Rener Gracie and his brother, Ryron Gracie recorded a special "Gracie Breakdown" video to address the unfortunate situation of how a young boy accidentally choked his older cousin to death. "In the wake of the tragic accident that occurred last week, the Gracie Brothers explain precisely how Stephen Arceneaux III was choked to death by his younger cousin with hopes of educating our youth about the serious risks of practicing jiu-jitsu techniques, chokes in particular, without proper training and supervision." video
Rear Naked Choke as demonstrated by two soldiers.
wikimedia U.S. Army
Boy Chokes His Cousin to Death With Rear Naked Choke (RNC)
"On Sunday, April 1, 2012, a Louisiana man was choked to death by his younger cousin. Stephen A. Arceneaux III, a 24-year-old from Destrehan, was pronounced dead at 10:39 p.m. Sunday night, April 1, 2012. The two were at a house party and began wrestling around on an inflated mattress when the 14-year-old, 110 lbs. younger cousin placed Arceneaux in a Rear Naked Choke. After 30-40 seconds, witnesses noticed Arceneaux was turning blue so the choke was released. Arceneaux's girlfriend tried unsuccessfully to revive him before he was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead." (Description from the Gracie Breakdown video)
Safety precautions to prevent situations like this in the future
Rener started off by saying he wants to "…shed some light on the seriousness of the situation and hopefully, identify why it happened and hopefully, we can prevent something like this from happening again in the future."
Ryron addressed young people trying out moves that they see professional fighters use in the cage during their MMA matches, "When you watch these techniques being done, you get excited…you want to copy what you saw. Just because you watch something and you learn it, you might not be as educated in this technique as you can be."
Rener added, "You're not considering the 20 years of experience of the professional fighter or practitioner who's using that technique and all of the safety precautions that need to be learned with that, to be able to use it…Overlooking those safety precautions and the preliminary education that has to be understood regarding these dangerous, dangerous techniques is what caused this incident—and what needs to be fixed to prevent future incidences."
The video is worth watching. It's nearly 17 minutes long and is packed with useful information that needs to be shared with people who practice jiu jitsu moves from watching Youtube videos only (without the benefit of a teacher to inform them of needed safety measures) and people who might see others wrestling or playing around who are potentially putting themselves in danger.
Selected comments from Youtube
I found a conversation between two medically trained personnel, curious about what an investigation will uncover about what happened Sunday night. Here they are, speculating in the comment section of the video, about what might have happened based on their experience with patients.
"It was not the choke that killed the person. Well…. It was partially. I am a nurse in the operating room and one of the things that we have to make sure when our patients having surgery is 'having a patent airway'. When patients are put to sleep (in surgery) the tongue falls back and occludes the airway. The anesthesiologist and the nurse, must make sure that the airway is patent (open) by doing a chin lift maneuver or head tilt. Basic CPR…Should be on YouTube… Apparently, no one was able." EsguerraFamily
"Beg to differ. I am in residency as an anesthesiologist (and a long time Gracie JJ practicioner)…it was most definitely the choke. In the OR, you'll notice patients often go several minutes without taking a breath during intubations. As long as they are preoxygenated, it was tolerated. It's the lack of cerebral perfusion that killed this young man (just as Rener stated). Myocardial and Cerebral tissue are the most sensitive tissues to ischemia and tissue death happens very quickly." spinerpr
"True, you are right. If it was prolonged lack of cerebral perfusion, then yes, I can see this as a cause. But, I guess we have to see what the autopsy shows and we really need to find out what really happened. Did the cousin really hold the choke for that long? It just disturbs me sometimes when I watch people trying to revive someone by lifting, standing them, etc." EsguerraFamily
For more information on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, please visit Gracie Academy or to contact the Gracie Brothers please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. She trains with Keith Florian and UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny
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