Tensin et al:
Just a couple of thoughts on the subject of grappling...
As far as chokes go, I must strongly disagree with the notion that to put someone out with a choke takes "20 seconds." The only time I have ever seen a choke apparently applied correctly take that long is on 'professional' wrestling - not that it isn't entertaining, mind you, but usually not a good place for learning 'combat effective' techniques (I say "usually" because of one training partner who has an uncanny ability to make the damndest WWF tecniques work - I'm just glad he never dropped me on a table...).
The point is, a good 'vessel' choke should take about *3* seconds to 'put someone out' (I say this from experience - on both sides). Also, just like any techniques, grappling or striking, they require an 'unbalancing' whether psychological, physiological, or both to truly be effective. In the case of a choke, keeping uke off balance the whole time is a prerequisite to accomplishing your goal. Also important to consider is the involuntary panic which sets in immediately when someone applies an 'air' choke (i.e. cutting off the air by applying pressure to the throat as opposed to a 'vessel' choke, which cuts the flow of blood to the brain). This panic (and the ensuing 'cocktail') can, I suppose enhance strength, but is just as likely to contribute to 'flailing' etcetera, as opposed to any well directed efforts to escape. IMHO, if someone is able to put a choke on you in a real situation, one can deduce two things: First, that you were either appallingly unaware of what was going on around you, and/or made serious tactical errors (such as backing up into your assailant's buddy); and second, you're screwed! I have honestly seen *very* few people and techniques to reliably get one out of a choke once it is on (preventing someone from completing these techniques, on the other hand...).
I also agree with the initial point made in the thread. Someone would have to talk long and hard to convince me that one should release a choke (other than in a situation of facing more than one opponent - in which case I also agree with a point someone made that a choke is not a wise choice...) as one is in a terrible position when releasing a choke on a yet concious opponent. If one does not have the choke on properly, but has done a good job of unbalancing the opponent, there should be plenty of time to more properly apply the choke without needing to completely disengage.