Joint Locks

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by MJS, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    In this thread, the subject of joint locking/controlling, came up. Rather than sidetrack that other thread, I figured I'd start a seperate one, to disucss everybodies thoughts on the use of them.

    Is this something that you use? Do you feel that they're effective?

    Just a few questions to get the ball rolling. :)
     
  2. Malleus

    Malleus Orange Belt

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    I suppose it's contextual. MMA and BJJ have shown us that joint locks can be very effective. On the street, 1 on 1, there's no reason they couldn't be as effective. Something like an armbar or knee/ankle lock has the potential to end a fight if you can destroy the joint. Obviously there's severe caveats: if there's more than one opponent, you'll get your *** handed to you by guy B as you try to lock down guy A.

    I suppose in a street context, if they're used to destroy rather than simply control, they're a nice tool to have. I'm not as sure about standing locks, such as wristlocks. They always seemed a bit flimsy whenever I practiced them.

    Ultimately they're a nice weapon, I'd like to have them, and if I had the opportunity to lock one in I don't see why I wouldn't, outside of the aforementioned exception above.
     
  3. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think the answer to the question depends upon what the purpose of the joint lock is for. I place come-alongs in the same category, by the way. The purpose of the joint lock is to immobilize, not incapacitate. Both responses are appropriate to different situations.

    For law enforcement or security work, where the person being controlled is not generally speaking a criminal, but just a drunk or someone who's high or otherwise out of control, a joint lock or come-along is a good way to immobilize them if it's properly applied. I am not referring to pain-compliance techniques, since they might not work on drunks or druggies, but just your basic locks.

    It has utility where an officer is effecting an apprehension and has backup or a security person like a bouncer is removing an unruly patron. It is non-lethal and generally does not result in medical attention being required, so it is good in situations where you'll be catching and releasing, so to speak.

    The downside of a lock or come-along is that it immobilizes, it does not incapacitate. That means it is only useful to stop the fight; not end it. The moment you let up, they're more or less good as new and able to resume fighting. And some people are strong (and dumb) enough to hurt themselves by breaking whatever joint or bone you're locking.

    The basic question about a joint lock is this; once you immobilize the person, now what? If you cannot complete the (arrest, detention, running away, etc) because you can't let go without being attacked again, it might not be the best defensive move to use in that situation.

    In a self-defense situation, I think I'd tend towards incapacitation rather than immobilization.
     
  4. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Yes I have both in the school and in an altercation, the problem I see with alot of students is they have no clue when and where or what should be done they just know a tech. and they hope it is right but 9 x out of 10 it is applied wrong. I wish people would actually take the time and learn the proper way to apply one.
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I guess in a SD situation, I'd want to lock the joint and then take it, so in that sense, I agree. If I lock his knee, he's not going to have the use of it anymore. I can't have him running after me, and he made the choice to be a cripple by attacking me (assuming I can actually do the work, that is). It's all about opportunity. But I would not intentionally aim for a lock in a SD situation. I'd just try to take out the knee, collarbone, shoulder, whatever.
     
  6. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    IMHO, I think they're just another tool to have in your box of tricks. There are things that we have in our arts, that we'll probably never do, yet we still train them and teach them, as its very possible that someone else may find a use for them.

    There are locks in the arts that I study. IMO, I think that its important, just like everything else, to train the locks, with a resisting partner. Obviously, with anything, safety needs to be exercised, but its something that I feel needs to be done.

    There was a question in that other thread that came up, about what we do with the badguy, once we've controlled him. If we were to do a choke, obviously we put them to sleep. :) With a lock, well, thats a good question. We run the risk of pissing them off if we let go, hoping that they leave us alone, so looks like we'll have to follow thru with a break.

    As I've said in other threads, no matter what we do, theres a chance we may get into trouble, especially if we hang around, but I'll worry about that later. At the moment, my safety is #1.
     
  7. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree; it's a tool, and there's a place.

    They can be effective, but often fail in the real world. Clothing, sweat/blood, effects of intoxicants, and more all limit how well they work in the real world, just like they do in the dojo. Also -- lots of them work best when someone attacks "properly", rather than realistically...

    It also depends on how far the lock is taken... It's one thing to simply hold and restrain -- but most locks can be taken "another step" into a joint destruction that can be a true fight ender.
     
