After Chan Sung Jung’s quite spectacular defeat of Dustin Poirier, MMA messageboards are flooded with questions about the ‘chokehold’ the Zombie employed. Was it a Brabo Choke or a D’Arce Choke? The answer is ‘Both’. The two are synonymous, with the former term being the preferred one in Brazil and the latter more popular in the U.S.
That said, the Brabo / D’Arce Hold is not factually not a chokehold but a stranglehold.
The key difference is that a chokehold is applied at the front of the neck, compressing and choking off the trachea (windpipe), eliminating air supply to the lungs. In contrast, a stranglehold applies pressure to the sides of the neck, strangling the carotid artery/arteries and sometimes the jugular vein(s). That’s the reason a stranglehold is also called ‘blood choke’. Unlike a chokehold, a stranglehold usually bends or twists the neck to one side.
Accounting for this distinction, several well-known ‘chokeholds’ are actually strangleholds. Take the meat-and-potatoes hold in every cagefighter’s arsenal, the Arm Triangle Choke. The protagonist uses his locked arm to pin or squeeze his adversary’s neck against the latter’s own shoulder, thereby cutting off the flow of blood in the carotid artery and possibly the jugular vein too.
Would you believe that the humble headlock that almost every one of us as a schoolboy used some time or another on our enemy was either a chokehold or a stranglehold, depending on how we used it?
If you were more behind your foe than on the side and had your forearm pressed firmly against the front of his neck forcing his head more to the rear than to one side, and causing the little badass to gag and retch, you had him in a choke.
If you were more to one side of that badass and had the crook (inside ‘V’) of your elbow or biceps squeezing one side of his neck and bending or twisting it sideways, perhaps causing his eyes to bulge and face to go white, you had him in a stranglehold!
Inside the Octagon, though, we’re not talking about headlocks. When you’re caught in a chokehold or stranglehold by a good opponent, you have a choice: tap out – or black out!