The Rear Naked Choke: The Most Effective Submission Hold in MMA

February 15, 2023
From: Spartacus
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In this adrenaline-fueled combat sport of MMA, fighters combine the raw power of boxing, the lightning-fast strikes of kickboxing, the ground game of wrestling, and the artful submissions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to create a spectacle like no other.

Among the arsenal of submission holds that can make opponents crumble in defeat, one reigns supreme—the Rear Naked Choke! This majestic maneuver has earned its reputation as the ultimate submission hold in MMA, striking fear into the hearts of fighters worldwide.

The Rear Naked Choke is a move that embodies the essence of MMA – a blend of power, technique, and strategy. It’s a move often seen in Spartacus Fight Events, where our fighters apply it with devastating effectiveness. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this iconic submission.”

What is the Rear Naked Choke?

The Rear Naked Choke is the sorcerer’s spell of submission holds in the magical realm of MMA! Picture this: you’re locked in a titanic battle with your opponent, grappling for control like two ferocious beasts. Suddenly, an opportunity presents itself, and you seize it with the tenacity of a hungry lion.

The Rear Naked Choke is the ultimate mystical embrace that sends shivers down the spines of your foes. It’s a dazzling display of technique and cunning, a lethal combination that can leave your adversary gasping for air and desperately tapping out for mercy.

Here’s the secret recipe for this sorcery: You position yourself behind your opponent, like a stealthy ninja lurking in the shadows. With lightning speed, you slip your arm around their neck, securing a vice-like grip that tightens with every heartbeat. It’s a battle of wills as you apply pressure, squeezing like a boa constrictor and cutting off the precious oxygen supply to their brain.

As the Rear Naked Choke takes hold, panic sets in for your hapless opponent. Their vision blurs, their muscles weaken, and the taste of defeat lingers on their lips. Tap out or face the dire consequences of slipping into the abyss of unconsciousness.

But remember, the Rear Naked Choke is not a mere trick. It requires finesse, timing, and the artful execution of technique. Proper positioning, expert hand placement, and a touch of wizardry are all vital to master this spellbinding submission hold.

Why the Rear Naked Choke is Most Effective in MMA?

Why, you ask, does this enchanting technique hold such unrivaled power in the realm of mixed martial arts? Prepare to be amazed!

First, imagine yourself in the heat of battle, locked in a brutal dance with your opponent. Every strike, every takedown, and every ground exchange has led to this pivotal moment. It’s time to unleash the full might of the Rear Naked Choke.

This bewitching submission begins with a cunning strategy. As you secure your position behind your rival, like a predator stalking its prey, you seize the opportunity to wrap your arm around their defenseless neck. It’s a moment of vulnerability, a moment when victory hangs in the balance.

But here’s where the magic truly begins. With an otherworldly grip, you cinch your bicep against their carotid artery, applying a vise-like pressure that sends shockwaves of panic through their entire being. Their eyes widen, their breath becomes shallow, and the taste of defeat lingers on their trembling lips.

What makes the Rear Naked Choke an unstoppable force? It’s a combination of factors that leaves opponents gasping for salvation. The human body, you see, has its limits. As the choke tightens, the oxygen supply to the brain diminishes, robbing your adversary of their strength and clarity of mind. In a frenzy, they search for an escape, but the grip is unyielding, like an ancient spell woven into the fabric of combat.

The Rear Naked Choke transcends physical dominance. It delves into the realm of psychology, where fear and desperation intertwine. As your foe teeters on the edge of consciousness, their primal instinct kicks in. Tap out or face the abyss of slumber, where dreams turn to nightmares and victory slips through their trembling fingers.

Anatomy of the Rear Naked Choke

Here’s a step-by-step guide to wielding the Rear Naked Choke with finesse:

Step 1: Set the stage

Engage your opponent in a ground battle, where the sweet symphony of grappling unfolds. Seek the opportune moment when their defenses falter, and their vulnerability is laid bare.

Step 2: Positioning is key

As your foe lies beneath you, seize control of their back like a true conqueror. Secure your hooks, firmly planting your legs against their hips, rendering them immobile and at your mercy.

Step 3: The iron embrace

With your dominant arm, snake it gracefully around their neck, like a coiled serpent ready to strike. Ensure that your bicep is snug against their carotid artery, cutting off the precious flow of life-giving oxygen.

Step 4: The supporting cast

Your non-dominant arm has a crucial role to play. It slides effortlessly under their chin, intertwining your hands in a clasp of unwavering determination. This grip fortifies the choke, tightening the noose of destiny.

Step 5: The squeeze of triumph

Summon your inner strength and squeeze, my friend! Apply steady and calculated pressure, as if compressing the very essence of their existence. Their world shrinks, and panic takes hold.

Step 6: The tap or nap dilemma

As the Rear Naked Choke tightens its grip, your opponent is faced with a harrowing choice. Tap out, signaling their surrender to your indomitable prowess, or venture into the abyss of unconsciousness, where dreams intertwine with darkness.


