It goes without saying, that running away from a fight is always the best policy. When confronted with a potentially dangerous situation, the most important thing is that you get out of it unharmed. Although this is a great default, it may not always be possible in the real world. The beauty of Bjj is that most aggressive people you encounter will have virtually no experience in grappling. This gives Bjj students a huge advantage when it comes to dangerous encounters. Below, I have outlined the 3 best chokes to use on an aggressor in a self-defense situation.

Chokes for Self-Defense


The X-Choke is a technique often taught to beginners from either the mount or closed guard. It involves grabbing your opponents collar on either side of their neck with your opposite hands (creating the ‘X’ shape). You then draw your arms back towards you in order to squeeze their neck  with the collar. Although it takes some practice, the choke is very effective once you are comfortable with it. In a defensive situation, this choke works because it is such a basic technique in beginner Bjj. The choke is also favorable as most people will be wearing a collared shirt or coat in a defensive situation.

Rear Naked Choke

As mentioned in previous articles, the RNC is legendary technique in Bjj. The choke takes place when you have your opponents back. It involves sliding your arm under their chin and locking that arm in place with your other arm. Your hips elevate into your opponents back to increase the efficiency of the choke. In a self-defense scenario, most untrained people will give up their back without even realizing. Although there are a myriad of submissions from the back, the rear naked choke can be performed with ease. Having the back also gives you excellent control of your opponent regardless of their ability to slow down the choke.

Rear Naked Chokes Chokes for Self-Defense

Ezekiel Choke

Another technique learned early on from the mount. The Ezekiel involves having one arm behind your opponent’s head. This arm will act as the anchor for your top arm which will be choking your opponent. The hand from your bottom arm locks onto the top arm allowing you to generate leverage to increase the choke. The Ezekiel works best when wearing a Gi (or long sleeves in a street situation). It can be achieved using no sleeves but that creates more room to escape. As many students will understand, if you don’t know what’s happening during the set up of the choke, it is too late to defend it. This makes the Ezekiel a strong weapon in a defensive situation against an untrained opponent.

3 Chokes for Self-Defense BJJ
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3 Chokes for Self-Defense BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu chokes allow you to restrict your aggressor and control a self defense situation. The most effective chokes include the X-Choke, Rear Naked Choke and Ezekiel Choke.
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