[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2012-10-14_2200_687.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:This guy's lucky. [[PlayerCharacter Adam Jensen]] has [[CombatPragmatist much more painful ways]] [[TechnicalPacifist of taking a person down.]]]]
A technique often used in fiction by trained military or skilled freelancers is to apply a chokehold, usually by wrapping an arm around their neck from behind and applying pressure. The victim briefly struggles, but quickly passes out and is hidden from sight.

Of course, real life isn't as clean. There are two kinds of chokes: Blood and air.

The air choke is when someone is choked unconscious by cutting off his air supply. The air to the lungs is suspended. In fiction the person chokes and flails in silence, and after maybe thirty seconds he is rendered unconscious. In reality, cutting off someone's air supply would take several minutes and he'd be at full strength the whole time[[note]]A reasonably fit individual can hold their breath for up to a minute, so why should the choke be any different?[[/note]]. Do not choke someone this way.

The blood choke is when someone is choked unconscious by cutting off his blood. The supply of blood to the brain is suspended. In fiction the person goes cross-eyed and immediately succumbs to unconsciousness. In reality, the process takes a few seconds and the victim understands what's happening and can protest, in the brief window available. Do choke someone this way, '''if you know what you're doing'''. If you don't, you can kill someone. Even trained individuals can accidentally kill with a blood choke. The pressure on the arteries which chokes the victim can just as easily collapse the arteries, fatally disrupting blood flow. This is why cops no longer employ "The Sleeper Hold". It kills.

It's possible for a karate chop to be a form of a choke. If a blow to the neck is intended to hit the carotid artery and briefly interrupt blood flow it's a stunning blood choke. If it's a blow to the side of the neck it's intended to strike the vagus nerve and is a PressurePoint strike. The typical depiction of a karate chop is a TapOnTheHead.

InstantSedation is very common. Compare TapOnTheHead where unconsciousness is rendered with a blow, TheParalyzer ([[Franchise/StarTrek Vulcan nerve pinch]] included). Also, the VorpalPillow, where a choke hold causes instant death.

Note that this trope includes choking in most forms, not just sleeper holds.