Explanation of the mechanics of the choke

The Rear Naked Choke is a powerful and sneaky technique in MMA that fighters use to make their opponents see stars. It’s a blood choke, which means that it works by squeezing the carotid arteries in the neck, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to the brain. As the choke is applied, the pressure increases, and the blood supply to the brain decreases, causing the fighter to feel woozy and disoriented. If the hold isn’t released, unconsciousness can occur within seconds, making it a fearsome weapon in the MMA arsenal.

Importance of proper technique

While the Rear Naked Choke may seem like a magical squeeze of victory, it’s not just a simple hug from behind. Like a secret handshake, it requires finesse and technique to make it work like a charm. Applying the right amount of pressure in the perfect position is crucial for success. If you don’t get it just right, your opponent might slip away like a slippery fish.

Improper technique can lead to some serious “ouchies” for both you and your opponent. We’re talking about twisted limbs and strained muscles, and that’s definitely not the way to win the match!

Don’t just go squeezing willy-nilly. Take the time to practice and master the proper technique for executing the Rear Naked Choke. It’s the key to unleashing its power effectively and keeping everyone safe and sound. With practice, you’ll be able to wrap your opponents up in a snug embrace they won’t escape from. Now that’s the sweet taste of victory!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to the Rear Naked Choke, you better watch out for these sneaky slip-ups. One wrong move and you could end up in a chokehold of mistakes! 

  • First up, watch out for those wily arms! Positioning them incorrectly is like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded—it’s just not gonna work. So make sure you’ve got those arms in the right place, ready to strike like lightning!
  • Next, we’ve got the elbows. Squeezing them together is key, like squishing a sandwich to make all the tasty ingredients come together. Don’t let those elbows go rogue; keep ’em snug and tight!
  • Lock it in, baby! One of the biggest slip-ups is forgetting to secure the choke in place. It’s like leaving your car unlocked—your opponent might just escape and drive off into the sunset. So don’t forget to lock that choke down and hold on for dear life!
  • Now, here’s a little secret: too much force can be a bad thing. You don’t want to accidentally send your opponent on a one-way ticket to Planet Ouch. Apply just the right amount of pressure, and you’ll have them begging for mercy in no time.

Always be aware of the risks associated with the Rear Naked Choke. If your opponent taps out, that’s their way of saying, “Okay, I surrender, please release me from this headlock!” And if the referee steps in, listen up and let go immediately. We’re all here to have a good time, after all!


Advantages of the Rear Naked Choke

The Rear Naked Choke has a high success rate in MMA. This is due to several factors, including its ability to be applied from a variety of positions, its effectiveness in cutting off blood flow to the brain, and the fact that it can be applied quickly and with minimal energy expenditure. According to statistics, the Rear Naked Choke is one of the most commonly used submission holds in MMA and has a success rate of around 20%.


The Rear Naked Choke is a master of adaptability. It can strike from any position, whether you’re standing tall, sitting snug, or grappling on the ground. This versatile beast gives you the power to control your opponents, drain their energy, and force them to surrender. It’s like having a secret weapon that can set up a flurry of devastating strikes or lead to other jaw-dropping submissions.

Minimal energy expenditure

The Rear Naked Choke demands minimal effort for maximum impact. You don’t need Herculean strength or superhuman stamina. Nope, it’s all about finesse and leverage. With the right technique, you can apply the choke with precision, even when you’re running on fumes. It’s the perfect move to catch your opponent off guard and leave them gasping for air.

Less risk of injury

 Unlike some submission holds that can leave limbs crying for mercy, the Rear Naked Choke keeps things in check. It’s a neck-hugging maneuver that keeps those precious joints and spines safe and sound. No need to worry about snapping bones or choking the life out of someone. We’re all about controlled power here.

Psychological advantage

The Rear Naked Choke messes with your opponents’ heads, fueling their worst nightmares. The mere threat of this beastly hold can send shivers down their spine and force them into a defensive frenzy. They’ll exhaust themselves trying to escape its clutches, leaving them vulnerable to your other mind-blowing attacks. It’s the ultimate mind game, a psychological chess match that you’re destined to conquer.

Countering and Defending Against the Rear Naked Choke

Let’s unlock the secrets of defending against the Rear Naked Choke in the most exciting way possible. Get ready to unleash your inner escape artist and turn the tables on your opponent!

  • Hand fighting – Picture yourself as a ninja master, gracefully breaking free from the clutches of your opponent’s arms. Grab their wrists, yank them away from your neck, and watch their hopes of applying the choke crumble like a house of cards. 
  • Tucking your chin – It’s like pulling off a magic trick with your chin as the star. Tuck it down towards your chest, creating a fortress that shields your precious neck from the deadly grip of the Rear Naked Choke. Time slows down as you buy yourself a precious moment to defend or plot your epic escape.
  • Creating space – We’re talking hip bridges, powerful pushes, and leg kicks that send your opponent’s plans flying out the window. You create space like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, leaving your opponent scratching their head in disbelief. Space is your ally, my friends!
  • Rolling or spinning – Picture yourself rolling and spinning like a fearless acrobat, leaving your opponent grasping at thin air. They thought they had you, but you turn the tables with a graceful twist, slipping out of their clutches and landing on top like a triumphant hero. Escaping the Rear Naked Choke has never looked so good!

