Teaching Wrist Locks to Hard Stylists 101

Wrist Locks to Hard Stylists 101

Wrist locks are great techniques to teach hard stylists who hold out for a future where their skills 'soften' to look like Aikido demonstrations you see on YouTube. Aikidoka are renown for their graceful and effortless demonstrations between Tori and Uke. Uke are the opponents who perform the initial 'attack.' The tori are the technicians who deflect said attack to redirect the opponent. The resultant disruption of center of gravity creates beautiful and balletic takedowns.

Hard stylists might like the 'effortless' and 'graceful' transactions because much of hard style training is sweaty, tiring, and frankly, unglamourous. As hard stylists age, many yearn for their lost youth, a return to old school training (which they will lead), a worry of when they'd need to schedule their hip replacement surgery, and then a belief a paradigm shift will occur in their skill to allow them look like O Sensei.

Few stop to consider that Aikido demonstrations are simply choreographed two-man drills. The uke is putting their arm out. The tori holds on to their arm. The uke jumps, somersaults, and performs an amazing breakfall.

Aikido is not without merit. But perhaps you should pause and consider some suggested prerequisites before you think handlocks are the next skill you need to learn.

Prerequisites to Wrist Locks to Hard Stylists 101:
  1. Bypass lead arm guard and trapping of arm
  2. Limb destruction, joint attacks, and control
  3. Stand up clinch tactics
  4. Defence against wrist grabs, arm grabs, and lapel grabs, etc. 
  5. Breakfalls and rolls
  6. Takedowns 
  7. Standard over-the-shoulder, hip, and leg reaping throws
  8. Defence against regular takedowns and throws
  9. Shoulder locks
  10. A solid discussion on what good (read 'tactical') bunkai and applications training looks like. 
Wrist locks are an important part to round off training, a considered part of self defence training, weapons training and defence, and are a good subset of combative skills. Don't let me make you lose heart. Keep working at it! :-)

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