How Jiu-Jitsu can be useful at the Olympics

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Montenegro’s Milena Knezevic taking a rear-naked choke from Angolan player Magda  during a handball game at London Olympics / Photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters

Jiu-Jitsu isn’t yet an Olympic sport, but one of the style’s signature moves, the rear-naked choke, reared its head in London this Wednesday. In the handball match between the female national teams of Montenegro and Angola, Montenegrin player Milena Knezevic, 22, got caught in the hold by Angola’s Magda Cazanga during the game. At the end of the match, which Montenegro won by 30 to 25, Milena left the court on a stretcher.

Situations such as this one unfold with great frequency on the street or even in soccer games, for example. But how do you protect yourself in such cases?

“The squeeze is produced using the arms. One arm goes in across the front of the neck and the hand latches onto the bicep of the other arm. Now the other hand presses the head forward,” explained the black belt André Nogueira, a Bitetti Combat champion.

“As it was done kind of joltingly, it could have hurt the windpipe, neck or even her spine. If she’d known Jiu-Jitsu she’d have defended her neck by bringing her chin to her chest and turning her head in the direction opposite that of the hand that went in,” he added.

What about you, gentle reader, do you know how to defend against chokes from the back? No? Then it’s about time you learn some Jiu-Jitsu.

Check out some videos of how to escape from the unpleasant position.

1. Pagels and Marcio Correa teach standing rear-naked-choke defense 

2. Marcos Schubert teaches how to defend a choke from the back

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