As a beginner in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one of the first chokes you will probably encounter is the Ezekiel Choke.
The Ezekiel Choke, also known as the Sode Guruma Jime (or “wheel sleeve choke”) in Judo, is a choke that compresses the opponent’s carotid arteries or trachea.
Popularized by Brazilian Judo Olympian Ezequiel Paraguassu, the choke was renamed in his memory as he caught a lot of BJJ practitioners with this move.
The mechanics of the choke requires the attacker to place the forearm behind the opponent’s neck and using the free hand to put pressure against the throat or at the side of the neck.
The Ezekiel is a very powerful blood choke that strangulates your opponent’s carotid arteries. There’s a reason why this is a favorite among many that are just starting the sport. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s very effective. But just because it might be the most fundamental choke you might learn, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work at an advanced level. Even high level blackbelts continue to use the choke at the given opportunity!
How to Perform the Ezekiel Choke
The Ezekiel Choke can be performed primarily from the mount position. This is probably the most common variation you might see. However, there are different variations to the choke and can be performed at different positions.
You can hit the Ezekiel from inside your closed guard, from knee mount, or even from the back mount. Or, you can even from inside your opponent’s closed guard like Ezequiel Paraguassu did. This one is probably the least recommended. It typically isn’t recommended to attempt any attacks from inside someone’s guard – it’s not impossible but not very practical.
The Ezekiel is typically performed by using an arm to control the opponent’s head and using the other hand to apply pressure on the throat of the opponent. The arm that controls the neck, grabs the free hand’s sleeve, and the free hand then applies pressure on the neck in a scissoring motion.
Ezekiel Choke from Full Mount
From the full mount position, as you are driving your weight down on your opponent, their likely reaction is to buck you off by bridging and pushing down on your knees.
When this happens, it opens up the opponent’s neck. This is the perfect opportunity to lock down the Ezekiel choke.
First step after obtaining the mount is to secure the opponent’s head. Do this by placing your forearm right underneath your opponent’s neck. Doing so will give you much better control of the position as he tries to buck and wiggle out!
Next, with the arm underneath the opponent’s neck, grab inside the sleeve of your opposite arm. Now as you feel them try to push you off, leaving their own neck open, place your hand or fist on top of the side of their neck and drive it down hard!
Use the arm controlling their head as leverage and the other hand straightens out in a scissoring motion to put some pressure on the carotid arteries. This choke sinks in fast and is extremely painful. It won’t take long to get the tap!
Ezekiel Choke from Closed Guard
Another common position you might see the Ezekiel Choke is from the Closed Guard. Often times, when you are setting up Ezekiel Choke, your opponent will continue to try to buck you off them. And if they time it just right, they can reverse the position. However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t finish the choke!
From the closed guard, place one arm across the opponent’s neck. If you started attacking from the mount, your arm should already have this head control. However, if you are starting from the closed guard, you should first break down your opponent’s posture. You do so by kicking your knees to your chest while your opponent is between your closed guard. This momentum will cause your opponent to crash down, giving you the perfect opportunity to control the opponent’s neck.
Once you are able to control the back of the neck with your arm, use the same arm to grab onto your opposite arm’s sleeve. Look for an opening at the side of the neck and use the blade of your wrist to place pressure against the carotid arteries. Extend your arm outwards to dig the choke in deep to finish the choke.
Ezekiel Choke from Different Positions
What makes the Ezekiel such a dangerous choke is that it is so versatile. And this is extremely important in Jiu Jitsu. Variety is the spice of life and that’s what you get with the Ezekiel. You can perform the choke from different positions.
The most common methods is to do the Ezekiel Choke from Full Mount and Ezekiel Choke from Closed Guard. However, there are other alternatives out there. They aren’t as common but they can be done, especially in more advanced grappling matches.
You can do an Ezekiel from the Knee Mount position and you can set it up from the Back Mount. You can even set it up from inside someone else’s Closed Guard! Here are some options when doing the Ezekiel Choke:
Ezekiel Choke from Knee Mount
Ezekiel Choke from Back Mount
Ezekiel Choke from Inside Closed Guard
Some Key Details to Consider
The Ezekiel Choke can be a deadly choke if used correctly. The problem is that it is a fairly obvious choke so it’s easy to see coming. So, if you do attempt the choke try to be sneaky about it! Here’s some key details to consider when performing the Ezekiel.
- 1Try to hide your choke hand when going in for the Ezekiel Choke. The Ezekiel is powerful, but it’s really easy to defend for an expecting opponent. Be sure to hide your choke by blocking you opponent’s view. One way you can do this is by putting your head down next to his to block his view from your choke hand. Next, drive your head against their chin, and make your opponent look the opposite direction. This will open up their neck for the choke!
- 2Adjust your forearm to get better leverage to finish the choke. One primary mistake that people make is that they try to do the choke when their arm is all the way across the back of the opponent’s neck, where the bicep is cradling the side of the neck. This is ok for head control initially, but to finish the choke, you may have to adjust a bit. Slide you arm underneath the opponent’s neck back out. The arm should be slid out until the wrist area is directly behind their neck. This will give you better leverage.
- 3Straighten your choke arm to finish the choke. The Ezekiel Choke requires you to straighten your arms out, pushing away from your opponent like a pair of pliers to finish. This makes it a little different than a cross collar choke, where you pull the opponent close to your body to finish the choke.
How To Defend Ezekiel Choke
To really know the mechanics of the Ezekiel choke, you must also know how to defend it properly. Here are a few key details on how to defend the Ezekiel choke:
The Ezekiel Choke can be very deadly if you get the mechanics down. It’s a very simple and easy choke to finish once your in the right position. The great thing about the choke is that it can be done at multiple positions. Having a variety of options is great for BJJ. Adding all these options will expand your grappling arsenal!
There’s a reason why many beginners tend to like the Ezekiel so much! It’s really easy to sink in the choke to go for the finish! Plus it also works really well to open up other attacks. Many advanced grapplers will use it to set up other attacks like arm triangles or arm bars just to name a few.
The Ezekiel Choke is super painful and very sneaky. You can catch any unsuspecting opponent with ease! Lock it down and get the tap!