Friday, April 6, 2012

The Rear Naked Choke

It's a testament to my essential well-roundedness that the acronym RNC does not call to mind the Republican National Committee but, instead, the term referencing the jiu-jitsu submission technique, the Rear Naked Choke.

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... 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; in the second version, the attacker clasps his hands together instead after encircling the opponent's neck.
Last Sunday, Stephen Arceneaux III, of Destrehan, Louisiana, was accidently choked to death by his young cousin during a Wrestlemania viewing party.  A local law enforcement spokesperson called it "violent horseplay."

A Louisiana man died at his own "Wrestlemania 28" party after he refused to "tap out" of his younger, much smaller cousin's "rear naked choke hold," causing him to stop breathing, police said... 
Arceneaux had invited a number of friends to his home to watch the pay-per-view professional wrestling event. 
He and his 14-year-old cousin began wrestling on an inflated mattress at the party and the teenager, who weighed just 110 pounds, placed his arm around the 220-pound Arceneaux's neck. 
Witnesses said Arcenaux was in the hold for 30 to 40 seconds, but refused to give up or "tap out." 
When one of the witnesses saw Arceneaux turning blue, they told the youngster to let go, but by that stage he had already stopped breathing, the report said. 
Arceneaux's girlfriend tried unsuccessfully to revive him before he was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, in response, has published articles on vascular neck restraint, and, as they are inclined to do, has issued an instructional video about the incident in Louisiana, hoping "to educate the youth about the serious risks of practicing jiu-jitsu techniques, chokes in particular, without proper training and supervision." 

Even the Wikipedia entry on the RNC technique includes a section called "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." There has never been a fatality in judo due to chokes.[4] 
Rafiel Torre, a former mixed martial arts trainer and fighter, was convicted of killing a man using this technique.[5]

Here is the Gracie Breakdown video made by Renor and Ryron after Arceneaux's tragic death.  In typical YouTube fashion, it looks as if the comment thread has deteriorated somewhat into a blame game, some pointing the finger at professional wrestling, some at MMA sport and competition.  If they manage to get it through some kid's head that choking anyone to the point of blue unconsciousness is not a good thing... I say, educate on, Gracies!

Uploaded by  on Apr 5, 2012

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