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The Ties That Bind
Techniques For Fighting While Restrained & For Securing Prisoners
By Pete Kautz, Text & Photos Copyright 2010 Alliance Martial Arts LCC

Fighting while your hands are tied up or otherwise restrained is an unusual situation that isn't typically practiced in martial art classes.  The flip side of this, the art of restraining an opponent such as a criminal or terrorist using field-expedient tying techniques is perhaps even more obscure!

At our Seeking The Path II training event we held in March of 2010 will be explored these topics as some of the many ways of putting students into worst-case situations so they can become acclimatized to the action and start thinking on their feet to find a way out!

In the scenario pictured here, we start from the wrists tied in front position
The bad guy pushes the defender with a stick followed by an overhead swing

Until you get used to it, the mere thought of being tied up might lead to a sense of helplessness and panic.  Many would just give up and not think fighting was an option when in fact it is still quite possible to do.  It's not great, it's not optimal, but it's possible and sometimes that's good enough!

Defender parries the swing and wraps into Universal Disarm position in one motion

Being tied up is something you never want to allow to happen in a self defense situation.  One good piece of advice is that if a criminal produces restraints of some kind - rope, tape, handcuffs - you should fight / flee right then without hesitation and not wait because your chances of survival diminish if you are moved to a second location (crime scene B).  But shit happens, so what to do, eh?

Twisting completes the disarm but BG swings a punch - it is blocked on the forearm /elbows

In this circumstance there are two basic possibilities, those being the hands tied in front of the body or the hands being tied behind the body.  As you might guess, having your hands behind your body makes it harder to fight back effectively.  So, if you feel you are in a situation where you are going to be tied, offer your hands meekly to the front in hopes that they will be lazy and tie them there.

(This sign of submission could also be a ruse setting up an ambush attack at the moment they focus on tying you up, that's when you're going to explode.)

BG's second punch is smothered with a simultaneous elbow to the throat followed by a knee

There are of course many other ways to tie a person but these are not typically known to the layman.  Unless someone is really knowledgeable about restraints (and has a long rope) the chance of them using a classical "Petal Tie" from the Samurai art of Hojojutsu is highly unlikely.

[Note that this lack of knowledge also means that even the simple ties we employ will not likely counter any opposition.]

Hands are slipped over BG's neck into Re-Enforced Thai Clinch with a second knee
Spin 180 degrees clockwise to throw or disorient BG and fire a third knee

In any case, the idea is that you have to work with what you do have available, such as kicks, knees, shoulder rams, head butts, Hellbows, finger gouges and grabs to vital points such as the neck or crotch.  There are even movements where you can use the fact that your wrists are tied together to your advantage, such as slipping them over your assailant's head in a variation on the Thai neck clinch to control or choke depending on the length of the ties.

Another aspect to be learned in this work are effective ways of tying a criminal to immobilize them.  The presumption is that you don't have conventional handcuffs or zip-ties and so you are forced to use field expedient materials such as a belt, scarf, shoelaces, computer cables, etc.

Here a belt is turned into cuffs by running it back through the buckle
In this photo the end is run between the person's legs and tied to their belt in back

Here two belts are attached together to make a longer tie for the next technique

This tie immobilizes both arms and wraps around the neck to choke the person if they try to escape, plus it gives you a handle to control them.  It is quick to apply and hard to escape!

These may seem like unusual techniques, but we live in unusual times!

As I often ask my students about things, "If you were part of a group of strangers and this skill was needed (in this case, to keep someone secure) would you rather trust it to someone else or would you want to know how to do it yourself?"

What I've found is that most adults want to KNOW for themselves, they would rather not trust to fate and other people for their survival!

It's just like with firearms - even students of mine who would identify themselves as "non gun people" all know how to use them and "IF" one became available in the course of a situation they would all be quick to snatch it up and use it to the best of their ability to protect lives.

NOTE: Always be super cautious when practicing ties like this one that restrict breathing!
Learn them "for educational purposes only" and do not put them on tightly.


HELLBOWS: Destructive Elbow Techniques
Integrate elbow shields with trapping and grappling to devastate your opponent at close range with one of the body's best weapons

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