“How to Counter Joint Locks, Arm Bars, and Body Controls,” by Matthew Apsokardu

“By utilizing disturbance you can circumvent the strength, focus, and potential counterattacks of a live attacker. Often in the vacuum of a dojo we can apply punishing joint locks that make our partners whimper. Unfortunately we are working with a level of compliance that ignores the power of adrenaline charged muscles (which can ignore pain and significantly resist your efforts) and the volatility of swinging fists, feet, and forehead of an opponent that wants to take you out.”

Click here to read entire article.


  1. Many years ago, I decided to throw some USDA prime, red meat on the table in an Aikiweb forum:

    At the risk of making myself seem pessimistic about the very art in which I had already trained for years, and of which I have almost always considered excellent for both self-defense and spiritual health, I learned much from disagreeing Aikidoka over a wide rank spectrum. As far as when I began abusing run-on sentences, that is a different matter.

    Something I thought of, Matthew, after reading your piece, is something we each said about a martial-situation uke’s chemically altered brain. I believe that minor pains might be bearable. Then I remembered a cinematic, traumatic arm bar that Seagal utilizes on the totally evil bad guy. Toward the end of “Above the Law,” Seagal’s character breaks the elbow joint of a character I increasingly despised throughout the film. Now, The human body simply will not produce enough endorphins (morphine-within) or any combination of neurotransmitters to remotely alleviate an excruciating joint-break trauma such as this.

    Also, Aikido practiced most of the time in the dojo, and Aikido technique for a martial situations do differ. For example, kaiten-nage can be a smooth and relatively innocuous throw often in the dojo, but there are five critical moments in this technique in which rather destructive strikes can be executed.

    I appreciate your piece because sometimes is is essential to check what we are learning and its efficacy.

  2. Thanks a lot for your thoughts Drew! I admire your survival skills for coming out of a forum argument alive and in one piece, hahaha.

  3. bruce baker says:

    Watched the video, and a couple of things were obvious.

    One, the applications of techniques were not centered or designed to be be taken to the point of injury, it was the playful demonstration and playful practice.

    Two, what a wonderful exercise of balance and technique. I haven’t seen anything so skillful since I had a class with Professor Wally Jay when he came and taught at our little dojo in Waretown, N.J. back in the 1990s.

    Ya gotta realize, these two people were practicing and not trying to harm each other … watch their banter and the student grasps what the teacher is doing .. no word necessary. Great video.

    Take the time to spot all the mistakes … it should wake some people up …

  4. One of the really cool things about aikido is that the techniques are REALLY subtle. Done well, pain is not the operative factor even in nikkyo or sankyo. There may be pain, but the body is moving almost involuntarily because the power of the technique is channeled along skeleto-muscular lines of weakness, ki, if you will.

  5. …oh. the key to countermeasures is in ukemi. once you know the trajectory of the technique through taking falls forever, you can also get a little ahead of nage’s intended trajectory. the technique comes off the rails and you can use the residual velocity to lead into your own kaeshi-waza…

  6. Dominic Toupin says:

    Very good video. In Yoseikan Aikido, we have a kata of counter techniques called Hyori No kata. See

Speak Your Mind