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Lock In Flow To Rock Your Foe
By Pete Kautz 2008

Howdy all!  Today we'll be looking at some concepts regarding locking and standing grappling techniques.  Probably you have some of these in your arsenal already.  Generally even striking-based styles like Kung Fu and Karate teach basic basic arm bars and so on as part of the overall curriculum.

In past training tips we've gone over some of the power development drills for locking and some of the historical training tools used for that.  So, presuming you know how to lock and you have the power to do so, what else is important in making them work?  One thing is the ability to flow both with your hands and with your feet while locking.

The hands have to be sensitive enough to the opponent to secure the lock you are working or to flow to a secondary lock in response to their struggle.  The feet, meanwhile, have to be in motion maneuvering your body in relation to your opponent to keep you safe and provide power for the lock.  Look at Aiki for example and the way they use circular motions of the feet and body to provide the juice for techniques rather than just muscular force.

So, once a basic locking line is established (such as a straight arm bar for example) the next thing we add is the ability to maneuver the opponent from there.  Unbalancing the opponent and making them have to step breaks their power base.  A stationary opponent will have much more fight than one who is struggling with gravity.

To train this, once you get that straight arm bar, learn to make the opponent move in a circle around you.  In class this can be as simple as going back and forth with your partner delivering an overhead attack, picking up the arm bar from there, and steering them in a circle around you one time.  Then push them away and deliver your own overhead attack to which they respond in kind.  This should give you the feeling of the kind of footwork flow we're after with the circular lead!

To add further footwork flow, we turn to the Bagua circling with an opponent.  Start with walking in a large circle around them a safe distance away and then respond to their attack with the lock.  Depending on what strike they are delivering it is better to circle one way or the other.  If the strike will be to your right side walk clockwise, and if it will be to you left side walk counterclockwise.  Add the circular lead you learned in the first exercise to this and you create some wonderful spirals of energy to move your opponent.

While these first two simple exercises develop footwork, the next two will develop hand flow and sensitivity.  For the first one simply touch wrists with your training partner and work an alternating inward circular line.  Like in Karate Kid just do "Wax on", or "Wave Hands Like Clouds" in Tai Chi and focus on keeping the attachment with their arms.  From here you work into your locking techniques, so now out of motion you have to find the timing where you would be able to get into that basic arm bar and lead we did before.

While this develops the ability to lock out of continuous hand contact flow, we also want to develop locking out of intermittent hand contact.  One drill we use to do this is the classic Hubud (Tie & Untie) drill.  Hubud gives a variety of fleeting contact points and forces you to both think ahead as well as look for opportunity to apply your locks.

This week, try working with these four drills in combination and see where it takes you!

All my very best to you,

Pete Kautz

(Like this article?  Then sign up for the weekly Training Tips!  This was published there before it ever appeared here on the website. - PK)

Modern Knives #7: The Grappling Arts
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Knife Grappling From The 1992 Riddle Of Steel (James A. Keating)
3-Stage Lock Flow Sequences Out Of Hubud (Pete Kautz)
Western Catch Wrestling Conditioning & Submissions (Dr. Les Moore)
Fighting From The Ground VS. A Standing Opponent (Mark Hatamaker)

Comtech Structured Lock Flow
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Less than lethal control options using nerve impulse reversal and sensitivity skills to move from lock to lock to control your opponent in a fight!


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