Shime Waza

Shime Waza

(Strangling Techniques)

Strangling techniques are an integral part of jujitsu training.

The objective of shime-waza is to render the opponent unconscious or when used in sport jujitsu, to render the opponent helpless. Pressure is applied to the neck to reduce circulation to the brain and also to cut off normal breathing. Interfering with brain circulation brings effects within a few seconds and is painless. Interfering with respiration is painful and brings effects in several minutes.

In the neck below the angle of the jaw, the common carotid artery splits into two branches. At this point lies the carotid sinus. This is a pressure receptor which takes part in the control of blood pressure and pulse rate. When blood pressure rises in the carotid sinus, reflexes lower both systemic blood pressure and pulse rate. When blood pressure falls in the carotid sinus systemic blood pressure and pulse rate rise.

Strangles place direct pressure on both the carotid and vertebral arteries. The former lies in the sides of the neck, the latter enter the base of the brain and are influenced by external pressure in an indirect way. Lowered brain circulation is effected directly by ligature effect when a strangle is applied and pressure gradually increased.

If external pressure is applied, thus decreasing pressure in the sinus and suddenly released, the surge of pressure will cause reflex changes resulting in a marked systemic blood pressure drop, faintness, weakness, or unconscious and lowered pulse rate or even heart arrest. Sensitivity of the carotid sinus is present with no known cause and secondary to certain medical conditions. This sensitivity is manifested by sudden faints when pressure is inadvertently applied to the neck as with a tight collar or suddenly turning the neck.

Blows to the side of the neck and shime-waza can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, precautionary measures should be taken to insure proper care in application and supervision in teaching.

Shutting off respiration may also bring about changes of a reflex nature which may cause serious heart and respiratory reactions. Shutting off the air intake may cause an inadvertent Valsalva maneuver (forced expiration with the glottis closed), which will set in motion other reflex changes and cardiovascular effects resulting in dangerous and even irreversible physiologic changes.

If by some mischance, the application of shime-waza results in unconsciousness which does not revert spontaneously, or even cardiac arrest, the use of mouth to mouth resuscitation and closed cardiac massage is indicated. If the sensei is fairly competent in the application of katsu, he may apply the indicated maneuver along with the preceding, until adequate medical help can be secured.

It is to be stressed shime-waza should only be applied with proper care and with an understanding of the basic physiological principles, dangers and precautions.


San Kaku Jime

Triangle Strangle

Jigoku Jime

Hell Strangle


Nami Juji Jime

Natural Cross Strangle

Gyaku Juji Jime

Reverse Cross Strangle

Kata Juji Jime

Shoulder Cross Strangle

Kubi Eri Jime

Neck Lapel Strangle

Tsukikomi Jime

Poking Strangle

Kata Eri Jime

Shoulder Lapel Strangle

Tsurikomi Jime

Lift and Pull Strangle


Hadaka Jime

Naked Strangle

Ushiro Jime

Rear Strangle

Okuri Eri Jime

Sliding Lapel Strangle

Kataha Jime

Broken Wing (Half Shoulder) Strangle

Sode Guruma Jime

Sleeve Wheel Strangle

Tsuri Eri Jime

Lifting Lapel Strangle

Tsuri Juji Jime

Lifting Cross Strangle


Choking techniques must be taught and supervised by a qualified instructor. Since the Jujitsu syllabus has always contained more well-developed choking techniques than any other martial art and they are practiced in real contest situations, Jujitsu instructors usually have extensive experience in the proper application of chokes. Jujitsu is well known for the “Jujitsu choke”, but many other martial arts are now teaching choke holds without the wealth of background and experience most Jujitsu experts have. Chokes are potentially fatal and should be treated seriously.

As taught in Jujitsu though they are a temporary incapacitating technique of short duration whose proper execution should be quite harmless. Jujitsu choking techniques have been used in Jujitsu classes and at thousands of Jujitsu tournaments all over the world for more than 100 years without one reported fatality. It is only with the appropriate emphasis on safety and supervision that this record can be maintained.

Care should be taken when teaching chokes to children whose physiology is different and naturally less developed than adults.  Feeling different chokes being applied in practice to you and learning when to submit is an important form of preparation for tournament and for learning how to choke others. At this very young age, and in fact for beginners of all ages, the emphasis should be on recognizing the effect of chokes and protecting yourself while always avoiding extreme pressure and unconsciousness in practice.

Chokes may be practiced from either a standing position or on the ground but the ground is inherently safer. When applying a standing choke with the intention of gaining the full effect you should recognize that the victim will not be able to remain standing. In tournament and practice the person being choked should always be immediately taken to the ground for better control and to prevent an accidental fall which could injure the athlete as they go unconscious.

Learning when to give up is an important part of training to avoid the risk of unnecessary periods of unconsciousness. While judoka should not give up any opportunity to escape from a choke, they must also be trained to surrender in a timely fashion when necessary by recognizing when defeat is inevitable and when further resistance will result in unconsciousness. Once you allow yourself to be choked unconscious your life is literally in your opponent’s hands, and the practice of any martial art requires that the student learn ways of avoiding this condition of ultimate helplessness. Since it is virtually impossible to speak while being choked, the universal signal for submission is tapping of the opponent or mat repeatedly.

The most important safety rule when applying a choking technique is to release pressure immediately when the opponent submits (taps out). When applying a choke one should be sensitive enough, and have sufficient control over the opponent, to recognize when he or she loses consciousness so that you can immediately release pressure. Loss of consciousness can be detected easily by the sudden lack of resistance and generally limp feeling of the opponent’s body as well as the color of the face and the eyes closing. Sometimes if the choke is held too long convulsions may begin, but the effects of the choke should generally be recognised earlier with proper training and supervision.