The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen. Strangling leads first to unconsciousness, then to death. Fatal strangling may occurs in accidents, and other causes of violence. Strangling does not have to be fatal; limited or interrupted strangling is practised in erotic asphyxiation, in the so-called "choking game".
Strangling is a technique in many combat sports and self-defence systems. It is a method of winning a judo bout. Usually the opponent submits; if not, he is "strangled out", that is, the hold is continued until he passes out and is then immediately released. Shime-waza, the judo term for this technique, has scored 97 times in World Judo events. No fatalities have resulted from it. There have been some deaths of suspects in police custody, where officers have used a "choke hold". Investigation suggested that this was because the officers' training had not been so adequate as the training of top-class judo players.
Strangling can be divided into three general types according to the mechanism used:
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