  8. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    I think there is definitely room for them in self-defense.

    Aside from the joint destruction that JKS mentioned, not every self-defense scenario is going to require the same level of force.

    In 2000, an argument between two hockey dads escalated in to violence at a rink in Reading, MA.

    270 pound Thomas Junta beat 156 pound Michael Costin to death.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,192891,00.html

    Think Mr. Costin's children would still have their father alive with them today had Junta used joint locks instead of punches when the situation got physical?
     
  9. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Good points. IMO, this is why I think its important to wait until the lock presents itself to you, rather than trying to seek it out. As for the attacking 'properly'....agreed again. This is why I feel that lock flows are important. No, we won't go thru the entire series, but it teaches you how to move to something else, should the initial lock start to fail.

    On the subject of whether or not they work on someone under the influence of something....I've heard people say that they will and others say that they won't. If its not working, then we go to something else. Of course, I'm not going to assume that everyone that may attack me, will be under the influence of something. Thats kinda like the people that make it sound like every bad guy is the evil twin in Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell. LOL. *note* I'm not saying you were hinting at this, just making a general comment, as those are the usual comments that you see. *shrug*
     
  10. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    If the person applying the joint lock has practiced them thousands of times aaginst resisting opponents then they will work and work well. I do agaree with the other poster that said you must wait for the opportunity to arise to use one and not go seeking it out.
     
  11. Hollywood1340

    Hollywood1340 2nd Black Belt

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    A joint lock is only a "lock" because I want it to. I view all my "locks" as joint destructions, but as the same way we learn to control a punch, not pull it, I learn to control my destruction.
     
  12. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have used joint locks when on duty for cuffing and escort purposes..As JKS 9199 posts they dont work all the time..
     
  13. zDom

    zDom Senior Master

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    As pointed out above, joint locks are really just joint destruction techniques ratcheted down a notch.

    In addition to rendering that limb pretty much useless for combat (pretty hard to punch someone with a broken/dislocated wrist, elbow or shoulder) these techniques can cause the recipient to go into shock.

    Not as easy to learn and execute as a punch, for example. Great tool to have in the toolbox. My box is full of 'em. Takes constant polishing to keep them all shiney and ready for use.
     
  14. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    My expeirence follows alongside Drac's and jks9199 in that joint locks are a good tool to have and yes they do not work all the time. Still I have had success a few times and would not take them out of my repetroire! :)
     
  15. theletch1

    theletch1 Grandmaster

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    Joint locks can work great...provided you put the same amount of training into them as you do a punch or kick or block, actually more time as their more complex. As others have said a lock is a destruction ratcheted down a notch. I don't always want to break the joint and sometimes breaking the joint in question actually causes more problems than it solves. For instance, I've got someone drunk poking me in the chest. I take control of the fingers and use them as levers to control the individual. Now, if I break those fingers their of no more use to me for controlling that person. The trick with a true lock (as opposed to destruction) is taking it right up to the edge of breaking and using that leverage or pain to maintain control of the individual...if controlling is what I want to do. Like any other technique it will certainly depend on the situation and the individual that I'm defending against as to whether or not I'll use it. As an aikido practitioner, though, I have to say I'm very fond of using joints to control. Of course, as that's my bread and butter I also work those techniques and concepts more than many other folks will who use locks as an adjunct to their training.
     
  16. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Joint locks are effective within context & it should be noted that with some older and even more modern systems the idea of a joint lock is some much to "lock" the joint but to stress it to the point of destruction and then being used as a form of control. Good modern examples would LINE training, some more modern civilian combatives systems and even some older systems of wrestling and jujutsu.
     
  17. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Nothing works all of the time. Even for the person who has practiced for years against resisting opponents.

    That being said, joint locks can be fight enders when used appropriately; either via destruction of the joint or as a tool to restrain an aggressor.

    If a strike is what is called for, or if escape and flight is what is called for, then do what is appropriate. But if the joint lock is the tool you need at the time, then not having it means not being able to use it.

    Daniel
     
  18. tempus

    tempus Green Belt

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    In my art we use a lot of joint locks, which then move into throws and flips. In my opinion they work or I would not tap or fall\flip out of them. You use them as the situation unfolds. I may not want to hurt a drunk friend, but I may want to break a joint if the person has a weapon or if I am forced bring a knee up into a face, etc.... Multiple attackers I can use the person locked up as a shield in between me and the other attacker. Throw them into another attacker and make a run for it.

