What martial art uses "knee on neck" to subdue an opponent, and where would you find a training partner to let you practice such a deadly move?

[Update] This is not a move that I would ever practice. Nor would I expect someone to pull this move on me when rolling. Probably, that would result in someone being banished from ever training or sparring with me again. If you need to use that level of force, you probably muscle your training partners to ensure you "win".

Basic self-defense requires effective and well-practiced techniques, not ridiculous use-of-force tactics.

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I believe these moves would be taught to higher belt levels who have respect and understanding for how vulnerable the neck area is.

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    Pretty much all classical jujitsu (including Bujinkan) incorporates knee on back, shoulder, upper arm, neck, and other areas. Usually this is done after taking someone to the ground face first while maintaining an armbar behind his back. The combination of armbar and knee creates leverage that is quite painful. Commented May 28, 2020 at 18:58
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    @SteveWeigand Please write an answer.
    – mattm
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 21:35
  • I've added a supplementary answer. I find it insane that police departments would have taught this technique, and the only way I can understand it is they did not fear potential liability. It dangerous as hell, and even when practiced should only be practiced with experienced practitioners, tori and uke.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 0:30

2 Answers 2


So I'm assuming that you mean someone sitting on another person putting pressure on their neck via their knee.

I find this to be interesting timing for this question, because a few days ago a man was killed in Minnesota after a police officer sat on his neck using his knee for more than 8 minutes. So that brings us to our first example:

Police Training

Because it's hard to pinpoint exactly what martial arts police train in, I'm calling it police training. Usually (at least in the US) it consists of elements from Krav Maga, Hapkido, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's not common for a police officer to do this, although it does happen occasionally.

Krav Maga

I have a little bit of experience with Krav Maga, enough to recognize this as a possible option. The reason is that Krav Maga is taught specifically for self defense and combat, so your opponents' well being is not usually much of an issue. When I've trained, we practice groin strikes, eye jabs, and other very dangerous techniques.

where would you find a training partner to let you practice such a deadly move?

Well, in Krav Maga we don't practice the techniques with 100% intention, which is why you should be able to practice this on a Krav Maga partner. My guess is that you would get your opponent to the ground and set your knee on their neck, but not apply pressure. However, I'm not sure that this would be used in KM because it doesn't really give a tactical advantage. It leaves your stomach, face, and groin open for strikes. And something like that would most likely not be taught.

If you want to practice this really badly, then attend a Krav Maga class and try it out.

In conclusion, my best guess would be that it's some mixture of various arts, along with just "regular fighting" techniques (or in this case, not techniques).

  • Knee on neck doesn't give you an advance. In my art we do knee on opponent in submission, but knee on neck temporarely only if we have the legs set up the wrong way. But then I'll resort myself and my opponent under me to a better setup.
    – Bru
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 4:29
  • @Bru Yes that's why I said it's not really a tactical advantage.
    – LemmyX
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 4:35
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    If killing is an option and you are in the army in a theatre of war, surely you just put your weapon against them. (gun, or maybe knife). kneeling on the neck seems a poor choice. If killing them is not an option because you 'need' a prisoner knee on neck would have a higher chance of killing the enemy than other manuvers. It just generally seems a bad choice.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 10:52
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    FWIW, the department he works for disavows that it's part of their training (which of course they would deny). Commented May 31, 2020 at 17:29
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    And, uh... what was that other thing it caused? Hmmm, can't quite put my finger on it. Oh yeah, a dead guy or something like that. Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 12:27

This has an accepted answer, so this is purely a supplementary answer.

  • There are numerous ways to control an opponent's body. Among all of them, only those which employ the neck are potentially lethal.

The reasons are obvious—restriction of breath and potential damage to the spinal cord.

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