My teammates later report he knocked me out for the full count plus 20. It's hard to believe because I had jumped up, ready to defend myself, and felt prepared to continue the battle. But the match was over. "Ippon!" was called.. I lost.
How many judoka have experienced the same choke-out and unconsciousness? The first time, it's a spooky feeling - the not -quite - knowing -for - sure. Is it any wonder parents and physicians are among those most vehemently opposed to judo's use of the choke hold?
It seems to be the not knowing that is the main objection to choking or what is referred to by judoists as shimewaza. It was precisely this lack of knowledge that prompted the Kodokan to scientifically and intensively study the effects of choking the human body. A description of the experiments and the accompanying results were published by the Kodokan in a bilingual (Japanese and English) book called the Bulletin of the Association for the Scientific Studies on Judo, Kodokan, Report 1, "Physiological Studies on Choking in Judo."
Is there any danger in the use of shimewaza? This is what a team of experts came together to try to discover. Representing several of Japan's foremost medical schools and universities as well as the Kodokan, this group of medical specialists and ranking educators used the electroencephalograph to detect brain changes; the earoxymeter for blood oxygen saturation, the sphygmomanometer for arterial blood pressure; the plethysmograph peripheral blood vessel reaction and the micropipometer for skin temperature changes. Other studies probed the plasma protein concentration, blood water volume, hematrocrit complete blood count, eosinophil count and urine 17 keto-steroid content.
Scientific Search for Danger
Describing the technique of choking in the 1968 AAU-USJF Official Judo Handbook, Dr. E. K. Kiowai explains, "Basically, except for one form of shimewaza, hadaka-jime the pressure is applied to the lateral side of the neck which the anatomists call the 'carotid triangle' . . . In the center of this triangle are the jugular veins, carotid artery and its branches and the carotid sinus. No strong muscle protects this area. The pressure is applied in a certain manner, depending upon the technique, directly on these structures. It may be the fist or the collar of the judogi. Very often it is the pressure of the dista end (joint) of the radius and the wrist which compresses the soft structures of the neck. Until the above name structures are-'sufficiently compressed the choke will not be effective. The neophyte may submit not because of the choke but because of the fear of being choked or the pain produced by improper choking methods." As Dr. Koiwai explains it, the hadaka-jimi choke hold is dif ferent from other forms because part of the pressure is applied to the larynx and trachea which is extremely painful and the player will usually submit before unconsciousness intervenes.
Short of submission, be will fight all the harder for the release because of the excruciating pain accompanied by this hold.
Six high-ranking black belt judoists were used for the Kodokan experiment. Five of the black belters were used as victims while the last, a sixth dan, performed the choking using the three, above-mentioned methods. Only in the katajuji-jime were the subjects strangled from the front. The victims were laid on a couch in the resting position, looking as though they were wired for sound. The other two forms of choking were performed while the upper part of the victims' bodies were raised approximately 30 degrees and the performer did the strangulation from behind.
As all the-equipment was checked and re-checked, the experiment was given the okay to commence. The sixth dan who was to perform the choking took his position and was given the signal to go ahead. The criteria for unconsciousness was the reflex dilation, or widening, of the pupils. The choker released his hold at the first sign of unconsciousness. Measurement on the eyes' pupils were made at rest, then at the ready position, and finally throughout the choking period until five minutes after regaining consciousness. The three chokes were performed on each of the five subjects so a total of 18 tests were recorded and analyzed. Some of the general symptoms the subjects elicited were interesting to the novice as well as the seasoned judoka.
After only 10 seconds of choking, the victims fell unconscious. As soon as they were diagnosed unconscious, the per former released them and, the subjects remained unconscious from 10 to 12 seconds. During this period the victims some times developed clonic, a jerking or fluttering, cramps. All subjects woke up spontaneously. It was mentioned in the Bulletin the victims sometimes bad dreams which were "not unpleasant" while they were unconscious. After awakening, the subjects did not complain of any unpleasant feelings.
It seems the pain threshhold on the hadaka-jime method of choking was too great to induce unconsciousness and would be a poor method to rely on in tournament play because the opponent would probably fight all the more to gain release. However with the okurieri-jime and the katajuji-jime all the subjects lost consciousness and entered a state that was similar in many respects to that of sleeping. As the subject regained consciousness spontaneously his electroencephalogram readings returned to normal. It should be repeated that in all the cases the performer released his grip immediately after the subjects fell unconscious, thereby limiting the effect of choking to a short period. But had the strangulation continued serious aftereffects would have been expected.
What causes unconsciousness from choking? The findings show the stopping of the flow of blood to the bead plays an important role in causing the unconsciousness. In other words-, the subject blacks out due to the lack of oxygen in the brain which is fed blood via the carotid arteries.
Notes Epileptic Seizure