Military string used to choke?


March 7, 2009, 10:42 PM
See it all the time in movies, like black hawk down,etc. What is the stuff you hear them take it out then they choke people. i have always wondered what it was

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March 7, 2009, 11:02 PM
you are talking about a Garrote, and it isn't made of any specific material. Guitar strings, piano wire, whatever. It also isn't "military" per se. The idea, as far as I know, isn't that you choke someone to death with it, as that is a pretty slow way to kill someone. The idea is that you pull it into the relatively thin skin around the neck, cutting into it. Yeah, you choke someone, but you also are more or less cutting the throat as you do it. Personally, I always thought it was a mall-ninjaish way to do things, but I knew some guys in the USMC that were not mall-ninjas that carried them around.

March 7, 2009, 11:07 PM
Preface by saying that we taught this to local LEOs when I had my Taekwondo school. It was a defensive technique to avoided being strangled. We did not teach it to some gang-banger-wanna-be.

Some use trip-wire with two sticks as handles. So long as the material is doesn't break, it can be effective.

A word of caution! A weapon is a weapon. Either get your CCW or get you Black Belt. Don't risk jail for a shoelace and two sticks. Leave those to the Ninja Zombies.

Edit to add, I can tell you as a licensed Judo instructor, that a person's shirt collar is as-effective and deadly as a shoe lace or as a length of wire.


March 7, 2009, 11:10 PM
It's not string at all.

A garrote is traditionally wire of some type (as mentioned).

"Choking" is not what is done to the opponent, either (use your imagination as to what is actually being done).

March 7, 2009, 11:16 PM
Probably not good for self-defense.

March 7, 2009, 11:17 PM
Probably not good for self-defense.

March 8, 2009, 01:03 PM
Depends on the circumstances. Specifically, what I am trying to say is that it isn't the weapon that is dangerous, it's the technique that is dangerous.

Take someone by the shirt collar, and roll and twist them to the ground and they'll be begging God for death during the precious little time it takes for their eyes to bulge, their face and neck to pop bright read, and very quickly passout. It isn't pretty!! My students ALL knew what it feels like to passout. So do I. I actually hate and fear the Hades out of it!!!

Why would I be so graphic, you might ask? It is a good defensive/offensive technique, but potentially deadly! In class and in tournament, we are NOT allowed to execute strangling techniques unless a paramedic/MD/DO is present. Even then, the referees almost always stop the technique as the person's eyes begin to roll-back, because by that point, the person is incapable of tapping-out to "submit".

Unfortunately, there is only one way to teach strangle holds: hands-on. Of the literally dozens and dozens of students that I have taught/shown naked strangles and other choke-out techniques, I doubt any lasted 2 seconds before their eyes rolled back in their heads and they lay there limp. Now, you have to worry about breathing again, blood flow, etc. At the very best, everyone awakes confused and with one Hades of a headache.

Forget the strings and wires. Learn good technique with your own body and learn how to counter such techniques (where weapons are attempted against you or not).

Sorry to be so graphic, but I don't want for people to misbelieve that this is a technique that ever should be toyed with. It just isn't!


March 8, 2009, 05:32 PM
Doc2005 -- Could you please describe some counter techniques?

March 8, 2009, 06:28 PM
If the person using the wire Garrote gets it around your neck from behind, and has a clue what he is doing, there is no defense.

The blood in your head will be in your shirt pockets before your body hits the ground.


March 8, 2009, 06:33 PM

We agree. In some instances, one is simply screwed...almost, but not without hope and worth the effort to save one's pun intended.

PM being sent. I will not post this in public for fear some fool actually do it. Hopefully my writing has some degree of clarity.

Edit to clarify, I did NOT include the "terminal" technique to either counter. I won't be responsible for anyone trying that. We used realistic weight (150 Lbs) dummies to practice that. It can't be effectively practiced on a living being...they wouldn't be living/healthy very long.


The Lone Haranguer
March 8, 2009, 06:42 PM
It could be done with any thin strong material - twine, parachute cord, clothesline rope, whatever. There is no place for it in self defense that I can think of. It requires you to close with your :uhoh: victim from behind, hardly a self defense scenario.

March 8, 2009, 06:46 PM
Oh there is, but you're gonna lose skin in the process.

The two techniques I detailed are what we taught to LEOs who were foolish enough to let a perp get their handcuffs free-from-behind and get them into a choke-hold. In those instances, or single-strand weapon, the technique is very effective.


March 8, 2009, 08:31 PM
I believe we are discussing two different things here, brought on by the OP's hoodwinking by Hollywood.

As I mentioned previously, the military does not use string or rope to choke the enemy. Hollywood doesn't show you what they really do, because of the added special effects budget / sought after rating.

Being choked by handcuffs or by an untrained person is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, because as rcmodel mentioned, if a trained person with a garrote gets hold of you, there's nothing you can do.

