Study – Locked In Chokes Take 9 Seconds To Full Unconsciousness

Adding to this database of combat sports safety studies, a paper was published this week addressing how long it takes fully locked in chokes applied by trained individuals to lead to full loss of consciousness against resisting opponents.  (Full disclosure- I volunteered as one of the “sportive choking experts” helping analyze the data).

The study, titled Time to unconsciousness from sportive chokes in fully resisting highly trained combatants, was published in The International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport.  In it a large sample of chokes to unconsciousness from mixed martial arts bouts were reviewed.  A panel of sportive choking experts reviewed the data to determine when the various chokes were fully locked in and when the subject being choked became fully unconscious.  A mean time of 9 seconds was revealed.  The choking categories of neck-only chokes and arm-in chokes were virtually identical to one another.  The hard data is informative and sheds light on the effective time to unconsciousness from a variety of known strangulation techniques.

In full 81 choke outs were analyzed.  These were broken down to 11 different types of known chokes which resulted in “no significant difference” in time to loss of consciousness.  More data existed for some chokes than others however ranking them from fasted mean time to opponent unconsciousness to slowest the following was revealed:

Bulldog Choke – 6.2 seconds

Arm Triangle – 7.2 seconds

D’Arce Choke – 8.6 seconds

Headlock – 8.8 seconds

Guillotine – 8.9 seconds

Rear Naked Choke – 8.9 seconds

North South Choke – 9.4 seconds

Anaconda Choke – 9.5 seconds

Triangle Choke – 9.5 seconds

Arm in Guillotine – 10.2 seconds

Von Flue Choke – 10.5 seconds

The full abstract which has just been published reads as follows:

Sportive chokes are neck compression techniques applied with the goal of ending a fight by causing loss of consciousness (LOC) or voluntary submission prior to LOC. Time to LOC has been established in compliant volunteers but not in trained resisting opponents. The objective of this study was to determine the time to LOC following full establishment of chokes in trained resisting opponents. A secondary objective was to describe timing to LOC in separate choke categories. An internally validated panel of 17 sportive choking experts evaluated 89 choke sequences; 81 were included as chokes to LOC. Overall, chokes in our sample had a mean time from the establishment of a choke to LOC of 9.0 s [95% CI = 8.3, 9.9]. The choking categories of neck-only chokes and arm-in chokes were virtually identical to one another: neck-only M = 8.9 s [95% CI = 8.0–10.2]; arm-in M = 9.0 s [8.1–10.3]. These times to LOC correlate with previous studies using compliant volunteers.


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