Blood Choke vs. Air Choke – The Difference

Choke-outs are tactics that use chokeholds to cause consciousness. However, many people can’t differentiate between blood choke vs. air choke. These tactics can be difficult for both beginners and strikers

For a perfect knock-out, you need to apply chokes in all positions. But which is better? Blood choke or air choke? Let’s find out! Before going deeper, you need to understand what blood chokes and air chokes involve.


What is a Blood Choke? 

What is a blood choke? It is where one strangles both sides of the neck to block blood flow in the brain. During a blood choke, you attack the sides of the neck without compressing the airway. 

As a result, the pressure compresses the veins and arteries that circulate blood to and from the brain, causing a blackout. When it is appropriately applied, the person may end up unconscious quickly. 

What is an Air Choke?

An air choke is a type of choke that compresses the upper airway, such as the trachea, and interferes with breathing. To conduct a proper air choke, you need to apply pressure to the front part of the neck. 

Apart from that, apply pressure to the delicate part of the trachea to block breathing and cause a blackout. However, air chokes are painful and dangerous. Nonetheless, they take longer to put the opponent down.

How to Choke Someone Out

Now you know the two types of chokes, it’s time to get into action. So here is how to choke somebody out.

In this case, it will depend on the type of choke out. But generally, grab and get your opponent. Then, pull them while at the same time rotating their shoulders to get behind them. 

Pull them towards you and wrap your dominant arm around their neck. Apply pressure with your hold, then perform the chokehold safely. Since knocking someone out is an art, ensure that you have the right angle, good target, timing, and a perfect strike.

Blood Choke vs. Air Choke – The Difference

Blood chokes and air chokes might look the same. But in a real sense, they are different. Here’s what you need to know about blood choke vs. air choke.

A blood choke disrupts the blood circulation to the brain. In blood chokes, you apply pressure on both sides of the neck to disrupt the floor of blood in the brain. On the flip side, air choke disrupts breathing. 

In this scenario, you must apply pressure on the front of the neck to compress the upper airway. Apart from that, a blood choke is painless while an air choke is painful. The pain comes in when you apply pressure to the delicate parts of the trachea.

Blood chokes take a short time to cause a blackout when there is no blood flow. On the contrary, air chokes might take time to put the person unconscious, especially if they can tolerate the pain.

In blood chokes, you apply pressure on both sides, while in air chokes, you attack the front of the neck, applying pressure to the delicate trachea area. When you apply pressure in front of the throat, breathing becomes difficult leading to unconsciousness.

How Does an Air Choke Work?

An air choke is a type of chokehold that compresses the upper airway, such as the trachea causing difficulties in breathing. To conduct a proper air choke, you need to apply pressure to the front neck. 

For better results, apply pressure to the delicate part of the trachea to block breathing. However, air chokes are painful and dangerous. Additionally, they take longer to put the opponent down. Since air chokes are painful, a straining partner will tap out fast in a sparring condition. 

Knocking someone out in real fights can take longer if the opponent withstands the pain. Typically, many people can hold their breath for at least 30 to 60 seconds before becoming unconscious. On the contrary, air chokes can be dangerous when applying pressure to the front of the throat.

Male Judo Player Choking with Legs

How Does a Blood Choke Work?

A blood choke is an act where you strangle both sides of the neck to block blood flow in the brain. During a blood choke, you need to attack the sides of the neck without compressing the airway. Unlike air choke, a blood chokehold is painless because you might fail to notice that you have been put down unless they become unconscious.

According to the experts, this is a safe choke since you can check on the opponent to see whether the tongue is choking them. The good news is that your counterpart will wake up within seconds when you release the choke.

Can You Breathe During a Blood Choke?

As much as blood choking disrupts blood flow into the brain during a neck hold, the good news is that you can still breathe. However, the opponent will still pass out when you apply pressure on both sides of the neck. The good thing is that they will wake up without realizing they are unconscious.

How Long Does it Take to Choke Someone Out?

How long can it take to choke someone out? The length of choking varies since there’s a difference between air choke vs. blood choke.

Typically, blood chocks are much quicker. This is when you apply a tight squeeze instantly. Before you notice, you will have become unconscious. On the flip side, things can go south. Sometimes, the whole process might take a bit longer, especially in chokeholds such as the ranger chokehold. 

This can be a total miss if you are weak. For great results, hold for ten seconds while maintaining the pressure. On the other hand, air chokes are different because they can take more time to choke someone. As much as you have applied the required pressure, some opponents might hold on for a while before going to sleep.

Are Blood Chokes and Air Chokes Safe?

Well, this is a question that many people leave unanswered. Typically, these two types of chokeholds can be dangerous. But did you know that they can be safe? When they occur in a supervised environment, they are not harmful. 

They are also safe when the choke comes out soon after the defending person sleeps. This is because blood flows into the brain, causing no effects. But, on the contrary, they can be dangerous too. So, here are the expected dangers that might occur during the process.

Dangers of Blood Chokes and Air Chokes 

Loss of Memory

The two types of chokes may result in short-term memory loss. For example, when a person falls due to disruption of blood flow into the brain, they might wake up with less thinking capacity for a short time and then return to normal.


The second danger from chokeholds is concussions. Concussions occur from falling when unconscious. They cause cognitive symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.


Well, chokeholds might seem like an enjoyable sport, but they can cause death. This is because this strenuous activity disrupts breathing and blood flow to the brain. Usually, anything that involves the brain and breathing system is a no go zone since it involves the delicate and important body parts. 

So, be it blood or air choke, death can occur. For instance, the famous George Floyd died due to too much blood loss to the brain. This is because his opponent held pressure on the neck after losing consciousness. 

Other Related Dangers

  • Permanent brain damage 
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Coma

When are Air Chokes and Blood Chokes Used?

Air chokes and blood chokes are good self-defense techniques. They are also applicable in the following instances.

Martial Arts and Combat Sports

Due to their effectiveness, air and blood chokes are mostly applicable in martial arts and combat sports.

In Law Enforcement

In law enforcement, the officers try to arrest law-breakers without causing death or injury. In this instance, the law enforcement officers use any type of neck choke to bring down the law-breakers. First, however, they have to apply the chokes properly to avoid hurting them. 

Female Judoka Choking with Legs

The Final Say

Chokes are the best way to attack the opponent. There are different types of chokes, such as blood and air chokehold. As much as the main aim is to bring the opponent down, they work differently.

First, blood chokes are painful, while air chokes are not. Blood chokes are scarier because someone passes out easily. However, they are a bit safe as long as they are correctly applied, especially under a supervised situation.

Additionally, chokeholds are essential in law enforcement, martial arts, and combat sports. On the contrary, you must be on the lookout since they have dangers such as temporary memory loss and death. If you want to know how to use chokes properly, follow the outlined details and defeat stronger opponents.

Leave a Comment