Way too often I hear people say that wrist locks and other joint locks such as arm bars, shoulder locks, finger locks and various joint manipulation techniques are worthless for real situations and that they only work in the training hall with a willing partner. This is in no way accurate. I’ve used wrist locks and other joint locking techniques in real situations as have many others. Obviously there are times and places for joint locks, just as there are times and places for striking, kicking, and all other techniques. But to say joint locks don’t work is flat wrong. Unfortunately, many who say these techniques don’t work are making mistakes, and therefore they don’t work for them. Here are three common mistakes and what you can do to prevent them and make your wrist locks and other joint locking techniques effective.
Wrist Locks: Three Mistakes
Mistake #1 – Failing To Surprise Your Opponent. When applying a wrist lock, or any lock, you want to surprise your opponent and lock it on before he knows what you are doing. It is much easier to thwart a joint lock when you know it is coming, so stop your opponent from preventing or countering your technique by surprising him with what you are doing. Sometimes when working security, you can approach and apply your lock before the subject even knows you are there. (Often because he is concerned with the other person he is in conflict with and you come up to stop them.) Other times you distract your opponent with a strike or kick and then surprise them with the locking technique.
Mistake #2 – Failure to Perform the Wrist Lock Quickly. You must perform your wrist locks as fast as you can. If you don’t, your opponent will figure out what you are doing, and you have lost your surprise. Speed is crucial when applying many locks. To get faster, you must train and train and train. Remember, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Speed increases with practice. Do not sacrifice accuracy for speed or you will be making mistake #3.
Mistake #3 – Failure to Apply Wrist Lock Correctly. You must use correct technique for your wrist locks to work. Without proper technique and application, your wrist locks will fail. So, while you must be fast, you must also be accurate with proper technique. When you surprise your opponent and put the lock on quickly and accurately you will be able to use joint locks effectively. To become a better martial artist and effective with wrist locks, eliminate these mistakes, practice hard and practice safe!