation. Moreover, it leads to the opponent getting into the tapping situation.

Related Readings

Reading next

Lucas Lisboa - BJJ Black Belt
Ilia Topuria - World’s First Spanish UFC Champion

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.