John Danaher Explains Why Chokes Are Superior to Heel Hooks

John Danaher Explains Why Chokes Are Superior to Heel Hooks

“For the choke, there are no “tough guys”. With an arm lock he can be tough and resist the pain. With the choke he just passes out, goes to sleep.”

Helio Gracie

Setting up chokes is an invaluable skill that every serious grappler needs in their submission arsenal.

These chokes are powerful tools whether gi or no gi, sport, mma, self defense, etc.

Here’s what famed coach John Danaher had to say on difference between chokehold and strangle:

“Stranglehold or chokehold? My long suffering students will attest that I often show a fastidiousness that can make me a rather unpleasant person to be around at times .one mistake that is guaranteed to evoke a nasty reaction is the very common tendency for students of jiu jitsu to confuse strangleholds and chokes. It is of the greatest importance that students gain a deep understanding of the workings of the human body – this is an art – and your canvas is the human body – learn as much as you can about it and your jiu jitsu will improve. A choke refers to the act of obstructing the passage of air to the lungs.

So for example, if you swallow food too clumsily, you can be choked. Strangulation refers to the very different action of restricting blood to the brain, usually by constricting the carotid arteries in the neck. Chokes can take up to several minutes to render a well conditioned person unconscious. Strangles will do the same in around ten seconds. Due to the fact that the airways are in close proximity to the carotid arteries, most strangleholds will also incidentally have a choking effect and vice versa – but always it is the intention of the jiu jitsu player to strangle, rather than choke, an opponent due to the much greater efficiency of the former.

Therefore, it ought to be standard practice to refer to our attacks to the neck as strangles rather than chokes (and please avoid the nonsensical phrase “blood choke”) Here, young Nicky Ryan works on his strangles – a move he and his brother show great proficiency in, while his notoriously nit-picky and obsessive sensei looks on approvingly.”

For John Danaher, the most superior submission is the strangle/choke.

He explains why he favors chokes over any other submission:

“In a match or a street fight, you can heel hook someone and they can keep on fighting if they are tough. With a strangles, there is no compromise. They will go to sleep.”

John Danaher shows some amazing game changing details to applying a perfect rear naked choke here: