Judo Chokes SHIME WAZA (Strangulation Techniques)

Judo chokes (Shime Waza) is a subtle technique that requires more attention than any other technique in Judo. For the conscientious student, this is an art that takes time to learn.

In Kodokan Judo, the general description implies that you use your hands, arms, or legs to apply pressure to the opponent’s throat or neck. The manuals on this are comprehensive. However, they do not point out a specific area where the pressure is applied.

There are three ways of choking your opponent, according to Shime Waza (Judo Chokes):

  • Restricting the blood flow to the brain by compressing the carotid arteries.
  • Restricting the flow of air to the lungs by compressing the windpipe.
  • Preventing the opponent from breathing by compressing the chest and lungs.

These methods are used in both Judo and BJJ, with mild differences. Many different terms are used like; neck locks, choking, strangling, or wringing. Regardless of the terms, they are all categorized under a class of Shime (constriction) Waza (technique) (grappling techniques). Compression or constriction is synonymous with all Shime Waza techniques.

Strangulation is the first choking method that is taught in Judo classes. This technique requires little force and if applied correctly, renders the opponent unconscious. This is effective against all kinds of opponents and goes in line with the Judo principle of “maximum effect with minimum effort”.

This is a safer choking method when compared with others and is less painful. Additionally, it is easier to learn and practice. There are entire books written on this technique, and this is perhaps necessary to learn to progress in Judo. This choke is commonly used in BJJ since there is more ground game.

Judo has a comprehensive syllabus that contains wide-ranging choking techniques. These techniques are taught by qualified instructors who have extensive experience and proven expertise in the correct application of chokes. In Judo, chokes are taught to temporarily incapacitate an opponent. However, they are quite harmless. For over 100 years, there hasn’t been a single fatality in Judo tournaments or Judo classes. That is why safety provisions are of utmost importance. And an experienced instructor will prioritise this over everything else.

Instructors take great care when they teach chokes to new students. They are always conducted under strict supervision.

In both BJJ and Judo, chokes can be applied on the ground or in a standing position. In a tournament, the objective of the choke is to take the opponent to the ground for a quick victory and to ensure that the opponent does not fall and injure himself.

Students are taught to release the pressure immediately after an opponent has submitted. This is an essential safety rule of Judo and BJJ. Students are taught to be sensitive towards their opponents and know when they have given up. When an opponent loses consciousness, it can be detected easily, as the opponent’s body will feel limp.

Instructors teach this vigorously under supervision to make sure that everyone practising Judo or BJJ remains safe from injuries.