    However, there have been some students who have joints that bend in such akward ranges that they should be in the circus. I end up just striking them. It hurts to watch them bend like that. That is why if you are going to work joint manipulation techniques you need to train with different people who are different sizes. You will find you have to adapt to those differences.

    -Gary
     
  19. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    I try to use some locking whether joint or body in every class that I teach. Working and training with locks gives us many learning opportunities in addition to the effectiveness of the actual ‘technique’ during physical encounters. Breathing, fear, tempering, physical and verbal communication, pride/ego and tension moderation among others are all aspects that are worked while exploring the locks for both the people applying the locks as well as the people being locked.

    Breathing, the core of living, is something that should always be looked at while training. When exploring locks it is interesting to see how many times not only the body part gets locked but at how often the breathing of one or both people exploring the work also gets locked and trapped. It is very interesting to be able to catch yourself in that suspended breathing mode and feel the physical psychological and physiological changes that occur when and if you can restore your breathing. This exploration is best done slowly and most importantly honestly. Honestly meaning that both partners are working slowly, one is learning what the lock is doing physically mentally and spiritually to them while the other is learning what applying the lock is doing to them mentally spiritually and physically. If the locks are applied lightly, or if the person taps before the pain is actually felt then both are robbed of valuable learning, this is why slow and steady is best giving both time to explore more completely all that is going on.

    Fear, one of the tests of living, is also something that should when it occurs be appreciated valued and understood. Often students of martial studies initially come to the arts from a fear motivational outlook. Others are athletes who have in past sporting endeavors suffered injuries. Ankles, knees, eyes, elbows and neck injuries are very common among athletes. Most everyone has had to deal with a sprain of some kind or another, tripping and falling in the parking lot, tripping up or down the stairs at work or slipping and falling on ice can all easily produce breaks and sprains both as the tripping slipping occurs and also to the arms as many brace on impact (almost never a good idea). If we approach locking as a means of exploring fear we can gain many benefits. For those applying the locks some will feel excessive empathy for the person they are applying the lock to, others will harden their hearts put on a stern face and demeanor. Still others will adopt a jocular disposition, while others avoid locking all together. All are a means of avoidance and symptoms of fear and any time fear is noticed it should be appreciated valued and understood. By understanding the origins and reasons of our fear we can gain knowledge on how to not let that fear negatively affect us and all opportunities to gain this knowledge should be cherished. LOL especially so during training when the consequences and goals of the training are hopefully growth and understanding. Learning how to deal with the spikes to our psyche caused by one kind of fear teaches us how to better respond positively to other fears and disruptions.

    The surviving of one test better prepares us to endure future tests, tempering. We can if we train properly honestly and consistently begin to temper our body’s mind and spirits safely so that we may better endure whatever future tests and challenges that living brings us. That we will all face some kind of hardship in the future is a given. Realizing this, we can try to insulate our lives so that we limit those challenges but if we are honest there is often only so much we can control to limit the upcoming challenges we will face. Joint locking allows us to better understand many things, fear and pain being two of the simplest (but not easy) to explore. A training partner, one who is willing and able to apply the lock honestly albeit slowly in a measured manner and one that does not immediately release it but can hold it steady while the person is exploring and fully experiencing the range of emotions and physical manifestations that having the lock applied causes and brings up should be cherished and they are worth their weight in gold for the lessons that can be learned in this type of training are immeasurable. As well, having a partner that will let you apply a lock honestly to them, let you slowly feel the pain build up in them, let you closely observe as they internally struggle to deal with the fears emotions and past traumas/injuries allows you to learn to deal with your own issues about applying immense pain to another human being, and if you have no issues well…that is an issue. Working locks lets both partners work on their own tempering simultaneously while helping their partner work on their tempering.

