The rise of MMA and BJJ has popularized the techniques that put people to sleep and chokes are exactly one half of the techniques in submission grappling that are used to win a match. Within chokes, there are neck cranks, air chokes, and blood chokes and all constrict the neck in some way. But what is the strongest choke?

The rear naked choke is a popular technique and to a layman, this would probably be the answer. But to answer this question, let’s define “strongest”. For this article, the strongest choke would be defined as the choke utilizing the most leverage.

Spanning gi and no gi techniques, here are a few possible candidates to examine.

1. Triangle choke

The mechanics of this choke use the legs, specifically the hamstrings, to squeeze the opponent’s shoulder into his neck from one side and directly into the neck from the other. In order to increase the compression, the head can be pulled down as well.

While this is definitely a strong choke, the leverage is limited to the strength of your hamstrings.

2. Baseball choke

This choke requires the collar on the gi (or lapels) and mainly uses the blades of your forearms as well as parts of the collar/lapel to choke someone’s neck. The way to finish this is to utilize all your weight on top of the opponent’s neck and pulling the grips with your back muscles.

The strength of the choke here is therefore limited to your weight and the strength of your back muscles, specifically a combination of the lats, traps, and deltoids (basically your upper/mid back). The motion is similar to the machine row exercise with a close grip.

3. Rear naked choke

This list would not be complete without the rear naked choke. Using your biceps, shoulders, and even some of your upper back muscles, the bicep and forearm are used to choke the opponent’s neck in a scissor-like fashion. The leverage comes with the use of the other arm and it helps further push the forearm into the person’s neck. The back muscles are a second order effect.

4. Bow and arrow choke

All these chokes lead us to the bow and arrow choke, in which, in my opinion, is the strongest. This choke uses the collar and the grip you make with the collar to torque and compress the neck. However, the grip isn’t doing the work. It is really your lower back muscles, your legs, and some upper/mid back muscles on the side in which you grab your opponent’s pants that does the heavy lifting.

The reason that this is the strongest choke is strictly because of the muscles involved and how the leverage is created from it. One of the strongest ways a person can lift weights is the deadlift. The deadlift utilizes the entire back, the legs, and core. These are the exact same muscles that the bow and arrow choke uses. Essentially, you are using the biggest muscles in your body, in unison, to impart compression and torque on a person’s neck. This is why is it common and possible for you to finish this choke without completely “sinking it in”.

Do you agree or disagree? Discuss your opinion in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

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Strongest Choke in BJJ

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