Gi collar chokes: useful techniques or useless moves

February 23, 2009

Ask the Wise Grappler:

Why is it that you rarely see anyone use collar chokes to finish opponents in live matches? I know that just about every instructional video or seminar has some kind of collar choke, but you don’t see them used like joint locks and triangle chokes. Is that because they’re basically useless and only used to waste time at seminars or bulk up a DVD product with more technique.

The Wise Grappler writes

I’d like to say that’s the first time that this question has come up, but it’s not and I’m certain that it won’t be the last time because collar chokes definitely have a lot of  “haters” out there.

The way I see it, there are very few bad techniques… only bad setups to techniques. And since I’ve seen and experienced high-level grapplers use collar chokes to choke the stuffing out of people during training and competitions, there’s no doubt in my mind that they work and have a place in grappling instruction.

What I have found in my experience is that collar chokes tend to require a great deal of detail when trying to perfect them since you’re using the gi to finish your opponent.

To the casual observer, it may appear that Grappler A grabs
Grappler B’s gi and squeezes until grappler B quits, but it’s more complicated than that. Grappler A has to have the right hand placement, ensure that the gi’s on the right part of Grappler B’s throat to ensure the choke, learn the right amount of pressure to apply so they won’t “burn out” their grips before the choke is completed, worry about Grappler B attacking their fingers trying to break the grip, and a few other things that I don’t have time to mention in this article.

Bottom line: most grapplers get frustrated with the level of
detail, label them as useless, and give up on them.

Far too often, you’ll see a grappler grab his opponent’s collar
without any real threat or attempt to apply a choke hold. That’s usually due to lack of confidence in collar chokes so the grip becomes an empty threat. And on the flip side, that non-attack also has an effect on the defending grappler because they’re not accustomed to defending the neck. So, when they meet someone that was patient enough to perfect their choking techniques, they fall victim to the submission.

I would suggest that you change your opinion of how “useless” collar chokes are and try to implement at least one into your grappling game. In fact, why don’t you make a goal that over the next 6 months that you’re going to add at least one collar choke to your game. If you take that challenge, watch how it changes your offensive game plan. Even if the choke fails, your opponents will be forced to respect the possibility or being choked and that’ll open them up for something else.

Lessons Learned from Super Bowl LXIII

February 8, 2009


This is an observation from Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler) after watching Super Bowl 43 and the life lesson that he learned from it that can benefit every grappler (both on and off the mat).


Paul M. Greenhill, “The Wise Grappler”, is the creator of The Wise Grappler System and author of The Wise Grappler Ezine, a weekly ezine that provides grappling and mental mindset training tips for the older (over 35) and non-traditional/non-competitive martial artists. To learn more about “The Wise Grappler” and to sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit his site at or contact The Wise Grappler.