This exquisite piece of work is far more professional than any of the American pro wrestling mega-event videos produced recently. The often-gory fights are well handled and only play a small role; this video is not solely ... more »about fighting. Done in documentary style, Choke takes an introspective look at the men--their goals, their dreams, and their families--who become the ultimate fighting machines in the ring at the 1995 Vale Tudo World Fighting Championship in Tokyo. Delving into the life of the undefeated and undisputed world freestyle fighting champion, Rickson Gracie, a 30-year-old jujitsu expert from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this video displays a side that you rarely see in sports: the articulate, intelligent family man who turns his training into the art of movement and athleticism--not violence. It also explores the world of two men expected to offer a serious challenge to Gracie: American heavyweight kickboxer Todd "Hollywood" Hays and Japanese shootfighting heavyweight champion Koichiro Kimura. These two men provide some of the more uplifting moments in the documentary. Hays, who is also a member of the U.S. Olympic bobsled team, explains how he will use his performance money to fund his dream of buying a bobsled that will allow him to be a driver in the 1998 Winter Games. Kimura completes his training but then has to ask the permission of his elderly parents to compete. The big man bluffs his way through with a warm smile and a respectful manner. Choke is an insightful look at a full-contact, controversial sport. The only warning it should carry is that some of the scenes are graphically violent and some of the language is X-rated. --Gordie Sholtys« less
therosen | New York, NY United States | 11/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rickson Gracie "Choke" is more than just a fight video - it captures the anxiety, preparation, and visceral intensity behind the competitors as they prepare for competition. View at the Ultimate Fighting Championship with a much deeper background.The video captures the preparation for, and competition in Vale Tudo Japan 1995, a mixed martial arts competition where almost anything goes. ("Vale Tudo" is Portuguese for "Anything Goes", but the rules are not quite that extreme.)The video takes an in depth look at 3 of the participants.
1 - Todd Hays is an all around gifted athlete, with a background in kickboxing. His mixture and fear are apparent as he attempts to use this event to pay for his Olympic bobsleading dreams.
2 - Koichiro Kimura is a Japanese amateur shootfighting champion, who wants nothing more than to test himself against the best. You get to meet his parents, who are affraid he'll die in the ring.
3 - Rickson Gracie is the defending champion, as well as the best of the famous Gracie family. It's no suprise that he gets the lion's share of the publicity.In addition to the gritty reality of the fighting, you're introduced to some humorous back scene footage: Rickson's desire for a belt in addition to a trophy brings some chuckles, as does his last minute desire to hit the restroom. A near blind Yuki Nakai is both valiant and funny when he screams, "Rickson, I'm coming for you!"If you're looking for a technique video, this is not it. If you're looking for 2 hours of fighting from the best guys out there today, again this is not the video. If you're looking to understand the mind of the fighter, in the context of the ring, this is the only DVD out there. I was rivited from start to finish."
This is an outstanding inside look at a great human being.
therosen | 09/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary is about a man who is by far the classiest, humbliest human being in the NHB fighting business. Rickson Gracie is a true artist as he states in this video. He is not about hurting anyone, which he makes clear in the championship fight at the end. He is about artistic combatism and he is the greatest of them all. This video is a must see for anyone who is a student of life and enjoys participating in sports and wants to better him or herself. As a student of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (Torrance Academy) I recommend this video to all."
Great production quality
Don Geddis | SF Bay area, CA, USA | 10/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're curious about "ultimate fighting", this is a high-quality documentary to learn what it's all about, and follow the story of one of the best MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters of all time, Rickson Gracie.However, MMA has changed hugely since the UFC started (showcasing Rickson's brother Royce Gracie) in 1993. "Choke"'s Japanese tournament in 1995 was still early days. While Rickson was (and is) one of the best MMA fighters ever, his opponents weren't as competent as the top fighters are today. The Pride tournaments in Japan and the UFC in the USA showcase the world's top MMA talent fighting today.You shouldn't watch Choke looking for insight into strategies the very best fighters use in unarmed combat, because aside from Rickson most of the competitors in Choke were relatively new to the sport. That said, Choke is a much higher quality documentary than almost anything else you'll find, and it is much more accessible and entertaining to the casual MMA fan. (It's also a must-see for any fan of Rickson Gracie.)(For more about Rickson, check "http://rickson.com/". For more about Rickson's martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, check my site "http://bjj.org/".)"
Important Work in the Development of MMA
C. K. Mccracken | Australia | 01/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has become a classic in the mixed martial arts. It covers Rickson Gracie's training for for the Vale Tudo Japan tournament of 1995. This tournament paved the way for tounaments such as Pride in Japan, just as the UFC improved the sport's popularity in the US.
Rickson's presence at the tournament was important as the Brazilians had developed single combat to a fine art. The Gracies were (and are) the epitome of development of the style and Rickson was the family champion.
The outcome of the tournament is not hard to predict. What is useful to see, here, is the training for the tournament. The training his hard but precise and the story shows that Gracie is a family man and all-round good guy outside the ring.
Rickson is analytical and understands that what he does isn't violence as his intent is to win in competition, not necessarily to injure his opponent. That is the take home lesson of competitive martial arts.
This is a must see."
A Way of Life
Laurence Carp | San Diego, California United States | 06/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This superb documentary shows the why Rickson Gracie is such a
successful and impressive martial artist. An examination of the
lifestyle - including diet, stretching and breathing exercises, meditation,
fight strategy, workouts, and family commentaries - which allow one
to view the day to day preparation of this legendary fighter.
Similarly, we see up close and personal accounts of his opponents
in this particular Pride event. Very revealing and noteworthy the
differences in habits and lifestyle leading to the later results.
Some good fights, some less than hoped for. Yet Master Gracie
never disappoints and displays the true manners as well as talent
that any martial artist should strive for.
A perfect video to have in any martial arts collection.