Sorry if that sounds like a brag. I'm trying to set context.
Strangles- Vascular Neck Restraints (VNRs) in the jargon of law enforcement- are great tools. They work regardless of size, psychosis or drugs in the system, something that can't be said for any other force options including handguns. They are extremely safe, with recovery complete and total in under a minute. They are easy and, though strength helps, small bony arms help more.
However, there have been deaths. Never in sport. Only once in martial arts as far as I have been able to determine (funny story, too) but several times in law enforcement. In as many of the cases as I have seen, the cause of death was listed as "asphyxia". Suffocation. Hmmmm. It would seem that if blood was cut off, the cause of death would be listed as "anoxia". A little more research and I come across a technique in some old DT manuals- the 'bar-arm choke'. The officers were taught to take a flashlight, a baton or their forearm across the adam's apple and pull back hard. Yes people died. Bad technique being taught as proper technique.
The fallout was that about fifteen years ago, maybe more now, the VNRs were forbidden by many agencies. They dropped off the radar screen. A few agencies kept them, but classified them as "Deadly Force" and I have had administrators in one such agency tell me that they would rather a threat be shot than strangled- there is more case law supporting shooting.
For the last few years we have been given cautious permission to teach these techniques. The officers get an extra safety briefing, a policy briefing and probably more information on physiology than they want. Then they practice them on the instructors.
This is where is gets weird. I will get, in a normal class, forty strangles, eight chokes and eight neck cranks (all lethal force, right? So no need to exclude spine or tracheal attacks as long as the students know the differences, the consequences and can choose conscientiously). This is just a day for me and I encourage the class to get close, watch my eyes and skin color changes, apply more power, experiment with hand placement...and their eyes are wide with fear. Not all, but a significant number are extremely creeped out.
The instructors are safe. We know what we are doing. Further, we are the only ones with sufficient experience to say, "Yes, this is safe."
So where is the fear coming from? Is it so natural to be afraid of something you know nothing about? Isn't part of the purpose of teaching to take cues from others about safety and significance?
A friend recently commented that I am in a place in my personal exploration where I am off the map, out in the margins where it is written: "Here be Dragons." That doesn't bother me much, because until I touch one for myself I don't know that dragons are bad. Maybe I can't understand the student's fear because 'the unknown', to me, is simply stuff I don't know yet. In life, most of the unknown has turned out pretty cool once you get to know it.