Locking Up and Locking Down

There are two ways to physically control an opponent: knocking someone unconscious and locking up their joints. There are real health and legal ramifications that go along with knocking out somebody, which is why it’s useful to have an alternative.

In today’s litigious society, locking up somebody’s joints is a good way of establishing control without causing serious injury (keeping in mind that the threat of impending serious injury also helps to establish control over an opponent).

{gallery}classes/lockups2{/gallery}At times these locks happen when the opponent is still on their feet.  In this position, you can stay upright and still keep an eye on what’s going on without losing track of the person you’re fighting. In some of these pictures, the lock has essentially happened at the end of the technique, while in other cases the lock has happened closer to the beginning of the technique as a means of establishing early control over the opponent’s balance and alignment.


{gallery}classes/lockups1{/gallery} When it’s necessary to establish absolute control over an opponent, locking the other person down on the ground is an essential skill. From this position, you can bring gravity (and your body weight) to bear on top of your opponent to help apply pressure. While it’s easier to maximize your control over an opponent this way, it can be problematic if there are other attackers or if you need to maintain mobility.


It’s important to remember that not all tools are suitable for all situations. Reflexively locking an opponent on the ground can be dangerous under certain circumstances. On the other hand, trying to keep an opponent off the ground while locking in control can be more difficult (and dangerous). As with most things in life, context is everything.


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