In Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to win friends and Influence People” he teaches a series of strategies on how to communicate and connect with others… In my newest instructional, “Breathless” I teach you how to influence others using a whole different language! We use lapels, grips and chokes to make an impact on others. To me the choke is the great equalizer. Size truly doesn’t matter when it comes to the strangle. That can’t be said about many other things in life. Especially in a muscle-dominated culture where bigger is better and trying your hardest means everything. But in BJJ a small child an easily choke an adult unconscious. But if the same child tried to punch an adult it wound’t do much harm. That to me is what truly separates BJJ / Jiu-Jitsu from the pack. Strength helps, but it isn’t a requirement for success. With a good understanding of leverage, timing and technique one can effectively choke a larger, resistant person unconscious. But trying to knock someone out with a striking technique is difficult and you put your own body at risk. You don’t have concrete hands and you’re not wearing gloves or wraps so the risk of a broken or cut is high. I don’t know about you but I’m not interested in splitting my hand on someone’s tooth and then sharing blood between wounds. For self-defense the strangle is king. Even lapel / tail chokes (where you choke someone using the bottom half of the gi) has a realistic street translation. Most people wear jackets and hoodies 6-9 months out of the year. Both can be used as effective tools for choking. Even a tee-shirt can be used to choke someone. So unless you are shirtless on the beach… the opportunity to choke someone with cloth is real. Yes the choke is king, but I don’t want to discount the value of joint locks either. Where the choke can completely render someone helpless, the joint lock is still a great tool to stop anyone. If you’re thinking more in terms of how this relates to your day-to-day grappling in the academy keep reading. The choke and the joint lock are like brothers and sisters. Where you see one, the other is always nearby. When you go for a choke there’s always a joint lock in the same vicinity and vice versa. Having both chokes and joint manipulations will broaden your arsenal and deepen your game. For me it’s not about whether you’re a choker or a locker… a head hunter or a bone breaker. It’s about building a game that has layers and depth.