Any grappler or mma-ist who has read the accounts of Arrichion's death has given some thought as to exactly what might have happened. This new essay seeks to answer that question. I have some fairly strong thoughts on some portions, but what do y'all think?
Thanks, interesting article. Here's my two cents on Arrichion, from my thesis:---------The famed pankratiast Arrichion was mentioned above, and it is certainly worth examining his tale in detail. Arrichion was a pankration champion, who managed the incredible feat of posthumously defeating his final opponent. Arrichion's opponent had him in rear-naked choke and leg-scissors. Arrichion refused to submit, though he could not breathe, and struggled to find a way to attack his opponent. And he found one. The opponent had made a tactical error. The attacking grappler in Figure 6 has one leg across his opponent's body, and uses his other leg to brace it to the side, holding it in place. Arrichion's opponent seems to have simply crossed his ankles instead. Crossing the ankles and extending the legs will of course provide a scissor motion, which could be used to squeeze an opponent. It leaves the attacker far more vulnerable, however. If the fighter being choked places one of his legs over his opponent's uppermost foot, he can apply a great deal of pressure – enough to potentially break the ankle. This is probably what happened in Arrichion's match, judging by what the sources say (24). Arrichion refused to submit to his opponent's hold, and instead continued to struggle until he could attack his ankle in the manner described. His adversary submitted to the painful anklelock. By this time Arrichion had been in the chokehold for a great deal of time, however. Arrichion was lying dead on the sand when they proclaimed his victory.---------(24) Pausanias 8.40.1-2; Philostratus, Images 2.6.4. Philostratus describes Arrichion's hold as being achieved in a different manner to that described above. His version is that the opponent wedged his feet behind Arrichion's knees to control him, and that Arrichion managed to twist violently to the side, breaking one of the ankles. Philostratus is a late source, however, and prone to embellishment. Hence much of his blow-by-blow description is probably fiction or hypothesis. Moreover, I experimented with this technique and found it to be ineffective. In case my rather basic submission skills were giving me a false impression of the manoeuvre, I also presented Philostratus' account to Quincy Rice, a professional MMA fighter and submission grappler. His response was as follows: "I don't see how Arrichion could have possibly broken the guy's ankle in that type of situation, unless it was a total freak accident that happened by the shifting of Arrichion's weight..." It seems likely, therefore, that Philostratus' account is unreliable.
I also presented Philostratus' account to Quincy Rice, a professional MMA fighter and submission grappler. His response was as follows: "I don't see how Arrichion could have possibly broken the guy's ankle in that type of situation, unless it was a total freak accident that happened by the shifting of Arrichion's weight..." It seems likely, therefore, that Philostratus' account is unreliable.I wouldn't go that far. Not to take anything away from Quincy (he is a nice guy) but I disagree. If the guy applying the choke had long legs and did make the mistake of turning his feet outwards and intertwining them behind Arrichion's knees, then there is the possibility that his ankle could get screwed up. I have seen people twine their feet too far behind the opponent's knee and get it trapped there. A violent trap and turn with the leg by the guy being choked could damage the ankle or the knee. I believe it would have to be a fast movement though, as a slow one may give the guy on the back time to squirm and remove his trapped foot. One doesn't see this too often because people rarely intertwine their feet deeply behind the opponent's knee (usually their legs are not long enough, not to mention that I think it is unecessary and dangerous).To be honest, this situation has always been what I pictured according to Poliakoff's translation.The article posted above is interesting. Considering the ambiguity of the original Greek text, the question as to it's reliability and the problem with different translations, I don't see how we could ever know what happened with any certainty.
a great article... history and submissions, what more do you
need.. (ok well women, money ect come close.)
Thanks for the info, Ye Lunatic. I've always thought that the feet behind knees grapevine (or whatever it's called) was a fairly safe move for the attacker. I seem to remember one of the Gracies (possibly Royce in the early UFCs) using it a fair bit.Considering the ambiguity of the original Greek text, the question as to it's reliability and the problem with different translations, I don't see how we could ever know what happened with any certainty.You're 100% correct. Lots of ancient history must unfortunately be speculation, since it's impossible to be certain what actually happened in many cases.
If you are on your opponent's back, and he is on his hands and knees (turtle position) it is normal and safe to have your hooks in grapevive your feet out around his lower thighs.
However, when your opponent is on his back, and you are under him with your hooks in, (and you have long legs) if you grapevine your feet too deeply behind his knees (with your toes out), you are in danger of the opponent bending his knee to trap your foot, and moving his leg and turning to hurt your ankle/knee.
You will noitice that many BJJ stylists will put their hooks in but drive their heels tight into the upper thigh/lower groin area for control.
An escape that I have used while in "turtle" against an opponent who has taken my back is to reach across ( left hand to right foot or right hand to left foot) and pull the foot into my midsection. This is actually easier than using same side to remove the hook. I then encircle the ankle quickly with the same side arm and fall directly onto the foot/leg while rolling to the side and begining to scoot out. Staying low prevents the "rear-naked" but (might) present a forearm choke which could result in more serious injury.
I also have the option of trying to control with my base on the trapped leg and going for the toehold which I am already in postion for with my hand placement. This is dangerous and does make you a target for the rear-naked if not done absolutley perfectly.
Some of the descriptions could also allow for a shin-lock counter.
Just some other options that ran through my mind. I actually always pictured it as a scissors countered with by over-scissors.
