This guy in a video seemed to be unaffected by his partner's chokehold. Is it possible to be immune to chokeholds?

  • 2
    I would imagine that having strong neck-muscles would help. Feb 5, 2014 at 8:18
  • The chokeholds are at 0:33 and 0:38 (from the front using the thumbs), and 0:42 (with an egregiously mis-applied attempt to execute a rear naked choke). Oct 30, 2016 at 8:13
  • Note: the video in question is an advertisement for a product (taser) designed to incapacitate even the 'strongest and most resistant' of persons, and the demonstrations of chokeholds are staged to show off said person's 'toughness'. Sep 24, 2019 at 14:10
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Resisting choke holds using throat tendons? Sep 25, 2019 at 14:42

6 Answers 6


Pretend chokes

The video is of a lame, contrived demo. The "choke" in it is not performed effectively. It's a farce of a choke. The reason this strutting bodybuilder is "immune" to the choke is that it's not a legitimate choke in the first place.

If you know someone who thinks they can't be choked, I think Marcelo Garcia would be interested in testing that hypothesis:

Stephan Kesting: Have you ever come across someone whose neck is too big?

Note, by the context of the conversation, Stephan means "big or strong".

Marcelo: No.

SK: Not so far?

MG: Until someone proves, like, oh, you can squeeze my neck and I won't tap, this is working for me.

Everyone can be choked.

So far, everyone who competes has shown themselves to be chokeable. Jon Fitch was notoriously resistant to being choked out...until he was guillotined into unconsciousness by Josh Burkman.

Strong necks can resist poorly-applied chokeholds and can, to a minor degree, prevent the attacker from getting into position for a good choke. But so far, everyone has proved to be chokeable. People can have good choke defense just like they can have a good guard, but so far no one has shown themselves to be "immune".

  • 1
    +1 Agreed, the choke has to be done correctly or it is ineffective. A person is not immune to a choke if its a bad technique and not really a choke. If its properly done choke AND they don't choke, then yeah they are immune but even then I would argue it has to do with some unique physical circumstance and not so much immunity per se. If a choke is a done right, the person will choke. At least anecdotal evidence has so far supported it. Feb 6, 2014 at 19:29

No, you cannot be immune. IMHO even training to "resist" it is stupid, completely stupid. If someone is choking you out, he WILL succeed, even if you resist for 5 seconds longer.

Air choking is easier to notice ( ... you can't breathe) and fighting against your opponent's hold is a lot easier. It will help endure it, allow you to take little bit of air in, etc.

A choke that prevents blood to get to your brain is seriously hard to even notice. My coach did it to me as a "welcome" to the elite class ... I thought I was resisting, and didn't even realise I fell unconscious. I stayed down only half a second. I "woke" up, not knowing where I was or what had happened. I didn't even realise he choked me out until someone else told me.


No! This is a ridiculous question. No one is immune to being choked in the same way no is immune to having their arm broke.

  • I have no arm therefore I am immune to having it broken... </pedantic> ^_~ Feb 7, 2014 at 14:04
  • You missed your opening tag, this would fail.
    – Funky
    Feb 7, 2014 at 14:25
  • Loading up on neck and shoulder muscle mass is a good start. Feb 19, 2014 at 9:35
  • No it's not, you clearly have never trained BJJ at all.
    – Funky
    Feb 19, 2014 at 10:42

Depending on your definition of "immunity", some people do indeed appear to be more resistant to chokeholds than others.

In the study Mechanism of loss of consciousness during vascular neck restraint, Journal of Applied Physiology (2012), a rear-naked choke hold was applied to 24 participants until they passed out, submitted, or 23 seconds had passed:

  • 16/24 participants passed out
  • 4/24 participants tapped out
  • 4/24 participants did not pass out or tap out after ~23 seconds of applied chokehold

Those that passed out had roughly 80% reduction in arterial flow in both sides, whilst those 4 that did not pass out (or tap out) had on average 74% reduction in right-hand side flow and only 40% reduction in left-hand side flow:

In our study, 16 subjects (Ocular Fixation Group) were rendered unconscious with an 83% and 80% reduction in R and L MCAVmean, respectively. The four subjects who did not lose consciousness (Instructor Stop Group), had a 74% reduction of R MCAVmean, but only a 40% reduction in L MCAVmean. Thus our data support the findings of Njemanze (13) in that the critical lower limit of MCAVmean of 50% below baseline must be met bilaterally to induce unconsciousness.