!!Chokes in life and in fiction
[[folder: AnimeAndManga]]
* In ''Anime/StreetFighterIIV'', Bison does this to Chun Li, in the midst of a psycho power-fueled rage, but nearly goes too far.
* In ''{{Genshiken}}'', Hato applies one on Kuchiki to prevent Kuchiki... eeer... ''molesting'' Madarame. Unfortunately for Hato, the shamelessly perverted Kuchiki suddenly discovers he has a fetish for it.
* In ''{{Berserk}}'', [[spoiler:during the love scene between Guts and Casca, Guts ends up having a flashback to his traumatic rape at the hands of Donovan, which nearly results in Casca getting strangled to death before he manages to snap out of it]].
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' has Tobi choking Konan in their battle.
* In ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', [[spoiler:Reiner]] does this to Eren to subdue him. Considering [[AuthorAppeal Isayama's love of MMA]], it's fairly realistic and takes a while.
* ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'': This often happens when two characters fight. Like [[RuleOfFunny most of the series]], it's PlayedForLaughs and no one passes out.
** [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Germany]] has put Italy into a choke hold on more than one occasion, usually because Italy has said or done something annoying.
** England also tried to choke America on one occasion because he was being obnoxious.
** France and England were once shown trying to simultaneously choke each other while they were fighting.
** Young Russia got young Prussia (who was still the Teutonic Knights at the time) into a choke hold after [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Ice the Battle of the Ice.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film]]
* GuyRitchie's ''Film/SherlockHolmes'' features both chokes at the same time. A thug sneaking up on Holmes is put in a blood choke by Watson. To prevent the {{Mook}} from screaming, Holmes immediately pinches off his nose and mouth. They chat for a bit and, once the thug has passed out, move on. At the end of the film, a big mook has to be slowly air choked because he's just [[TheBigGuy too darn big]] for anything else.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': Darth Vader's Force Choke appears to be a long distance mystical air choke. Slow, unpleasant, unstoppable. Very dark-sidey.
** The expanded universe explains that it actually collapses and crushes the windpipe, which explains, to a degree, why it works faster than normal.
* Two chokes appear in ''Film/NeverSayNeverAgain''. James uses a sleeper hold on a {{Mook}} guard during UnwinnableTrainingSimulation opening and an assassin uses a sleeper hold on one of the attendants at Shrublands.
* In ''Film/ThePrincessBride'', The Man in Black knocks out Fezzik with a blood choke. It takes several minutes and they have a rather cordial conversation all the while.
* In ''{{Sneakers}}'' Dick Gordon knocks out Bishop with a sleeper hold. In contrast to the repeated TapOnTheHead he's been given up to this point, it's an act of mercy.
* ''Film/CountYorga'': The titled character loves doing these when he can and its always fatal.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', Bruce Wayne does this to Harvey Dent.
* In ''DoTheRightThing'', Radio Raheem dies from a police chokehold, sparking off a riot.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
* In ''[[{{Deryni}} The Bishop's Heir]]'', Dhugal (who doesn't then know he's Deryni, never mind controlling his shields) reacts badly to the psychic energies unleashed at Duncan's consecration as bishop. Morgan uses a choke hold on Dhugal to get him away from the cathedral via Transfer Portal and avoid unwanted attention from potentially hostile clerics when Dhugal's shields prove impossible for Morgan to breach.
* A form of the "sleeper hold" variant comes up in ''Yoda: DarkRendezvous''. WeakButSkilled Padawan Scout has a particular move where she can grab someone's throat, cut off the blood flow, and render them unconscious in seconds without permanently damaging them. She uses it in Jedi Initiate tournaments to great effect. Scout is herself [[NeckLift grabbed and held up by the neck]] later in the novel, and later still is on the receiving end of a Force Choke, and in the narration we see her struggle to breathe and think past the reduced blood flow.
** Several people try this on ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'''s Tash Arranda. She gets heartily sick of being grabbed by the throat.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' Harry is grabbed by the skinwalker, and notes that there are two ways to choke someone into unconsciousness - the quick way, and the slow and painful way. Naturally, the skinwalker chooses the second one.
* In the ConanTheBarbarian story "Literature/ManEatersOfZamboula", an executioner named Baal-pteor who kills the condemned by strangulation tries to do this to Conan, but his thick neck muscles prevent him. Conan then returns the favor and strangles Baal-pteor to death.
* The blood choke variant is how Phelan Kell wins a mutually unarmed zero-G duel against a Clan battle armor trooper (a so-called "Elemental", i.e. a significantly bigger and stronger genetically engineered {{super soldier}}) during his Trial of Bloodright in the ''{{BattleTech}}'' novel ''Dark Destiny''. Even once the hold is established, he still has to hang on for dear life for quite a while and collect some bruises before his opponent finally succumbs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''BurnNotice'': Michael Westen is adept at the blood choke. His victims rarely cry out, but they rarely have time.
* ''Series/LawAndOrder'' features a victim of a fatal blood choke. A military man upset at a [[AssholeVictim Jerk Pacifist]] mocking his dead son employs a sleeper hold blood choke. It leaves telltale bruises over the victim's carotid arteries.
* Subverted by ''Series/{{Angel}}''. Someone tries to air choke the titular character only to learn, to his dismay, that that doesn't work on vampires.
