The Force choke. It’s a classic move from everyone’s favorite Sith lord, the infamous Darth Vader. But how can you, and everyday human use this move? The trick is selling it like you really mean it. Here’s how.
Choose Who: Find the person you want to Force choke, and wait for the opportune moment. Vader’s first choke in A New Hope is startling because it is sudden and dramatically escalates the situation. Before the choke, it seemed that the other guy (Admiral Motti, he’s got a name) was in control. But he clearly didn’t have the power, Vader did.
Choose Your Quote: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” How many times has this line been quoted? It’s important to choose something chilling to say while you act out the choke. Vader’s comment is cold and eerie because it is a calm statement coupled with a terrifying act. If nothing comes to mind, pulling out Vader’s tried-and-true line is always a good call.
Relax & Execute: Watching Vader’s hand, the chocking action is incredibly soft and calm. He simply raises a hand in the direction of his victim, inclines towards him, and waits. When you’re working on this gesture, practice in front of a mirror and think about what emotion you’re trying to show. Are you in a rage? Then let your muscles quiver with intensity and show it in your face. Are you cool as a cucumber like Vader? Then be relaxed and collected. You can practice this soft gesture by holding an egg in the palm of your choking hand. It’ll train you to keep it steady and relaxed.
The Choked: Now, if someone is giving you a Force choke, you have 2 options: give them some judgmental side-eye for pretending they have Force powers OR choose to be awesome sell it! Playing it up makes any situation more lively (though, if you’re at a state dinner or taking the SATs, we recommend saving your Force-wielding antics for later).
Be Aware: It pays to always keep an eye open to see if there’s anyone preparing to Force choke you. This is especially relevant if you’ve been arguing recently, and even more so if you’ve been doing it with Star Wars quotes or while holding a light saber. Keep your wits about you, this place can be a little rough.
Fake It: In the movie we see Motti tugging at his collar, so is the pressure coming from the outside of his neck? Is his windpipe simply closing? It’s not certain. What is certain is that you can easily fake this. Try these actions:
• Gasp for breath
• Give yourself a panicked expression
• Stiffen your back/look stricken
• Tug your collar or a necklace as though you are tugging on something no one else can see.
Keep it up, or fake your death: Now, once your choker realizes that you are playing along, follow their actions. Are the pretending to lift you off the ground? Throw you? Release you and leave you gasping? Comply with their dark-side-addled demands as long as you choose, but if you feel it’s time to end the charade, simply make one last dramatic convulsion or gasp, and pretend to faint/die. You see, while in that galaxy far far away the Force users have the strength, in our universe you’re the one with the power.
What have we learned?
The best part of this process is that it’s easy to practice both sides of the choke – grab a mirror, put on your John Williams and enjoy practicing your cold, methodical choke or your frazzled choking panic.
Why not try both? Once you start practicing, find a buddy and try it in front of friends or family. But save the board meeting or thanksgiving dinner Force choking for very unique situations. With all the iambic pentameter love Shakespeare’s Star Wars is getting, you might want to add this skill to your professional portfolio.