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The Rear naked choke (RNC) is a chokehold in martial arts applied from an opponent's back. Depending on the context, the term may refer to one of two variations of the technique, either arm can be used to apply the choke in both cases. The term rear naked choke likely originated from the technique in Jujutsu and Judo known as the "Hadaka Jime", or "Naked Strangle." The word "naked" in this context suggests that, unlike other strangulation techniques found in Jujutsu/Judo, this hold does not require the use of a keikogi ("gi") or training uniform.

The choke has two variations: in one version, the attacker's arm encircles the opponent's neck and then grabs his own biceps on the other arm (see below for details); in the second version, the attacker clasps his hands together instead after encircling the opponent's neck.

"Figure Four" variation

This variant is considered to be a "blood choke" because it restricts blood flow to the brain via the carotid arteries. When done correctly, it can cause temporary unconsciousness in a few seconds. The following is a description of this technique using the left arm.

Step 1: The attacker's left arm encircles the opponent's neck, with the opponent's trachea at the crook of the elbow.
Step 2: The attacker's left hand then grasps his own upper right arm [biceps].
Step 3: The right hand is placed behind (or occasionally on top of) the opponent's head.
Step 4: The elbows are then brought together such that lateral pressure is applied to the neck on both sides.

When applied properly unconsciousness occurs in about 10 seconds and recovery from the choke is just as quick. Since the technique applies pressure on the arteries in the neck that take blood to the brain permanent damage may occur to the brain from insufficient blood supply. Do not apply for longer than 3 seconds after unconsciousness.

"Clasping Hands" variation

This variation has the supporting hand clasp the hand of the choking arm, allowing more pressure to be applied to the neck, but losing some of the control of the head. This alters the choke somewhat so that it is more likely to be applied as an airway-restricting choke or mixed blood and air choke, which results in more pain but a slower choke-out. As such, this technique is less frequently used at advanced levels in Judo. Nonetheless, it has seen some successful applications in mixed martial arts competition: for instance, it was used by Fedor Emelianenko, a heavyweight champion in PRIDE, to defeat Kazuyuki Fujita at the PRIDE 26 event in 2003. Fujita tapped out about five seconds after the choke was applied. He used it again to defeat former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia in 36 seconds. Sylvia tapped out immediately once the choke was sunk in and after the fight described it as being very painful. It was also used by UFC fighter Matt Hughes to defeat Frank Trigg in their second fight which was transitioned from a hand-on-biceps version of the RNC. Some also still refer to this lock as the "Severn Lock" due to its usage by former Ultimate Fighting Champion Dan Severn.


In Judo, the rear naked choke is known as Hadaka-jime (裸絞): "Naked strangle", one of the 36 constriction techniques of Kodokan Judo in the Shime-waza list. It is also three (in variation) of Danzan Ryu's twenty-five techniques in the Shimete list.


The main characteristic of Hadaka-Jime when compared to other Judo chokes is that it does not require the use of the opponent's clothing, namely his gi lapel, to create the choking tourniquet.The choke is created entirely by the attacker's arms.

Danzan Ryu also recognizes the Standing Guillotine as Hadaka-Jime-Ichi. But the principle is the same as BJJ's ground version, as demonstratedfrom

Included systems

Systems: Lists:


Kyuzo Mifune demonstrates Hasami-Jime in The Essence of Judo and is described in The Canon Of Judo.*


Danzan Ryu enumerates three versions of Hadaka-Jime:[174114]

1. Ichi (one): Standing neck-break. Two versions:
# Neck twist
# Guillotine
:A version of the guillotine, Mae-Hadaka-Jime, is also described in The Canon Of Judo.
2. Ni (two): Choke with forearm. This is an air choke with the forearm pressing on the throat.
3. San (three): Figure-4 choke with forearm. This is a blood choke with the forearms and biceps pressing and the sides of the neck.

"Sleeper Hold" in professional wrestling

Pro-wrestling's first "sleeper hold" is thought to have been performed by Jim Londos on June 29, 1931. Suspicion was abound as to the nature of Londos' move (which had looked suspiciously like a choke against the windpipe); however, Londos was quoted the next day in The New York Sun as simply having performed "a new hold I perfected which shuts off the jugular vein."

Though Londos' original move may or may not have been inspired by judo's "hadaka jime," pro-wrestling's sleeper and a rear naked choke both share a similar style of execution. However, in order for the sleeper to be used in the performance art-related world of pro-wrestling, the "leverage" arm is positioned in a relaxed state so the hold is not actually applied.

It is more realistically used by TNA wrestler Samoa Joe (whose wrestling moveset is closer to mixed martial arts). From then on out, the move has become more of a staple amongst independent wrestlers, as well as the Japanesemarker wrestlers with the "strong style" of the sport; the most notable being former MMA star, Minoru Suzuki.

Catch wrestling's "sleeper"

In modern catch wrestling circles, the term "sleeper hold" refers to a variation of the RNC in which the individual performing the hold snakes the leverage arm across the opponent's throat (in the same manner as the traditional RNC) and grasps their opposite shoulder, rather than the biceps. The opposite hand is also placed against the base of the opponent's skull in the form of a closed Hammer Fist, or on top of the head. The attacking wrestler then squeezes his/her elbows together, pushes forward with the hammer fist (if used), and crunches forward with the abdominal muscles, producing an extremely tight and fast-acting choke.

Safe application

This choke, in either the figure-four or clasped-hand variation, is an extremely dangerous technique if used thoughtlessly or improperly. When applied as a blood choke in particular, the brain is immediately deprived of oxygen, leading (as mentioned above) to unconsciousness and ultimately (if not released) to brain damage or death. It is imperative, when using this technique, to be completely aware of your opponent's physical state, and to release the choke at any sign of your opponent losing consciousness or "tapping out." Rafiel Torre, a former mixed martial arts trainer and fighter, was convicted of killing a man using this technique, demonstrating that it is entirely lethal if misused.

See also

External links


  1. - two RNC versions
  2. - use of RNC in judo
  3. Article by Josh Gross of

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