As I have explained before, when it comes to wrist-locks I do not see them as a primary fighting method in most violent situations and I don’t teach them as part of my basic self-protection or basic cross-training methods, unless there is a specific need/requirement. This isn’t to dismiss their efficiency or legitimacy as a fighting tactic. All the major wrist lock techniques have a long and respectable documented history in European, American and Asian martial arts. Outside of the obvious Shodokan Aikido, they also have an established presence in Catch Wrestling and make an occasion appearance in submission grappling sports. I tend to find they have four relevant places in my cross-training training:
1. As an accidental or incidental part of a skirmish. This usually occurs during the very brief period when forearms clash and both sides start gripping.
2. As an add-on once a strong dominant position has been established.
3. As a form of attribute training to better apply small joint manipulations, such as finger locks.
4. Within a low-to-mid level threat physical altercation.
We looked at some simple releases involving both a low-threat sleeve and wrist grab. Then we went through all of the above, applying their context.
The use of the gi is a subject of debate in both the self-defence and combat sport world. I think it is fair to say that in combat sports world opinion is split. Many who come from a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu background argue that, whether or not you choose to fight in gi competition, you become a more technically proficient fighter if you wear one. However, some “no-gi” players, including those with BJJ black belts, have argued that it is not relevant and any time training with a gi could be poured into training specifically. I think both sides have valid points and this isn’t a simplistic issue. My view is to always prioritize training specifically for the main objective, but there is huge value in applying attribute training.
Many in the self-protection world argue that training with the gi is a less relevant form of attribute training than training without them. This is disregarding the large number of worldwide fighting system that have traditionally looked at attacking and defending fights that make use of the clothing being worn. Depending on a country’s climate, the use of clothing as incidental weaponry can be a common feature of a fight. The strangle is a very common method used to kill victims of pleasure murderers, such as serial killers, so I think there is a case there for an individual to have some familiarization with his form of attack. Still, there are those who argue that we can become preoccupied with defending or attacking using worn clothing that might either put a defender on the back foot when they should be focusing on getting their strikes on the gripping/strangling attacker or unnecessarily getting tied up and not being able to release their own grip. These various arguments generally lead me to not bring attack and defence of clothing into a general basic self-protection course, unless there is occupation/environmental or special request to include this area, but to offer it as add-on training. When I trained in grappling sports I trained both gi and no-gi alongside each other.
Tonight we covered basic grip releases, which are useful basic skills for the sport and as a simple deterrent for low-risk nuisance situations, cross-collar chokes (standing and from guard) and the rear bow-and-arrow choke on the ground. All of these are low maintenance/high percentage techniques.