Escaping the choke and preventing the set-up

Get ready to defy gravity, outmaneuver your opponent, and emerge victorious with these electrifying escape techniques!

  • Twist and Turn: Imagine yourself as a nimble contortionist, ready to twist and turn your way out of trouble. Quickly turn your body into your opponent, breaking their grip on your neck. Use your free hand to push on their arm, creating the space you need to slip away from the choke. Twist like a tornado and leave your opponent in awe!
  • Slip Out the Back Door: It’s time to execute a daring maneuver that will leave your opponent speechless. Picture yourself as a slippery snake, ready to slither out of danger. As they lock in the Rear Naked Choke, twist your body like a stealthy ninja and slide your hips out from under their legs. In one swift motion, you’ll escape their clutches and find yourself on top, ready to turn the tables.
  • Patience and Defense: Sometimes, the key to escape lies in patience and rock-solid defense. Stay calm like a zen master and defend against the choke with all your might. Weather the storm, anticipate your opponent’s moves, and wait for the perfect opportunity to strike. When they tire and their grip loosens, seize the moment and break free like a true warrior.

Remember, prevention is better than escape. Stay alert and avoid giving your opponent the chance to apply the Rear Naked Choke. But if they catch you, fear not! With these thrilling escape techniques, you’ll leave your opponent scratching their head in disbelief.



In the thrilling world of MMA, where fighters engage in epic battles of skill and strategy, the Rear Naked Choke stands as a formidable submission hold. We’ve unraveled the secrets of this captivating technique, from its anatomy to its execution and defense.

With its versatility, minimal energy expenditure, and psychological advantage, the Rear Naked Choke has earned its place among the most effective submission holds in MMA. It’s a weapon wielded by warriors who understand the intricacies of technique, positioning, and timing.

But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Proper execution and respect for your opponent’s safety are paramount. So train diligently, master the art, and apply the Rear Naked Choke with precision and care.

A deeper understanding of techniques like the Rear Naked Choke enhances your Spartacus viewing experience, revealing the strategic depth beneath each fight’s surface. Immerse yourself in the thrilling world of MMA with the Spartacus app. Download today and gain access to live events, exclusive interviews, technique breakdowns, and more.

Whether you’re a fighter seeking to add this lethal tool to your arsenal or an avid fan mesmerized by the spectacle, the Rear Naked Choke will continue to captivate and astound. It represents the thrilling culmination of skill, athleticism, and sheer determination.

So embrace the challenge, embrace the excitement, and let the Rear Naked Choke be a testament to the artistry and relentless pursuit of victory that defines the world of MMA.


What is the Rear Naked Choke?

The Rear Naked Choke (RNC) is a classic yet lethal move, a stranglehold that leaves your opponent no choice but to tap or nap. Picture sinking your forearm into their throat while their back is to you, squeezing the life out of victory’s horizon.

Why is the Rear Naked Choke considered the most effective submission hold in MMA?

The RNC is the Grim Reaper of submission holds. No bells and whistles—just raw, suffocating efficacy. It attacks the carotid arteries, cuts off blood flow to the brain, and demands surrender. It’s as technical as it is primal.

How do you properly execute a Rear Naked Choke?

Slide your dominant arm under their chin like a snake in the grass, palm facing you. The other hand clasps it from behind their head. Elbows aligned, you’re a constrictor now—squeeze.

What are the key elements for mastering the Rear Naked Choke?

Precision, patience, and pressure. Place the arm right, wait for the perfect moment, and then unleash suffocating force. There’s an art to turning your arms into anacondas.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when performing a Rear Naked Choke?

Avoid the rookie moves: pulling away instead of squeezing in, not securing your grips, or getting too eager and burning out your arms. Remember, this isn’t a death grip; it’s a calculated strangulation.

How does the Rear Naked Choke work mechanically to disable an opponent?

Biology and physics tango here. The choke closes off the carotid arteries, halting blood to the brain. Within seconds, it lights out. Your arms become levers of physiological shutdown.

What is the importance of proper technique in executing a Rear Naked Choke?

Technique is the unsung hero in the RNC narrative. Wrong placement or grip, and you’re just giving your opponent a love tap. Done right, it’s a crowning checkmate in the brutal chess match that is MMA.

What are the advantages of using the Rear Naked Choke in MMA?

It’s the Swiss Army knife of submission holds. Versatile, quick, and doesn’t rely on brute strength. Plus, it works as well in the first minute as the last, turning survival into a ticking clock.

How can you defend against a Rear Naked Choke?

Tuck your chin, protect your neck, and fight the hands. Deny them the setup, and you deny them the choke. It’s a desperate dance, but one worth mastering.

Are there specific escape techniques to counter a Rear Naked Choke?

Peel, pivot, and plunge. Peel their arm, pivot your hips away, and plunge forward to disrupt their base. Sounds poetic, but it’s a gritty sonnet penned in sweat and resolve.

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