March 8, 2009, 08:53 PM
nalioth said:

Being choked by handcuffs or by an untrained person is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, because as rcmodel mentioned, if a trained person with a garrote gets hold of you, there's nothing you can do.

I understand what you're saying, and which is why situational awareness is critical above all else. I just don't undertsand the fatalistic mind-set. Mind-set is 90% of a defensive sitatuation. If one believes they are defeated, they may as well just lie down and die.

Out 5th tenet in Taekwondo is "Indomitable Spirit". It is the one selected for me by the Nat'l Directors. That fact goes a very long way to explain why I say, "If one wants to at least try to live, fight to the death; take the person with you."

Besides, even the trained soldier has to get very close to get that wire around your neck to begin with. Situational awareness and conditioned-responce are the mortal enemies to the fiercest attacker. At worst, I say try to take that "friend" to Jesus with me. I hate to travel alone, and I don't carry Mastercard.

Not chest-thumpin'. Just sayin' this is how I train myself physically and mentally.


March 8, 2009, 10:24 PM
I understand what you're saying, and which is why situational awareness is critical above all else. I don't think the OP meant to start a thread on combat theology.

I am merely trying to point out to him (and anyone else moonstruck by 'hollywood combatives') that the military does not use rope or string to 'choke' their opponents as depicted in whatever hollywood fare he has seen.

A combat soldier may not have the luxury of waiting until their 'rope' or 'string' chokehold take effect (for various reasons). This is why they use wire garrotes and slice the opponents neck all the way through to the spine. At that point, they can let go the garrote and get clear of any potentially injurious agonal responses from their very-soon-to-be-late opponent.

March 8, 2009, 11:40 PM
Well, we learned how to sneak up on someone and kill them, at least in theory. Not once was the garrote mentioned. Instead, the idea was to plunge your knife into the side of the neck and then push it out. None of this "slitting of the throat" nonsense. Sort of a "knife goes in, blood goes out" ideology.

I think being graphic when describing the effects of these weapons is perfectly satisfactory. I have seen people die in combat, and it's pretty ugly regadless. The fact is, garroting someone is a fairly horrific way to have to kill someone. Quicker than strangling them thanks to the blood loss (which is why 550 cord really can't be a garrote in the typical sense), but technically effective. Piano wire or a guitar string, properly applied and given enough force is damn near going to decapitate someone. I don't know about y'all, but that falls under the "Holy balls, I don't want to do that" category for me. Mall ninjas and uber-commandos never seem to think about the graphic, bloody terminal effects of these techniques, focusing instead on their own perceived blood lust. So, I say give them a real idea of what happens and educate someone.

March 9, 2009, 12:02 AM
In one sense garroting is the use of strangulation. This is not what the military would apply since it is a long drawn out process compared to their needs of immediately and silently killing someone. Garroting using a wire is intended to sever the jugular and carotid and be much quicker than strangulation. It is a bloody mess.

It is a lethal attack on an unsuspecting person using stealth and in neither sense is it remotely related to self defense.

It is the assassin's or executioner's tool.

As Doc2005 has said, you may choke an attacker to unconsciousness with their own shirt collar if the fight has gone to grappling and you are trained, and have practiced, how do this.

As TimboKahn has said there are far better techniques and tools for quickly killing someone by surprise.

Again, garroting has nothing to do with self defense.

March 9, 2009, 10:56 AM
A leather or nylon belt would work dandy and is something you always have with you.

But probably not much use in self defense - very limited application. I suppose if you were attacked by a man with a knife or other instrument you could remove your belt and try to use it as a weapon.

March 9, 2009, 11:13 AM
I gotta say it. This thread is pretty creepy. In the hands of anybody but a real for sure Military Special Operations guy, a garrote has only got one use...murder! Obviously if you are a Navy Seal or a Green Beret or a Delta Force guy you gotta do what you gotta do.

For the rest of way.

March 9, 2009, 07:25 PM
The Garrote has never been a defensive weapon. Proper employment involves dropping the wire over the head while pivoting and drawing the prey up against ones back while bending over.
They are a bloody mess and as a rule will take the neck to the spinal column. Watched one at work many years ago, was not a pretty ending.

Eric Draven
March 9, 2009, 11:56 PM
I'm actually working on an item with a garrotte wire concealed in it. I haven't perfected it yet, but when its all said and will look completely normal and wouldn't be found unless taken apart. :)

March 10, 2009, 09:10 AM
Just keeps getting creepier people. I think we have learned enough about garottes and garotting.

To sum up so it ends:

Very gruesome.
No value in defense.
No value to anybody decent or honest other than bone fide black ops in service of a bone fide military mission.

That ought to do it...agreed?

March 10, 2009, 09:22 AM
Very gruesome.
No value in defense.
No value to anybody decent or honest other than bone fide black ops in service of a bone fide military mission.

And closed after a few complaints.

If the assigned mod sees any good reason to reopen it, I don't have any issues with that...but I just don't see this going anywhere beyond what has already been said.

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