Are Chokes Allowed In BJJ?

Chokes are one of the most efficient submissions. No matter how tough someone is if they are unconscious they won’t be able to continue attacking you. This can’t be said for other submissions such as joint locks where a crazy person hopped on adrenaline and drugs can often power through the pain or a mangle limb to continue to assault you. Now we know that chokes are a very powerful submission but can you use the in BJJ? Lets find out!

Are chokes allowed in BJJ?

Yes, chokes are allowed in BJJ and are some of the most popular submissions. BJJ teaches a variety of chokes such as rear naked choke, guillotine and darce. If you train BJJ you will become an expert at chokes. The only chokes that are banned in BJJ are where you wrap your hands around an opponents neck and squeeze or where you crush the windpipe with your thumb.

What Chokes Are Illegal In BJJ?

In BJJ it is illegal to strangle your opponent without using the gi, by squeezing your hands around your opponent’s neck or apply pressure to your opponent’s windpipe using your thumb. It is also illegal to block the passage of air to your opponent’s nose or mouth using yours hands.

If you use these choking techniques you will be disqualified from competition. Some competitions allow the last style of choke where you cover your opponent’s nose or mouth with your hand. This choke is known as a muffler and is banned in IBJJF and most major tournaments. It is a very unpleasant technique as you slowly suffocate. Vagner Rocha is famous for using this move and he has received some backlash as it is looked down upon as being a cheap and painful technique.

What Is The Most Popular Choke In BJJ?

The most popular choke in BJJ is the rear naked choke. It is a fundamental submission and as the submission is attacked from the back it makes it very hard for an opponent to defend against.

You will often learn the rear naked choke on your first day in BJJ. This isn’t just because it is a simple move it also happens to be incredibly effective. If you want to be choking people out you need to learn and master the rear naked choke.

Rear naked chokes work at all levels of BJJ. You will see white belts all the way to world class black belts submitting people with rear naked chokes. The submission is highly effective as it requires little energy to finish and as you are wrapped around your opponent’s back when you are finishing the move you are at little danger of being attacked and your opponent has little chance of escape.

Are Chokes The Most Effective Submission?

Chokes are a highly effective submission as they do not require a lot of strength to finish and they can put a person unconscious within seconds. This is why you regularly see chokes in MMA and the UFC, with the rear naked choke being the most common submission.

Wouldn’t you love the ability to always knock someone out every time you threw a punch. You would be undefeatable in a fight. Well chokes sort of give you this power. If you learn how to choke someone correctly in BJJ then every time you get into a fight and lock your arms around your attacker’s neck you will be able to choke them unconscious within 10 seconds. This is like a super power which you can easily achieve after training BJJ consistently for 6 months.

The great thing about chokes is that they are easy to learn. After a few month of training BJJ you will know a number of chokes and be able to use them effectively on your training partners. After 6 months of training you should have no problem choking out an attacker in a street fight.

The key to choking effectively is focusing on strength and squeezing but proper hand place and movement. With a rear naked choke it is less of a squeeze but a pulling motion. You want to ensure your hands are secured tightly around your opponent, not allowing any space. To increase the pressure you actually want to involve your whole body and bridge into your opponent at the time you are clamping down and pulling your across their throat.

When done correctly a tight rear naked choke should put your opponent to sleep in under 10 seconds.

Are Chokes Dangerous?

Chokes can be dangerous if they held on for too long. If you hold a choke for over a minute you can cause permanent brain damage. If you hold a choke for over 2 minutes you can kill a person. If you release a choke immediately after the person goes unconscious the chances of permanent injury are extremely low.

When you are choking someone you need to be careful how you place them after they go unconscious. If you are both standing and you choke someone unconscious and you just release them they can fall and seriously injure themselves. You need to make sure you gently lower to them ground otherwise they could hit their head suffer a serious brain injury.

Training chokes during BJJ is pretty safe. As long as you tap before you go unconscious you should not suffer any side effects. To decrease your chance of injury you tap early and not wait until you lose your blood supply to your brain. As you soon as you feel trapped and you can’t escape just tap. Don’t wait for your training partner to start squeezing and definitely don’t wait until your vision goes black.

Freak accidents can occur when choking someone during BJJ training. A number of people have suffered strokes from being choked due to choke tearing arteries causing clots which can result in a stroke. To avoid suffering a stroke during BJJ you need to tap early and do not try to twist and squirm when you are caught as this can increase your chance of tearing an artery.

Can You Use Chokes In A Street Fight?

Yes, you can use chokes in a street fight. Chokes are highly effective in a street fight as you can put a much larger attacker unconscious within 10 seconds. You do need to be careful because if you hold a choke for more than a minute you can cause permanent brain damage to your attacker and over 2 minutes you can kill them.

The great thing about using chokes in a street fight is that it doesn’t matter how big your attacker is if you cut off their blood supply to their brain they will pass out very quickly. This isn’t the case for other submissions. If there is a large size advantage it can be difficult to break someones arm or shoulder.

A rear naked choke is a great technique to use in a street fight. Not only will you end the fight quickly but as you are behind your attacker they will not be able hit you and you will safe from their attacks in the few seconds it takes to put them to sleep.

There is a reason that the rear naked choke is the most common submission in MMA because it is so damn effective. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to finish a street fight then the rear naked choke needs to be in your arsenal.


Not only are chokes legal in BJJ but they are a major part of sport. The rear naked choke is one of the most popular submissions in BJJ. The only chokes that are not allowed in BJJ are where you wrap your hands around your opponent’s neck and squeeze, where you crush your opponent’s windpipe with your thumb or where you place your hands over your opponent’s mouth.

Even though chokes are allowed in BJJ you need to be careful when training them. Chokes can cause permanent brain damage or even death if they are held for too long. Also there is growing evidence that chokes can cause strokes by tearing arteries in your neck. So please be careful and tap early if you are caught in a choke.

If you get into a street fight chokes can be a highly effective way to finish a fight as they will render your attacker unconscious very quickly irrespective of their size. However, you need to careful as if you hold the choke you may permanently injure your attacker, so remember to let go once they are unconscious and lower them slowly to the ground. You don’t want to drop them on their head.

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