Jiu Jitsu Submissions: The BJJ Ezekiel Choke

We all know BJJ as this grappling martial art that always finishes with someone tapping out and often the reason is a choke. The chokeholds in jiu jitsu submissions take a high place among all jiu jitsu submission ways. Let’s talk about the sode guruma jime aka ezekiel choke.

‘What? Sode guruma jime?’ you may ask.

Sode guruma jime is a type of chokehold (stranglehold, shime-waza) in Judo, which means in English “sleeve wheel constriction”.

But why do they call it an Ezekiel choke?

The Ezekiel choke is the term for sode guruma jime that is used in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It was named after the Brazilian judoka Ezequiel Paraguassu. It happened with time after he submitted many jiu jitsu fighters in training in Carlson Gracie’s gym in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He no longer competes, but often welcomes grapplers as guests in his charming beachside inn in Guarapari, Brazil, teaching them his judo and jiu jitsu secrets.

Ezequiel Paraguassu sode guruma jime The ezekiel choke
Ezequiel Paraguassu; image caption from Google Images

The story behind the ezekiel choke from Ezequiel Paraguassu’s words

One of the greatest coaches in jiu-jitsu and vale tudo history, Gracie told Paraguassu that he could stop by his gym to train, but his students weren’t so friendly with Paraguassu at first.

“There was a rivalry in the beginning, but then they accepted me there,” Paraguassu says.

“They knew I was a judoka, so they pulled guard right away,” he says. “I wanted that adrenaline, I wanted to be tested. It felt like a competition.”

Trapped into their guards, Paraguassu had no idea how to break free and stand back up. “I couldn’t get out of there,” he laughs.

And that’s when he decided to try the sode guruma jime.

“The first time I choked someone and he tapped, everyone was shocked. Professor Carlson asked his athlete if he got hurt, if he tapped because I hurt him. They didn’t understand what was going on. Someone being choked from guard position? I just improvised and it worked.”

“I had no idea how to get out of their guards, so I started to use that. The more they pushed me away, the more they got choked,” Paraguassu says. “They started to say, ‘Try that thing Ezequiel did, try that Ezequiel choke,’ and that was it.”

“I feel honored that I left a legacy in jiu-jitsu’s history, and I thank the jiu-jitsu community for welcoming me and helping me prepare for the Olympics.”

How to do an Ezekiel choke?

In short: The top fighter puts one arm behind his opponent’s neck and grabs his own sleeve with the other to complete the choke.

The chokehold can be applied from different BJJ positions – side control, full mount, closed guard, etc.

Watch the jiu jitsu moves for setting up the ezekiel choke by Roger Gracie – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, world champion, and a former MMA fighter:

Can you do an Ezekiel choke in no gi?

In fact, to finish the Ezekiel submission, one of the most important aspects is the gi sleeve. To utilize the BJJ Ezekiel choke no gi submission can be harder. But if you train without the gi and have done this choke position many times, you are able to implement the no gi Ezekiel as well. It’s just a bit different, but the principle is the same. You have to hold your own biceps instead of the gi sleeve.

MMA chokes and no gi Ezekiel

The famous Ezekiel choke no gi implementation was made by Alexey Oleynik – MMA and UFC heavyweight fighter.

He is the only UFC fighter to win with the Ezekiel choke during a fight and has managed to pull off this feat 2 times. He also holds the record for using this chokehold to win in MMA competitions.

Video: Aleksei Oleinik Ezekiel choke vs Victor Pesta, UFC fight night 103, 2017

What you can see on this video is a really rare situation for BJJ submissions, when someone submits his opponent being under a full mount position.

Usually, the mount gives not only 4 points for the jiu jitsu position, but an advantage to execute further attacks and submission.

Ryron and Rener Gracie were very impressed by Olenik’s UFC ezekiel choke from bottom, so they have analyzed this situation, different variations, as well as ways for standing ezekiel choke from the button.

Is the Ezekiel choke a blood choke?

A choke or neck choke in BJJ is an attack on the neck that either blocks air or blood flow to the brain. So when the ezekiel is done properly, it can be a very efficient blood choke.

But if you are practicing jiu jitsu for a while already, you may know, that often BJJ choke causes rather painful feelings than air or blood flow blocking. It happens because of pressure with the opponent`s fist on the jaw, for example.

How long does it take to choke someone unconscious?

If the blood choke is well-applied the unconsciousness may happen in about 10-20 seconds. The blood chokes properly applied with arms need less physical strength compared to choking just with the hands. Because of this fact, a brain injury or other, or even death is possible if the arteries remain constricted for 20 seconds or longer.

The Rear naked choke aka Choke, stranglehold, shime-waza
The Rear naked choke aka Choke, stranglehold, shime-waza; U.S. Army photo by Timothy Hale

The ezekiel choke is one of the submission positions in jiu jitsu that is legal for adults according to the IBJJF point system and rules and other federations. The ezekiel jiu jitsu choke is allowed for black and white belt competitors and athletes.

This jiu jitsu technique is being practiced on a daily basis in the gyms as a regular BJJ workout routine and exercise.

is ezekiel choke legal in ibjjf rules
Is Ezekiel choke legal? Snapshop from the IBJJF rules

Check other our BJJ news and articles about jiu jitsu training, BJJ fighters and MMA athletes. For instance, The X Guard BJJ Position: Let’s Talk About It.

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