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Defend The Rear Strangle With Dean Lister

Defend The Rear Strangle With Dean Lister


Dean Lister is NOTORIOUS for being hard to submit. He has tested his skills in the UFC, Pride, and even ADCC! It’s safe to say Dean knows a thing or two about organized combat, but what about the street? You better believe Dean has some tricks up his sleeve to escape some sketchy situations.

Let’s take a look at how Dean defends one of the most used chokes in street altercations. Oftentimes the Rear Naked Choke (RNC)comes with NO warning, so traditional methods of defense won’t apply. While you can be aware of your surroundings, it can be difficult if you have to defend yourself from a rear attack. Check out this clip from Dean’s self defense instructional Alpha Male Defense below!


The most sophisticated variation of RNC involves using the legs, and is typically performed on the ground. These extra controls make escaping the RNC all but impossible. Here Dean is in a standing situation, which is most likely to occur in a real life attack. 

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Dean points out that the average person won’t have the strangulation skills of multiple time World Champion Bernardo Faria, so with a little focused practice you can develop some life saving skills. The first thing to do when being attacked from behind with this choke is to maintain balance, and use your hands to attach to your attacker’s choking arm. Placement is key here. Dean suggests hunting for your attacker’s thumb to gain the maximal amount of defense from the choke. The other hand grabs near the elbow like a pull-up bar. 

Next up Dean widens his base and prepares to throw Bernardo. The wide base allows Dean to lower his center of gravity which is essential if you hope to flip your attacker over your shoulder. This shoulder throw is not only a great way to defend the choke, but turn the tables on your attacker. If you are feeling fancy, the name of this Judo technique is the Seoi Nage! 

Keep in mind, that the rear strangle is a life threatening maneuver. Responding with the Seoi Nage can lead to significant damage when they land on the ground. Another thing to note is that Bernardo executes a perfect break fall when landing. This is another technique that many martial artists use to reduce impact when they hit the ground. Some IDIOT who is willing to attack you from behind will likely have ZERO breakfall experience. So the Seoi Nage is a great way to defend the choke, as well as turn the tables.

The second scenario involves a new dynamic. Bernardo starts to off-balance Dean to make the choke more effective. However, this only opens another avenue of attack. To reverse the situation this time Dean still uses the same grip with his hands, but this time hunts for Bernardo’s lead leg with his own. Once Dean hooks Bernardo’s leg he can begin to turn his body and hop into place. As he gets hip to hip, he is able to execute the takedown. This takedown is a modified version of Osoto Gari, or large outer reap. By ‘reaping’ the legs Dean is able to once again reverse the choke and put his attacker on their back. 

Many martial arts waste time trying to teach eye pokes and finger breaks. Dean prefers to keep it real. As he explains an eye poke might damage your attacker, but if you are in a fully locked choke you only have a couple of seconds before you are unconscious.

Dean’s last escape is his most devastating. He mentions that a more sophisticated escape is required as an attacker's skill increases. If Dean feels like neither of the initial escapes will work he turns towards Bernardo’s elbow and slips his hips out to the side. From this advantageous position Dean is able to easily pick up Bernardo and forces him into a devastating dilemma. Bernardo either must let go of the choke, or hit face first into the mat. Again, keep in mind that a rear strangle could be a death sentence so necessary defense is required!

Alpha Male Self Defense by Dean Lister
Alpha Male Defense is a Self Defense focused instructional where Combat Sports LEGEND Dean Lister shares his best Self Defense Tips! Cover the most common attacks and how to defend them. Keep yourself safe in the streets with Dean Lister!