** The demon tentacles one: "Yeah...vampire...strangling...not gonna happen." *Slashes tentacle with knife*
* On ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'', in the episode The Blind Banker, Sherlock is investigating Soo Lin's flat when he is grabbed from behind and air choked almost to unconciousness by an unknown assailant, who [[ItMakesSenseInContext slips an origami flower into his coat pocket]].
* While ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' prefers to sedate his targets, he's been known to strangle them into unconsciousness. Acceptable, considering what he plans to do with them doesn't really require them to be in the best health anyway. [[spoiler:His brother]] was considerably more fond of the sleeper hold, although his goals were basically the same.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', a sleeper hold accidentally kills someone.
* Ray Langston does it to a suspect on ''Series/{{CSI}}'' "Blood Moon", all the while going on with his doctor's expertise about what's it's doing to the guy.
* The patient of the week in one episode of ''Series/{{House}}'' stymies the team until it turns out that he's a masochist whose sex-play includes being repeatedly choked by his Mistress. Among other things, this has caused damage to the arteries in his neck.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'' includes a rather brutal and realistic choke early in the series. It takes some time and the resulting corpse is quite unattractive.
* In episode 2.04 of ''Series/OrphanBlack,'' [[spoiler:Prolethian daughter Gracie attempts to smother Helena with a pillow. Thinking she's succeeded, she walks away...only to have Helena lock her in a choke hold and whisper "Shhhh. Go to sleep."]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* An air choke is a standard illegal manoeuvre. Double points if you're using the ring ropes to throttle the guy. Note: AIR choke is 'illegal'. This is also why you may see a referee administering an illegal hold count when TheBigGuy is setting up a chokeslam; technically speaking (yeah, right), the 'choke' part is illegal.
* A blood choke is, however, perfectly fine in professional wrestling. Note how often 'sleeper hold' is mentioned in this article? That's the usual name given by wrestling fans. Another more popular name from mixed martial arts is 'rear naked choke', which is again a blood choke.
** The 'sleeper hold' isn't used as often as it was in earlier eras of ProfessionalWrestling. It's partially a result of the general LensmanArmsRace in wrestling moves, but probably also because ChokeHolds [[DontTryThisAtHome are actually dangerous.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'' - one of the non-lethal takedowns.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''. Snake can sneak up on guards, grab them by the neck, and throttle them unconscious. When they wake up, they're perfectly fine. Handled ''slightly'' realistically in that Snake can kill a guard by throttling him until his neck breaks. In [=MGS3=], if guards are hungry and weak, Snake can instantly knock them out with an UnnecessaryCombatRoll.
** After beating Sniper Wolf for the first time, Snake himself got knocked out this way though.
* This is how Batman performs a Silent Takedown in VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum. He uses a blood choke to knock them out with a meaty paw over their airways to keep them from making noise.
* In some of the later SplinterCell games, Sam uses a choke hold as a non-lethal takedown of enemies he has grabbed. The older games had him [[TapOnTheHead hit them on the head with]] [[PistolWhipping his pistol.]]
* The ''VideoGame/{{Hitman}}'' series plays this in a realistic way with the fiber wire; granted, it's very quick and easy, but the fact that 47 suddenly crushes his victim's windpipe very forcibly means ''it's always fatal''.
** Played [[ZigZaggedTrope somewhat straight]] in ''Absolution'', which adds chokeholds; while [[{{Mook}} mooks]] go down in about six seconds, the player ''must'' to surprise them, enemies ''always'' struggle and have to be wrestled, and 47 has to option of forcing too hard to kill by a neck break.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'', this is one of the non-lethal means of taking down opponents. In ''The Knife of Dunwall'', Daud can find a Bone Charm that reduces the time it takes to choke someone unconscious.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', [[{{Disney/TheLittleMermaid}} Flotsam and Jetsam]] attempt to suffocate [[{{BadassInDistress}} Sora]] by [[{{BoundAndGagged}} tightly wrapping their bodies around him]]. The trope is defied, thanks to Donald and Goofy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', sensei Greg teaches a blood choke to Grace, in order to [[spoiler:sedate Dex who is wreathed in flames]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''JonnyQuest'' TOS episodes, "The Quetong Missile Mystery", Race Bannon uses a sleeper hold on a {{Mook}} guard.
* Of course, there's [[TheSimpsons Homer Simpson]] and his [[RunningGag infamous]] chokeholds on Bart, though there doesn't seem to be any ill effects on the part of Bart.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Blood chokes are part and parcel of martial arts and MMA. If an MMA fighter taps out half a second after an arm goes 'round his neck, it's because he's about to pass out.
* Air chokes are, as has been noted, not very good for knocking people out -- but the pressure they exert on the trachea can be extremely uncomfortable, and the person escaping the choke might still be coughing an hour after being released.
* Big cats (tigers, lions, etc.) kill this way. With small prey, they prefer to snap their necks, but obviously that's not possible with larger prey. Instead, their jaws basically cause a blood/air choke, closing around the victim's windpipe, limiting airflow and constricting the large blood vessels around it. In fact, that's why saber-toothed cats kept popping up in history; they needed those long teeth to choke really big prey. But those teeth were also fragile and prone to getting knocked out, so when big prey vanish, so do the saber-toothed cats.
[[/folder]]
----