Brian Kagen pick: “Standing Locks, Effective or Not” from markstraining.com

“This is not to say that locks have no place in standing situations, but they are much harder to apply. Against a trained opponent who may expect locks during sparring, then there is a small chance of pulling one off, against someone on the street with no fighting experience, it may be easier. Following up locks after a hard strike are good times to apply them as your opponent may be stunned from the strike, and his/her reflexes and attention might not be available to react to the lock. The bottom line is that practice is needed and experience of the best way to apply locks from standing positions is necessary to be able to pull them off.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. bruce baker says:

    Simply put … against a trained fighter who is trained to resist pain, to escape standing locks … the standing lock becomes “the injury.”

    Yes, because the opponent resists to the point of breakage and injury, if the person applying the lock is gentle and releases enough to keep injury from occurring, you then put yourself in danger. Or, if the applier of the lock is determined to keep the lock in place as the opponent pushes their body to it’s limits and beyond … INJURY WILL OCCUR.

    Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer … but a true answer none the less.

    It is NEVER just the physical pain that induces the opponent to submit, but breaking the mental state of mind that the opponent is superior or has the upper hand even when they must submit to avoid pain or injury, the mental balance of the opponent must be broken as well as the physical balance of their fighting mind. (or they must feel you are asking them to submit so injury does not occur)

    The body will cause the disconnect from the mind’s control and unconsciousness will occur in order to preserve life in extreme conditions, unless the mind’s control is so strong that the person has learned to ignore pain, and then only a catastrophic injury might break that mindset to ignore pain.

    Maybe that is why we are always looking at a person’s physical strengths and a way to overcome their mind’s connection to the body so that our manipulations of that body send signals to the mind that warn of and imminent terrible danger, but we, in our attempt to overcome their physical strength, try not to send signals that we are trying to cause catastrophic injury. When we accomplish this feat, be it with whatever standing locks, or moving techniques, we have broken the mental connection that blocks pain and seeks to allow the attacker to cause pain and injury to us.

    CONCENTRATE when you are practicing! Pay attention to not only your physical manipulations, but what your connection is between your body and your mind, and to the signals you send as well as those you practice with also. Even if you can’t fully concentrate on the duality of process, over time you will begin to feel, and think, something other than the simple physical manipulation of the human body is occurring, and in fact it is occurring but you have not been mindful of it.

    When someone is practiced in escape, practiced in resisting pain, you must be very quick to apply the lock to it’s maximum potential to it’s very breaking point which will then signal to the person receiving the lock that resistance if futile, or you must allow them to injure themselves because their mind resists being compliant.

    So, standing locks can be very very effective if you can read the signals of what the other person’s body and mind will do, let alone transition into numerous locks so their efforts to escape leave them with no other choice to submit or allow injury to occur.

    My point is .. TRY NOT TO INJURE THAT PERSON .. but don’t feel bad if they injure themselves. (cause they will …. if you have ever been around some of these stubborn SOB’s they just can’t help injuring themselves)

  2. Pain is less important than mechanics. If the person can and is willing to sacrifice the bones being locked, any advantage is temporary. Even if they “accept” the lock, they may have other tools at their disposal (feet, offside hand, a weapon…) Still, if you just HAVE to move or remain standing, what are your options? Unless you are effecting an arrest, you can always use your locked opponent as a shield against his friends, at least briefly, and dispose of him in a tactically convenient direction at some early point. Ground locks are much more secure, but test them in class. Not all of those we see in Pranin Sensei’s excellent videos are actually escape-proof.

  3. steve kwan says:

    Unbalancing your opponent and maintaining a good, balanced posture for yourself are always important before applying a lock technique. If lock technique A meets resistance, modify the technique or use other technqiue (i.e. lock technique B). Applying lock techniques in standing position are applicable and workable, and in fact, preferable. It is more convenient to run or flee in a standing position than crawling on the ground (for both yourself and your opponent). The idea is being flexible, adaptable and being resourceful. Atemi; unbalancing your opponent and always maintaining a good, balanced posture for yourself are very important factors to contribute to a successful lock or throw application. Aikido is to blend with your opponent’s energy and go with the “flow” and “energy”, it is about harmonization with the energy and flow of your opponent (partner). If you try to “fight” or “resist” or “force” your opponent to something, your already lost.

  4. Shinya Aoki

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwM7fAqN6f0 A nikyo variation. I have watched this and watched this. I feel it is a nikyo variation and not rokyo or waki gatame.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgIuPpUT4fw Here he does it to an opponent in a merciless manner in the ring. You can see where the forearm snaps.

  5. That’s why you don’t see them in the UFC/MMA contests and hard to do on the street…?

  6. It all boils down to the individual reinventing the effectiveness of any technique for themselves.

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