YL, good point. I never thought of that as a reason to put the hooks in with your heels tight at the inner thighs, but I can definitely imagine a knee injury due to a deep grapevine from the back. A BJJ black belt demonstrates to do it that way(heels tight) at http://www.homeagaincorp.com/sjj/tips11.htm , for some other reasons.
Kicking a leg back is a common way to dislodge a hook. Posting up and straightening the leg is a means to dislodge a legride....just thinking out loud...sort of.
I'm not sure there's any way to know how it happened with the limited and varied info.
Can anyone host a picture? I've got it in a Yahoo Briefcase, but I can't post images from there. It's a Roman mosaic showing a bunch of athletes, two of whom are doing rear-nakeds.
Thanks a lot, you've got mail.
Interesting. It seems that the one image shows a legride with a rear attack. I think you'll find that it's difficult to do a rear-naked from there, much easier to cross-face and the angle of the mans head makes me think that it may be a cross-face attack.
The standing one does seem to be more of a "chain-grip" choke than what we know today as the rear-naked. It's actually harder to escape than the rear-naked if you do it right, especially standing, but he seems to have jumped onto the mans back in the image. Something that you wouldn't do with that choke, you would pull him backwards. Makes me wonder if that couldn't be a cross-face too.
Could it be that the artist wasn't really skilled at the holds and was only relating the actions as he saw them? If an artist who knew little of MMA were to do some quick images at an event I'm sure we would question what was happening in those images.
Having been caught in that particular situation, I remember with excrutiating clarity how my ankle was indeed almost broken. Never cross your damn legs.
I was impressed with the article because the author
knew both his Greek and his grappling and used the latter to elucidate the former.
I tried his method with a partner and found that it
worked. I got on my hands and knees, my partner put the hooks in and went for the rear naked choke, and I
tucked my chin to block the choke and went to work. I
kicked my right leg back, dislodged his right hook, and snagged it. I sat back on my left haunch--which
trapped his left foot--and cranked his right ankle until he tapped. He offered the interesting comment that had he released the choke and ripped the edge of his hand/wrist up against the underside of my nose that he probably could have made me release his ankle, and such a move would have been perfectly legal in pankration.
I also liked the author's idea that Arrichion probably
died from a congenital heart defect that only until
fairly recently has been identified as the culprit in the sudden deaths of young competitive athletes.
Arrichion would have passed out from an effective choke before he could have submitted his opponent with an ankle lock and would have died only if the choke had been held after he had already passed out.
Question for IBI: When you presented Philostratus' account to Quincy Rice, was it the new translation from the article or another translation?
Question for IBI: When you presented Philostratus' account to Quincy Rice, was it the new translation from the article or another translation?I didn't present him with a translation, just a description (based on my own understanding of the text) of what Philostratus was saying.
I also liked the author's idea that Arrichion probably died from a congenital heart defect that only until fairly recently has been identified as the culprit in the sudden deaths of young competitive athletes. Arrichion would have passed out from an effective choke before he could have submitted his opponent with an ankle lock and would have died only if the choke had been held after he had already passed out.That's basically where it loses credibility with me. The literature generally says that congenital cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of NONTRAUMATIC SUDDEN DEATH in YOUNG athletes. I.e., high school and maybe college kids that drop dead for no other apparent reason.Arrichon- Young? Probably not particularly young, as this was his 3rd Olympic victory and no mention is made of the others being in the boys pankration.Sudden and non-traumatic? In one sense it could be considered sudden, as is all death, but I think they use it as an unexpected change from one clinical state to another. I don't know that you could make that argument here, as all the accounts have him fading out of consciousness. More importantly, you have an obvious potential cause in trauma- the guy choking him for the preceding few minutes. I don't think the explanation passes the straight face test. Call it Occam's Razor, whatever, but when you have someone die after having their throat smashed on for a period of time (you know it couldn't have been a solid blood choke b/c he wouldn't have had the time), I don't see how anyone is going to buy that he died at that instant due to heart trouble. "Sure, the subject was shot 6 times, but we believe it was lead poisoning that killed him."
Consider the swelling line from the Wendy Gunther (MD) article on chokes:if you get your hands, or his collar, into good tracheal compression position, you're probably pressing on his jugulars and carotids too, and he'll go out from those long before you significantly flatten his airway. A good thing -- the vessels recover completely from being pressed flat; the airway gets damaged, and it can swell up and choke off air flow minutes to hours later.I think the airway was damaged during the choke and swelled during or after the choke, resulting in death.
"I think the airway was damaged during the choke and swelled during or after the choke, resulting in death."I think that this could be a possibility."you know it couldn't have been a solid blood choke b/c he wouldn't have had the time"I am not sure what you mean by that. Wrapping your arm deep around your opponent's neck -with your elbow under their chin- will produce a blood choke, and it doesn't always take time to set it up and get under the chin. It depends on the techniques that the fighter will be willing to use to lift the head, etc. Often times, in the heat of combat, the defender has his chin higher than he should for a split second or more. An acute fighter with take advantage of that and have his arm deep around the throat instantaneously. The chokes that harm the trachea, are the ones that have a forearm going straight across the front of the throat from behind. This immediately creates a coughing effect on the opponent, as well as oxygen deprivation. It is very possible that an airway choke was used -not necessarily because there wasn't time for a blood choke- but for whatever reason that the attacker decided. It can oftentimes produce a quick submission from the opponent ue to it's gagging efect. Perhaps the attacker prefered it for this reason, or for 1000 others? Hard to say.
I see my sentence was poorly written. I just meant that if the other guy had a good blood choke sunk, then Arrichion was probably going to be on his way to la-la land before Arrichion was going to have time to force the ankle submission.