A common self-defense scenario involves being grabbed in a choke hold from behind, which is why we usually practice the defense for it at all of the self-defense classes we have at the dojo. This also allows us to practice a standing rear naked choke as an offensive technique, because it’s frequently the tactic employed in these types of attacks, and it’s a very useful self-defense tool.

Defending a standing choke is actually easier than on the ground, because your attacker has no body control. The same defensive methods should be employed; getting your hands on their arm to block, tucking your chin in, turning towards their elbow. Ideally, you would like to get turned to face them. Using a technique such as a foot stomp or elbow strike is also recommended, to help give you an opening for escape.

If you are unable to escape or get turned around, and they are not pulling you off-balance, one option that you are already halfway set up for is a hip toss. You should throw them on the side of the arm that’s holding you. If they don’t let go of you on the way down, you simply land on them.

If your attacker is taking your balance by pulling you backwards, one option is to try to reach your leg behind you (again on the same side as the arm that’s around your neck), and hook their leg from the outside, using it as a lever to turn yourself around, and sweep them in the process. They are more likely to let go of the choke with this method, because the mechanics make it hard to maintain, but if they don’t, again you land on them.  Both of those techniques can be done while still keeping your hands on their arm to block.

Neither of those options work very well if your attacker is really pulling you backwards.  In that scenario, they are probably going to take you to the ground, so your goal is to be ready for it, and to not get choked out before you get there. If you end up on the ground and you are still being choked, it should be much easier to escape than from a standard back-control choke, because it’s doubtful that they will have any kind of hooks in (unless they are a Jiu-Jitsu Fighter, but we all know that Jiu-Jitsu Fighters do not go around choking innocent victims…they don’t have to, because they have plenty of willing victims ;).


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