    Communication occurs thru many mediums and at many levels. For most people (attorneys, politicians and conmen being some of the exceptions) and most circumstances the clearer the communication the better. Communication can occur thru many different mediums and at many different levels. A child instantly knows at first sight which parent to ask for a favor without having to first talk to them, most workers can tell on first sight if their boss is having another bad day or is having a good day, a person can tell when their dog wants to go out to decorate the neighbors flower bushes or just wants some attention. An instructor can quell a student outburst with a look and a student can imply understanding or confusion to the instructor without having to verbalize it. We can communicate through written words, pictures, verbally and through touch. Communication is two way giving information and the receiving information. All communication requires practice to become more and more effective. Whether we practice writing or giving speeches or playing music the more that we do the better we get at it. The same is true for communicating through touch and body contact. Massage is a great means practice communicating thru touch. The same way that a very experienced auto body technician can feel the difference between very thin sheets of metal by merely a touch, or a musician can make music with their hands martial artists also need to educate their hands and body’s to communicate. If you think of your hands and fingers like stethoscopes you can gain all kinds of information from your training partner. Are they excessively sweating, how fast is their heart going, are they extremely tense, ill or injured. You should not need your eyes to ‘see’ these things if you can touch them with educated hands. The clearer that you can read your partner/opponent the better you can respond to what they are ‘saying’ at the same time, understanding this, a person can cloud and try to silence the information that you are sending to your partner/opponent. People that are “excited and loud” are the easiest people to work frankly while people that are “calm centered and quiet” can be extremely difficult to work. Working on joint locks gives us an opportunity to educate our hands. We can learn to feel when the lock is truly on; we can feel all the way thru the lock into the entire body of the person being locked. As the person being locked we can learn to quiet and smooth out the spikes in our psyches, can learn to separate the local temporary pain of the lock from whatever work we must do. We are both trying to become more sensitive to the volume of the communication both giving and receiving. Ever been in a dark room with somebody and everyone is whispering yet there is that person that seems to be hollering, ever been out shooting and afterwards had a conversation with somebody while still wearing your hearing protection? We as martial artists do not want to be the person yelling when a whisper will suffice nor do we want to be so ‘hard of hearing’ that we miss what our opponent/partner is telling at us. Anytime we make physical contact (including striking) with our training partner we should be attempting to educate our hands and quiet our bodies, locking gives us excellent opportunity to practice this.

    Are we so proud that no lock can be applied; are we so good that we can lock anyone anytime? I doubt many that have practiced martial arts for any length of time believe either of those two statements, yet we all have pride and ego. Working joint locks gives us great opportunity to experience this. When applying a lock to our partner do we feel excessive pride at forcing them to tap out? When we once having to tap out do we feel excessive burden to our ego at being made to tap? Ever been frustrated at an inability to make a specific lock work? It does not have to be extremes, but if we train honestly and take the time to really analyze what we are experiencing internally it gives our pride and ego practice on being observed recognized and understood and better moderated. Don’t think you have any issues with pride or ego then chose for your training partner somebody you do not like at all, somebody you feel some contempt for and do the drills but pay attention to more than the wait until it is your turn LOL.

    Tension, life’s gauge. We can become physically mentally or spiritually tense (or any combination of the three) at the merest whisper of sound, the slightest of touches or the faintest of memory. Whether you’re applying the locks or having the experience of having them applied, by paying attention to excessive tension in both yourself and in your training partner we can better learn how to recognize and deal with the tension that comes up in our daily lives and practices. Tension is a symptom of a greater issue. We can either treat that symptom or we can treat the issue causing the symptom. No matter which route that we chose though we must first recognize the excessive tension. Once recognized then we can begin the work of cleansing it if it is our tension or manipulating it if it is our opponents tension that we see/feel. To get better at both recognizing and cleansing excessive tension we should practice it and yup working the locks if we take our time and train honestly gives us great practice in recognizing our and our training partner’s tension and practice in identifying the sources and cause of the tension.

    Meh, on the ‘street’ depends on the context and the skills and dangers the opponents demonstrate but good to know incase the opponent hasn't heard that they do not work and attempts to throw one on me LOL

    For training? yes to both questions. They are good tools.

    Regards
    Brian King
     
  20. 5rings

    5rings Yellow Belt

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    I use Joint Locks with the intervention work I do, though luckily I've only had to use it a few times. The ability to restrain someone without causing permanent damage is vital in professional work such as this. I have encompassed only five separate locks, but all five have 57 variations which we work on constantly to get a smooth transition between each variable technique. I have also found Wally J's small circle to be a complete necessity in a full rounded martial art system such as mine, but I have also worried about the apparrent use of excessive force if the finger breaks rather than causing excruciating pain.
    Always try to think outside the Traditional Box123
     

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