Deaths allegedly caused by the use of "choke holds" (shime-waza)

J Forensic Sci. 1987 Mar;32(2):419-32.


Shime-waza or the "choke hold", when properly applied, should not cause death; therefore, its primary purpose should be to subdue violent suspects. When properly applied, the choke hold causes unconsciousness in 10 to 20 s. No fatalities as a result of shime-waza have been reported in the sport of judo since its inception in 1882. Among the methods of "control holds" taught to law enforcement officers is the choke hold similar or identical to shime-waza used in judo. Using the choke hold, officers may afford themselves maximum safety while subjecting the suspect to a minimum possibility of injury. The author has reviewed 14 fatalities with autopsy findings where death was allegedly caused by the use of choke holds.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology*
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / anatomy & histology
  • Neck Injuries
  • Restraint, Physical / adverse effects*
  • Social Control, Formal*