A wrist lock is an essential tool in your self-defense toolbox. Anyone can do these moves, because they don’t rely so much on strength as on the limits of the human body. By grabbing your opponent’s hand and twisting it, you can disable him enough to get yourself out of a bad situation. We’ll tell you how.
A Simple Wrist Lock You Can Try
Here’s the first and perhaps the simplest wrist lock method you can try. With your opponent facing you, grab your opponent’s hand and maneuver it so that your thumbs are on the back of his hand, and your fingers are firmly gripping his palm. Holding on tightly and controlling your movements, push your opponent’s hand towards him and then twist outward and down until your opponent is forced to move or bend.
Use a Restraining Hold to Stop a Fight
The next is a restraining hold. This isn’t ideal at the beginning of a fight, but it’s useful if your opponent is tiring, or if he is attacking someone else.
As you come up to your opponent from one side, move your right arm under his upper arm, and then lock his arm in with your elbow. With your other arm, push his forearm up and in so you can get at his hand. You’ll essentially be trapping his one arm in both of yours. Next, grab your opponent’s hand with both of your hands so that you’re pushing on the top of his hand with his palm facing the floor. Lock in tight and apply downward pressure. Believe us, your opponent will feel it.
Respond to a Shoulder Grab
Imagine that your opponent grabs your shoulder with his right hand. Immediately lock his arm with your left hand and hold it there. Then, with your right hand, cover your opponent’s hand as it’s grabbing your shoulder or clothing. Finally, apply enough pressure on your opponent’s wrist so that he’s subdued. If you can, wrap your fingers around your opponent’s hand and press down hard on the wrist. That will hurt him enough to allow you to escape.
Another option is this: Once you see that your opponent is starting to bend — or if you sense that the lock you’re using isn’t working quite fast enough — give his wrist a good twist in the other direction so that his palm is facing towards him. Then, press hard to disable him even further.
Respond to a Wrist Grab
If an opponent comes up to you and grabs your wrist, there’s another move you can do to defend yourself. First, if you simply want to break his grip, you can twist your hand and break away. If you want to respond in a more effective way, however, you can do this:
- Turn your hand up so your palm faces the sky.
- Bring your other hand underneath your opponent’s hand, so you have access to your opponent’s thumb.
- Dig your fingers into the meat of your opponent’s thumb (where the thumb joint connects to the hand).
- Press hard, and twist your other hand up to escape his grip.
- Once that hand is free, push back, driving that hand into your opponent’s knuckles.
- Now that both of your hands are around your opponent’s hand, push and twist until your opponent’s arm is forced into an unnatural angle. Your opponent will go down.
OK, so what if you can’t turn your hand up? If you feel stuck, push your arm (and your opponent’s hand) upwards and use your free hand to get at his. Wrap your free hand around his knuckles. Then, twist your trapped hand until you can grab the top his wrist with it. Once you do that, you’ll have more power because you’ll have hold of his wrist with one hand, and hold of his knuckles with the other. Finally, drop straight down. Put pressure on your opponent and push him to the floor.
When an Opponent Approaches You With Both Hands Up
What if your opponent is coming toward you with both of his hands up, wrestling style? The minute he reaches for your hands, turn them sideways so he can’t grab your fingers. Grab your opponent’s hands, instead, with your fingers around the outer sides. Your thumbs should interlock with his thumbs. Once you’ve stopped his forward movement, choose one of his hands to focus on. Wrap both of your hands around his one hand, and twist hard. Do it aggressively enough so that you’re able to push him away.
Visit Shin-Gane to Learn Additional Wrist Lock Techniques for Self Defense
Would you like to learn more about defending yourself?
Whether you’re interested in learning self-defense or curious about a new martial arts practice, you can learn aikido at your own pace at Shin-Gane. Aikido, a Japanese martial art developed in the early 20th century, teaches you discipline that will give you confidence in real-world situations. This practice offers self-defense, cardio exercise, and flexibility – for some practitioners, it even becomes a lifestyle.
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