Depending on who you ask, there will be three general groups of grapplers: those who prefer joint-lock finishes, those who prefer a choke finish, and those who don’t care what method f finish they get.
Most times, you don’t always have the luxury to get the finish you want. Especially when competing against a skilled grappler. Most times, you capitalize on an exposed limb and secure it. However, there are times when a choke and joint-lock are both viable options from the same position of attack. What do path do you take? In a self-defense situation, you would be more likely to set this precedent for your attacker, and that is always an excellent circumstance for you. How do we make a precise decision on which attack we apply?
Let us consider this scenario – if you need to disable a car, is it better to shoot out the tires, remove a part, sever the engine, or turn the key off?
Coming back to Jiu-Jitsu, a choke finish will almost always, assuming you have the option available to you, be the most effective attack. It is virtually painless and causes the least physical damage. This is true for as long as you hold the choke for only the necessary amount of time required for the subject to become unconscious. Extending the time the artery is blocked can result in further implications. Additionally, having an unconscious attacker gives us the ability to restrain him, call for police intervention, or escape without the worry that the attacker may pursue us, try to stop us, or reach for a weapon if one is available.
Ultimately, in Jiu-Jitsu, control is paramount to incapacitation, even if they go hand-in-hand. Incapacitating a limb doesn’t always disable the attacker. Whenever there is an option between a joint-lock and a choke, a choke would provide the most benefit and possibly less legal implications.
Let’s look at a realistic example of submissions being applied in a fight. We’ll use mixed martial arts, UFC, to be more exact. It is clear to see that choke finishes have a prevalence, even when these bouts include two well-trained fighters. Partly, because of the nature of the fight, and partly because of the efficacy of these types of finishes.