SCENARIO NO. 1: An assailant grabs your lapel, and you work halfway through a wrist-lock takedown you learned years ago. Then you discover that you cannot finish the technique because he’s resisting.
SCENARIO NO. 2: You’re a police officer attempting to apply a koga come-along technique on a suspect. You’ve got it set, but when you try to make him step backward, you lose control.
SCENARIO NO. 3: An assailant lashes out at you, and you manage to avoid his blows and partially restrain him with a wrist-press arm lock. A few seconds later, you can no longer control him because he’s fighting back.
The control techniques described in these scenarios are designed to force an assailant to cooperate to avoid additional pain. All are legitimate moves that work most of the time — but not all the time. How can you tell if one of them is not working before it’s too late? How can you figure out what needs to be corrected? How can you avoid these problems in the first place?
Depending on who you are and how you’re built, you have several options if a control technique doesn’t work. You can try make it work by using brute force, but that can fail — especially if your assailant is stronger than you are. You can release the hold and try to subdue him another way, but that frequently proves to be an even poorer choice. If you’re a cop, you can escalate the situation to a higher level of force based on the suspect’s noncompliance, but you may end up with a lot of explaining and paperwork to do.
If you’ve trained in jujitsu or another martial art that teaches an awarenessof how the nervous and muscular systems work, you know that a number of better options exist. All of them involve pain.
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Jujitsu practitioners know that pain and injury are two different things. They also know that controlling the level of pain can be a powerful incentive for securing an assailant’s cooperation before any substantial injury is inflicted. Of course, injuring him can end the confrontation, but when it doesn’t, it can make it difficult, if not impossible, to control him because you no longer control his level of pain.
When you apply the wrist-lock takedown, the koga come-along and the wrist-press arm lock, you’re using pain to force the assailant to cooperate. However, the amount of pain you can inflict is often limited because of circumstances such as his physique and pain tolerance. Therefore, you must be able to augment the techniques if the need arises. One method for accomplishing this is to inflict pain elsewhere on the assailant’s body, but this isn’t recommended because it frequently involves abandoning the reasonably good hold you already have. To attempt a complex technique when a simple one isn’t working usually leads to complete failure. In self-defense, it pays to remember the KISS philosophy: Keep It Simple, Sensei.
A far better method for encouraging the assailant to cooperate is to increase the pain in a simple, fail-safe manner through the use of basic nerve and pressure-point techniques.
The wrist-lock takedown works well as long as the other person does not resist too much. When the assailant makes his move (1), George Kirby (left) grabs his hand (2), twists it clockwise (3) and applies pressure on the wrist to force him down (4).
The wrist-brace takedown is a good alternative when the assailant resists the wrist-lock takedown. After George Kirby (left) is grabbed (1a), he uses his right hand to control the assailant’s right hand and places his left hand on the assailant’s forearm (2a). The pain from the wrist lock and the pressure-point technique forces the assailant to drop (3a). In detail: The ulnar nerve pressure point lies about 1 to 3 inches below the elbow (4a).
WRIST-LOCK TAKEDOWN: This move, also known as the forward wrist lock, is a simple but effective maneuver that can be used to respond to attacks that range from the simple lapel grab described in scenario No. 1 to a club attack. It’s also a very “forgiving” technique because it usually works even if it’s not done perfectly.
However, you can run into problems if the assailant resists as you turn his hand. Resistance will usually show up as his wrist reaches the halfway point — when his thumb is pointing toward the ground. The technique can come to a grinding halt at this point unless you supplement it with an additional pain-compliance method. To better acquaint yourself with this situation, practice it with special attention directed toward how the attacker’s arm rises …