As such, it appears that physiological differences may account for the same style and strength of chokehold compressing both arteries substantially in most people, but less than 50% compression in one side in a minority (the hypothesized threshold required to induce unconsciousness).

Such persons may still be vulnerable to a much stronger applied chokehold than required to induce unconsciousness in most people, however this was not tested in the study.

  • This is certainly interesting, but I'm cautious of over-interpreting this experiment. The goal was standardization of process for reproducibility rather than choke effectiveness. Chokes are not fungible. One attempt by an unknown instructor using a palm-to-palm grip on a seated subject falls short of an ideal choke in several ways. Sep 25, 2019 at 10:15

Yes...if you do not need air/blood supply to your brain.

On a more serious note, depending on your and your opponent's body shapes you can be immune to some chokeholds. For example, I have broad shoulders and a guy I trained with had short legs. He found some triangle chokes impossible on me...

  • 2
    That doesn't mean you were immune to being choked, it meant that that person was not able to apply a choke. A bit different. Nov 2, 2016 at 15:39
  • 1
    Yes, it's the semantics. He could choke me using a technique such as rear naked choke, but not some triangles. So the "immunity" would be relative to certain people's ability to apply techniques based upon physiological constraints (e.g. short legs).
    – NeilNeil
    Nov 2, 2016 at 16:14

A choke hold basically is used to

  1. Cut bloodsupply to the brain and causes one to blackout
  2. Subdue a person by making it painful or hard to breath, thus refrain from struggling.

As far as I know, there should not be anyway to be immune to the effects of a chokehold, but there are ways to increase your tolerance level to the attacks.

If you have a training partner, it would be good to practise your resistance to chokeholds everyday and time yourself.

Certain Shaolin schools teach "Iron neck" as one of the 72 methods of conditioning in Qi Gong, where one appears to effectively hang oneself by the neck for several minutes.

This is purported to strengthen the neck as well as increasing tolerance level towards choking.

-WARNING - In no way whatsoever should you imitate this.

  • 7
    -1 for recommending self asphyxiation as a way to train. I mean, seriously? Should we also start cutting/stabbing ourselves to train against knife attacks?
    – JohnP
    Feb 5, 2014 at 15:22
  • 2
    While I don't believe nigel meant to suggest it the way it came across, I would agree with John that the suggestion in general would be a very bad idea and can lead to unforeseen and foreseen tragic ends. Feb 6, 2014 at 19:32
  • Oh my, I do hope people take this in with a pinch of salt and not literally. I do apologise @JohnP if it seemed abit extreme. What I posted was just an answer to the poster's question on being immunned to chokeholds. As for your point on knife attacks, we don't intentionally stab or cut ourselves but we do train with real sharp edged object like blades. We do get cut wounds but that with close supervision and full concentration, we minimize it. in the end it help with removing the fear of sharp object. Of course we start of with rubber knifes, then blunt steel knifes and then sharpened knives
    – nigelhanzo
    Feb 7, 2014 at 2:44
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    The people in the video are kids. How can they have "decades" of training?
    – JohnP
    Feb 7, 2014 at 14:54
  • 1
    Also there is no way to train your brain to handle a lack of blood flow. Allowing yourself to get choked into unconsciousness a thousand times would not make you any more resistant to your brain having to blood/oxygen than if you never allowed it to happen. You can train to protect yourself from it, and you can train to be calm and not react in panic when you feel such a choke being applied, increasing your chances of defending, but, no, you can't increase your tolerance to the effects of the choke. Nov 3, 2016 at 16:21

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