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Tragedy: Boy Chokes Cousin to Death

Whether you do martial arts or not, I think you should watch this video:


Rener and Ryron Gracie explain the dangers of the rear naked choke (it’s not easy at all to determine that the recipient has passed out! Their body will not go limp, as one might think!) They end with the super-important 10 seconds rule: if you apply the choke for 10 seconds and your partner is not tapping, then either (1) he is unconscious, or (2) you’re doing it wrong -- and in both cases you should let go!

I’ve been doing jiu jitsu for a while, and the scary thing about this video is that it made me realize that I’ve been doing some things wrong.

I did not observe the 10 seconds rule.

Throughout my entire experience, I was almost always sparring with someone who is a lot better than me. So, I got too used to knowing that there was no way I’d actually catch him in a choke; and that whenever I was applying a choke and he was not tapping, it was because I was doing it wrong. Now, there are emotional reasons why it is difficult to let go at that point, even though I know that I’m doing it wrong -- I keep hoping that it might still work with just a little more time, and, more importantly, I’m afraid to let go, because I know that then he won’t give me any opportunities to adjust the choke, and I’ll just lose the position.

And it’s been the same way with other newbies when they sparred with me -- there were numerous times when I didn’t tap to a misapplied choke, instead just telling them “No, that’s not working. You’re just wasting energy this way”. But before I said it, they just kept trying on and on! The important thing here is that we all got way too used to relying on our partner to tap on time, and this tragedy has reminded me of the terrible danger of this approach.

All jiu jitsu practitioners know the feeling of being choked correctly -- that’s something you learn from day one, with the explicit purpose of being able to identify when you should tap. That’s super important. However, that should never be your only precaution! You cannot rely solely on your partner to be responsible for their own safety -- and that’s something that might be easy to forget when you keep sparring with very knowledgeable people. Even the knowledgeable people can be wrong; more importantly, if you get too used to relying on the other person to tap, you might automatically do the same when playing with a friend or a relative who doesn’t know when to tap -- and the consequences might be dire.

P.S. From what I understood, neither the boy nor his cousin have practiced jiu jitsu; the boy was probably just trying the moves from TV, without any awareness of safety measures. As Rener said, if even one of them had any jiu jitsu experience, this tragedy would almost certainly be prevented (I never heard of a single death case related to jiu jitsu). But nevertheless it made me do some uncomfortable introspection of my own practices, and I found them lacking.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 7th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC)
roztamara
Ужас-то какой! Питоньий спорт. cars
petite_lambda
Apr. 7th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Re: roztamara
Там как раз проблема и была в том что ни мальчик ни его брат не занимались этим спортом и понятия не имели о правилах безопасности, которым нас учат с первого дня.
z33v
May. 1st, 2012 06:34 am (UTC)
Thanks for the safety point
Thanks for the safety point, I will ask my instructor to clarify on the subject.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )