If Jiu Jitsu is considered the ‘gentle art’, many consider catch wrestling the ‘violent art’ and this submission captures the essence of catch wrestling well.
The submission gained fame when Josh Barnett used it to submit Dean Lister, a grappler who prior had not been submitted in competition for almost 15 years. This technique is unique and works by compressing an opponent’s chest so they are unable to inhale enough oxygen.
There are several structures involved in the mechanics of breathing.
Inspiration (inhaling) is when the ribs elevate so oxygen is drawn into the lungs and expiration (exhaling) is when the ribs depress as oxygen leaves the lungs.
The diaphragm is the primary structure involved in breathing as the diaphgram contracts inhalation occurs while being assisted by the rows of muscles in between the ribs (external intercostals). In most cases this is sufficient for resting breathing, however during strenous activity other muscles assist, such as the sternocleidomastoid, scalenes (anterior, middle, posterior) and serratus anterior.
The mechanics of this submission essentially make it too difficult for someone to drawn in a sufficient amount of oxygen.
When the attacker locks in the position the head will be elevated while the attacker’s body compresses the chest. Resting breathing mechanics will be insufficient and the accessory muscles will assist, however these muscles were not designed to elevate the ribs with a body on top.
As the defender fails escapes and has to defend neck cranks and/or arm locks more oxygen will be required. This creates the sensation of drowning as your body gradually becomes unable to inhale a sufficient amount of oxygen.
This is one of the most underrated techniques in grappling as it is incredibly miserable and demoralizing.
This technique is not seen often in sport Jiu Jitsu as it takes time to cook your opponent and let them run out of oxygen, however, do not underestimate the vicious scarf hold chest choke!
– Guest post by Dr. Mike Piekarski, DPT