Plucking as a defense against chokes is basically that you use your arms/hands to pull the attackers hands off your throat a small amount and pin them to your body - getting enough room to breathe again, and then proceeding to counter attack.

This makes sense to me as a possibility and fairly effective from the front.

However, in krav maga it also seems to be a defense taught when choked from the back where you reach your arms up and behind your head to pluck the arms, pinning them down at the wrist or thumb area.

This feels kind of awkward to me to reach up and behind my head to pluck the arms.

It feels like it isn't so effective as say, throwing an elbow to the solar plexus, or to the head, or stomping a foot, kicking the shin or knee, or stepping forward as you turn and raise your arm.

Do people here consider it a decent technique to pluck when choked from behind or is it one of those things where it's a tool in the toolbox but when you learn more (krav maga in this case) that you would almost always do something else instead?

It's hard to tell over text on the internet but does it seem like I have a misunderstanding of how the technique works?

  • Edited, thanks. Let me know if it's still unclear!
    – Alan Wolfe
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 15:01
  • Do you have a video or a image of this choke?
    – AFetter
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 12:25

2 Answers 2


You can simply see it as a tool, and depending on the circumstances where it happens. Usually, and what I personally find naturally, is the turning motion while raising one arm (biceps to your ear and turning around to loose the choke) more convenient. Plucking, is requiring a certain degree of flexibility as some people can´t really do that motion properly due to lack of flexibility. And as a side note, for a proper execution you need decent space in front of you.

The turning technique: http://www.kravmagaalliance.com/level-6-blog/choke-from-behind-with-a-push-krav-maga-technique-of-the-month-february-2016/

The plucking is derived from the instinctive respectively reflex-motion to reach out to the attacked area with your hands first, like when you cut your finger with a knife, your first reflex is to grab the finger with the other hand :-).

The plucking technique: http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/escape-a-choke-from-behind-krav-maga


Plucking the hands off the neck is not a realistic response because no one who is realistically trying to hurt someone with a choke places their hands on the neck from the rear. The only exceptions are if they trying to ram a person's head into a wall (which is not a hold) or they are giving a rather pleasant neck massage (also not a hold).

Standing rear choke holds are done by wrapping the arm around the neck, locking it with the other sides biscep or shoulder and either leaning back, kicking the legs out or wrapping them around the waist. Here is an example.

Regarding escapes of a proper standing choke, they require a bit of space to be made and not to allow the lock to come on fully. If the lock comes on then it's either an air or blood choke. Once that's on then it can be lights out in seconds if it's a tight blood choke. As for escapes: let Bas explain some.

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