This week I have had students ask me to explain the blood choke or sleeper hold. The sleeper hold is something that we use in Krav Maga and it is a technique that has been used by many militaries and police departments. I remember as a teenager going to a Billy Bragg concert and a support band, I think they were The Beatniks, talk about an African American graffiti artist who was choked to death by the NYPD. They performed a song about it; I think it was called “Blind Eyes of Justice”. In retrospect I personally think that the incident was probably a result of incompetence rather than racism or police brutality.
Many suspects would go limp when the officers would apply the hold only to escape as soon as the hold was released; it was a trick which was common knowledge on the streets. I think the cops held the sleeper hold too long to make sure that the suspect was not faking which resulted in his death. This is the reason why police departments in the US no longer use the sleeper hold. However I still think the sleeper hold is one of the most effective ways of stopping someone particularly if the individual is on drugs and immune to pain and other locks.