Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Strangle Defense

recious seconds can slip by all too easily if you concentrate solely on wrestling with an attacker’s arms during a strangle attack on the ground.

Inevitably, most people, fueled by surprise and panic, tend to wrestle with the strangle hold itself, trying to clear some passage to safety before loss of consciousness ensues.

With the attacker’s weight pressing down hard against the throat, and with the ground beneath holding firm, your throat is essentially caught in a vice. My suggestion is not to respond to the attack from inside the vice. (There are folks who try to split the strangle hold apart sideways with a wedge-like block. We’ve tried this over and over again in practise and it hardly ever works, especially against determined opponents).

Attack the soft points behind the grip - throat, eyes, temple, groin...

Attack the soft points behind the strangle hold –eyes, throat, groin, temples, hair, ears, nose…and attack them quickly and relentlessly.  All the while, press your chin downward, minimizing the area under attack and placing some pressure against his grip.

Let’s say the defender has all of seven seconds to respond to the attack before consciousness begins slipping away. That’s the premise I use. In a timed drill, I teach my students to perform two to three strikes for every second. If my math is correct, that’s fourteen strikes at the conservative end of the scale. Fourteen strikes – from the eyes, to the throat, to the temple, to the groin and back up to the head and throat again.

The photos show our friend Matthew, the attacker, at some distance away from Sensei Magwood. Most attackers, to give the attack that extra oomph, will push their heads down into the attack, presenting the defender with targets that are much more accessible.

Weapons? – groin grabs and pull; fingers into the throat; double or single slaps to the temples; ear pulls and twists; thumb or finger or claw attacks to the eyes; the heel of the palm under his nose; elbow strikes across from the sides against the sides of the head; biting anything you can sink your teeth into…

Sustain the counterattack...even though you're free of the grip.

Never lie still. Twist from side to side with your shoulder, hips, legs as though you were lying on a hot bed of coals. Doing so will help loosen his grip as well as his balance. As soon as you feel his grip lessen, double the savagery of your counterattack.  At this point, most people try an escape. The attacker will try to hold onto you somehow. Doubling your efforts will see him rolling away which is exactly what you need to escape.

Escape...with all targets on your body protected.

I wish to thank Matthew Page and Sensei/Sifu Greg Magwood for their assistance. Greg Magwood is an outstanding instructor, with years of experience. He teaches Karate, Jiu Jitsu, My Jong Law Horn, Hsing I, Yang Tai Chi and I Chuan. During his extensive travels, he also trained in Kalaripayattu in the south of India and spent  time training at a monastery in Thailand. He can be reached at -


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