Choke is an account of Rickson Gracie's rise to stardom in Japan during the second Vale tudo Japan tournament. He arives at the tournament as the reigning champion from the previous year and Choke delivers an insiders point of view of what happened. There are interviews and footage of family members including the late Helio Gracie (Rickson's father and pioneer of Gracie jiu-jitsu)regarding training and ability of the undefeated champion. This film is not in the same tone of "The smashing machine",which envokes an emotional link with the fighter. Choke is just a behind the scenes look at what happened in the build up and at the time of Rickson's peak in MMA.
I'm an experienced martial artist (20yr+ karate) who's recently taken up BJJ. I first saw Choke on VHS format a few years ago, and was mesmerised by Rickson's skills and attitude. This guy was (and still is) a real warrior.
There are a lot of MMA/UFC/Vale Tudo products out there now, but - for me - this gives a unique insight into Rickson's psychology and performance. The thing that sets him apart from his brothers (for me) is his strength and striking, which obviously are coupled with amazing technical skills. He hits with real venom, and his striking is a major threat that sets up decisive and relentless finishes, usually by rear naked choke. The quality of the opposition is obviously below what's around today in terms of well rounded fighters that train to grapple and strike, but the Japanese Shoot & Jiu Jitsu fighters are good (though I was annoyed to see Yamamoto hanging on to the rope to avoid being taken down & dragged to the centre of the ring, and him ALMOST getting a guillotine on)
I'd love to see Rickson (in his prime) competing today...think he'd still dominate. I've also watched Renzo's 'Legacy' DVD, which is fantastic too...but Rickson's conditioning is far superior and his striking a lot more decisive. Excellent product if you're a BJJ or MMA fan, strongly recommend it.
Before the UFC, before Pride, there was the Vale Tudo. This is an interesting and entertaining re-telling of the second Vale Tudo in '95 in Japan. The action mostly follows Gracie, but spends some time on two of his potential opponents. The difference between the Gracies, fearless, give everything approach to the philosophy of combat, juxtaposed with the other two fighters the film features, highlights the difference between sportsmen, involved in the sport for various reasons, and the true martial artist, involved because it is physically impossible to do anything else. The subtext is fully glossed over, due to the sports doc style, but anyone with an ounce of intuition can see that whilst Rickson has the ultimate support and training structure, the other athletes are way over their heads, from the kickboxer complaining about the gloves, to the Japanese wrestler trying to convince his parents that he will survive the contest.