The MASTERCLASS gives key information on how to optimise a Krav Maga strike or technique.

This MASTERCLASS covers the CHOKE FROM THE SIDE, a situation where you effectively is attacked from the side through a close range choke around the neck and throat. The attack if done brutally and with intent is potentially lethal, especially as the squeezing of the neck and throat will restrict your breathing or blood flow to the brain. You may lose consciousness within a few seconds.

Your response can therefore be appropriately severe (as you will discover).

This defensive solution is multi-purpose. It can equally be deployed as described against a bearhug from the side (arms trapped high near shoulders) or a knife threat to the neck from the side (knife on far side neck to the attacker with knife hand on your front).


Optimise the defence by:

Rebalance yourself by stepping sideways with small steps if the attack if either pushing or pulling you from your stationary position. Make your smaller steps with feet solidly on the floor to rebalance more quickly. You’re not likely to commence any other defensive motion until your brain is satisfied it has regained sufficient balance. It will be its immediate priority.

As soon as you can, send your far hand (to the attacker) up in a ‘scooping’ or ‘swan neck’ shape (fingers and thumb together) to pluck the attacker’s hand in front of your throat and yank it sideways in a violent and quick move. The pluck should happen close to the attacker’s wrist.

Simultaneously, move your close arm to the attacker behind the same arm and as you pluck the hand away from your neck to move it sideways (not downwards), use the crook of your close arm elbow to push the attacker arm in the same direction. As you do this, slap the palm of your hand onto the other side collar bone.

Squeezing the attacker’s arm towards your upper chest with both your arms for friction to exert better control, keeping both your elbows close to your ribs for more power, send your head to deliver a head butt towards the attacker’s face, aiming ideally at the nose or chin bones, if reachable. The connection should be your temple area. Retain your head close their face to deliver both continued pressure onto their face and to keep it away from a knife in the case of a knife threat scenario.

Picture: Pluck and push frontal arm away from neck, then immediately head butt into the attacker’s face.

Immediately step with your far side leg to the attacker close to your near side leg, unless it is already in this position. Now send your near side knee sideways and in between, but below the groin of the attacker, connecting with your lower quad area. This should be a sudden, sharp and aggressive move, not a pushing motion. Exhale as you strike.

To repeat (if pain is detected and to move the attacker further backwards to disturb their balance to combine with the pain), land your leg slightly forward, step close again with the far leg again and repeat the strike.

Picture: Deliver a single or multiple knee strikes to drive the attacker backwards to make their brain prioritise pain and rebalancing.

If the choking grip is now looser, step with your far leg towards the same side of the frontal hand of the attacker, sufficiently far back that their frontal arm is moved outward to a position directly out from their shoulders, limiting the strength and power in this arm. You must retain the grip of the other arm/wrist and pressure onto your chest as you step.

As you make this step, release the other arm until it forms a 90° angle at the elbow joint with your hand facing straight down. Just before you land with your step, start to move your elbow upwards, connected to and guided by the chest of the attacker, in a aggressive elbow strike aimed at the bottom part of the jaw of the attacker. You may or may not connect, dependent of the position of the head of the attacker and height relativity between both of you, but your key intent is to release this arm for further strikes. Lift it up between your heads, creating a just over 90° angle again, but with your forearm lifted high and moved behind your head. This arm frame should be locked and really solid.

Picture: Step sideways, release the close arm and strike upwards along the torso centreline of the attacker towards their jaw.

Start to move, still holding the outstretched arm of the attacker tight to your chest, around towards the back of the attacker. For each step, send the locked frame of the close arm down towards the attacker’s neck in a brutal and aggressive motion, connecting anywhere between your lower forearm and elbow joint. Aim to strike just below the skull and onto the high end of the neck. Repeat several times as you step, each repetition through a big upwards motion of your arm behind your head, before sending the locked frame down to connect with the neck again. Do not ‘chop’ with your forearm only or make smaller upward/downward motions. You need the big motions to create power.

Picture: Move around the attacker, delivering vertical outward forearm strikes towards the back of their neck.

If there is height disparity between you (so reaching the attacker’s neck is more difficult), open palm strikes to their face (break nose) combined with strikes towards the larynx are also effective. If their head drops lower, it may also be on your knee strike to face range. Whichever strikes are chosen, keeping moving continuously around the attacker, maintaining the grip of their arm, to avoid them grabbing you or striking with their free hand, making them rebalance continuously.

Continue to strike until the attacker is unconscious or you’re able to escape, which ever comes first.

Sounds raw and brutal? A choke from the side is a potential lethal force attack. Your reaction can be significant in return.

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