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Old 01-10-2013, 01:32 AM   #124
bkedelen's Avatar
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 450
Re: Why don't we practice chokes?

I have done a *lot* of research into stand-up no-gi strangulations (choke means something else) specifically for use in Aikido waza and I have a lot of results which I will be happy to discuss at length if people are interested.

Ultimately the reason that stand-up shime waza is not trained is because it is not something that many Aikido people do well (with Greg Olson Sensei as a notable exception, his skill speaks for itself), is generally considered ineffective, and is arguably not part of our curriculum. The reason it is considered ineffective is because you need to be control uke's spine while applying any kind of standing static technique. If uke is in control of their spine and standing, they will literally walk away from your technique or use any number of very simple counters to lever your technique open and wriggle out.

Because of the need to manage the spine, arm-in strangulations (arm triangle, standing brabo, standing anaconda) are quite difficult to use successfully if they don't cause partner to quit instantly. They are much more reliable if the plan is to take them immediately to the ground because there is no way to trap the "in" arm and control partner's spine at the same time unless you transition to ne-waza. Every standing arm-in strangulation has a very simple, reliable counter (answering the phone, for instance).

No-arm strangulations (rear naked, bridged north-south, guillotine) are of much more utility but have their own problems. The standing rear naked, for instance, is almost impossible to impose on someone unless you are much taller than they are. Even then a two-arms-on-one defense is particularly effective when standing. Theoretically you could use the bridged north-south if you can get uke bending backwards with a kokyu nage, for instance, but lets not fool ourselves here, that the kind of thing other arts refer to as a "low-percentage" technique.

The real winner here is the guillotine. The standard problem with a standing guillotine is that it is usually a choke rather than a strangulation. Aikido people, including myself, are likely not interested in crushing their partner's windpipe in order to achieve our goals and therefore anyone interested in pursuing this kind of training will need to get very interested in the guillotine variations that result in strangulation rather than a choking, throat crush, or neck crank. The guillotine is also particularly vulnerable to a two-hands-on-one defense while standing, and any variation on it you develop ought to take that defense into consideration.

My research has lead me, in a rather roundabout and storied fashion, to a very effective guillotine variation called the arm-out brabo choke, or sometimes the ninja choke. The starting position is similar to the guillotine but with uke's head on the other side of your body. Done well, it goes on fast, starts from a position that might actually happen, produces nearly instantaneous results, allows nage to retain their Aikido tactical assets (upright posture, broad awareness, mobility), and results in a sweet slumber that everyone will agree later was really for the best. Done correctly your body forms a gallows upon which uke's bodyweight hangs them, and it is surprising and resistant to the standard defenses.

Anyone interested in my rather overwrought thoughts on the subject should grab me at a seminar or something and I will be happy to talk you to death about it.

Last edited by bkedelen : 01-10-2013 at 01:47 AM.
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