Who could warn readers?

Many countries’ ministries of health warn, on the packs of cigarettes, tobacco smokers of the health hazards of smoking. Some publications may also cause real harm of which no one yet cares to warn their readers. This article is about detective genre and its most widespread method of killing: the choking, also known as asphyxia.

Authors of detectives reflect the reality of our less-than-perfect world and often resort to asphyxia as to a plot instrument. It does not need weapons: hands serve as such, and they are always available. This is why asphyxia remains a frequently used method of spontaneous killing. Having portrayed asphyxia, the author pockets the proceeds of the publication and moves on, usually without giving a thought to what they have done. They should.

In fact, a choking death is not too hard to avoid. Scenes are frequent in movies and stories, in which an assailant grabs the victim by his/her throat, with his/her both hands, and chokes, while the victim grabs the assailant’s wrists and tries in vain to throw them off. Most of such scenes distort the reality: the asphyxia is simple to defend from. If only people, predominantly women and among them predominantly the young and the elderly, knew several simple methods, many would have still lived.

This is what one should do if subjected to choking:

If the assailant holds the victim by his/her throat, with his/her both hands, from the front, then the first step is to assess the body mass and physical strength ratio of the two. If the assailant is marginally heavier or stronger, then a twisting joint-locking technique may be effective. Raise your strong arm, bring it over both assailant’s hands, grab the sharp of his/her hand with the four fingers, and press the tip of the thumb bent at 90 degrees into the space between the index and middle finger’s metacarpal bones.

With the palm of the other hand, push the elbow of the assailant’s same arm. Having grabbed the assailant’s hands in such a way, the victim lifts it off his/her throat, push it across and simultaneously twist the wrist. Ideally, this technique is used until the assailant’s elbow or wrist tendons break or until unbearable pain is caused to the assailant. The instant asphyxiation is thus prevented.

One might ask: what if I have long nails? Here, I cannot help you. If you value your manicure more than your life, then you are on your own. Establish reasonable priorities, and you will not have to regret it.

Another technique that works on heavier and stronger assailants is to squeeze the skin and flesh of the assailant on his/her side, around the ribs or cowl muscle. On one or both sides, the victim grabs the skin between the four fingers and the thumb. It can also be twisted, for greater affect. In an unprepared assailant, this causes excruciating pain and temporarily disables them. An alternative technique is to grab the skin on the back of the shoulder, around the triceps area. This leads to the same result as above.

The third technique that should be applied when the assailant stays close to the victim is the gouging of his/her eyes, for the purpose of causing unbearable pain or destroying the eyeball. It can be done with the index finger, a combination of the index and middle fingers, or with the thumb, on one or preferably both sides. The result is the same or better than above: the assault ends right there.

Trained and conditioned victim may employ a strike to the temple or temples, with the joints of the thumb, index, or middle fingers, for the same result.

All of these techniques may be practiced in one’s home, with family or friends. It should be done by everyone who may become a victim of a choking attack: in a situation, one acts exactly like during the training. The one who is ready lives, the one who is not dies.

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