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Some chokes in BJJ will happen so fast you will find yourself tapping without even thinking. Then there are chokes that you get stuck in and you have some time to work. Here are three simple things to remember when you find yourself stuck in a choke.
1) Stay calm– If you are new to BJJ and being choked this probably sounds crazy. I am not suggesting that you relax your body, I am suggesting that you mentally stay calm. Realize that you can tap anytime to stop the choke. Know that win or lose you will be okay; this should help prevent you from freaking out. You don’t want to tap too soon on a choke that you could have fought out of.
2) Think– You are going to need to find a way out of this choke. Hopefully you know at least two escapes from the choke that you are stuck in. If you know some escapes, get to work disassembling the choke. If you find yourself confused about what to do, work to create space. Any space you make increases the time you have and the chance that his choke will fall apart. If you are confused and have time, try to picture what the two of you look like from the view of someone standing next to you. This may help you to find space, a direction to move, or roll.
3) Wait– Waiting does not get you out of a choke, but sometimes your opponent will be spending massive amounts of energy trying to finish the choke. If you can outlast them they will often just let go trying to transition to the next attack, or take a break. Although waiting is not a good strategy if you can push yourself a few more seconds there will be some chokes that you defeat that would have otherwise had you tapping.
Being stuck in a choke that is not quite good enough to finish the job is a horrible place to be. You will be in a lot of discomfort, and there is a good chance that you will be losing the match in a few moments. Chokes are different than other submissions because you are less likely to get injured. Go ahead and work on your escapes without the fear of a broken arm or leg. Hopefully this advice will come to mind and serve you well when you are in this tough spot.
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