“Joint Locks Considered Dangerous,” by Chris Pearson

“In the martial arts, a ‘joint lock’ is a technique that targets a joint in an opponent’s body, holding it near or outside its normal range of motion. The purpose of a joint lock is not to inflict harm, but to issue a credible threat of harm. The recipient of a joint lock is expected to submit: to move, or to stop moving, as directed by the applicant.”
Click here to read entire article.


  1. What work’s in UFC/MMA and maybe the street…

  2. …the awesome thing about aikido joint locks is that absent muscular tension they are more likely to affect balance than the joint or associated bones. the most easily demonstrated example is shihonage. leave out the beginning and go to the throw. get someone to simply reach over their shoulder then to relax their arm in place. start rolling up the hand, wrist and arm in such a way that the fingers are curled parallel to the bottom of the shoulder blade. soon the back will start to arch in the way so familiar to us. normally there will be some compression on the joint, but not nearly in proportion to the loss of balance. kotegaeshi is similar if you start curling the hand from the small finger with the object to curl the hand into the center of a spiral the rim of which is described the arm. sankyo works into a sort of up-spiral. even nikkyo has an axis which principally involves the balance. actually, a challenge is to find the parts of all techniques which affect balance without running into the strength of the skeleto-muscular system…

  3. Also it’s not a sacrilegious to learn these techniques…They have proven that they work…incorporate them into your Aikido training…seeing them being tried on the street,because of UFC/MMA popularity.

  4. steve kwan says:

    The problem is not a “joint lock” work or not work, surely it works when applied correctly. The focus should be “when” or “where” to use the technique. It depends on your assessment, judgement, situation awareness, right timing, and “wisdom” in general. Surely a “atemi” helps the set up and execution of the “joint lock” or “throw”.

  5. steve kwan says:

    cool link of articles & video ! Very inspiring and eye-opening , there are so much to learn and explore. Thanks
    Taisho !

  6. From my personal experience as limited as it may be this posting is a bit off target. There are an infinite number of ways to lock a joint i.e. not all kotegaeshi are equal. The beginner or aikidoka stuck in his/her advancement works on & locks one joint relying on the pain submission principle. This works quite well when the nage is bigger and stronger or the uke is a trained monkey. The key is to find a way to lock more joints than one using your body, foot work and distracting uke’s mind from the application point of the lock. Then when you finally apply any arm force the force required is minimal, the uke does not experience pain because the force is distributed among more joints and uke has no option but to take ukemi. This is what allows the weak to overcome the strong.

    The analogy is a chain with multiple links. If you twist each link a bit you can get the far end to move easily when you move the near end. The other option would be to really crank on a near link to get the far end to move. Conversely if you do not lock any of the links movement of the near end has no effect on the far end. The same principle applies to a towel such as when you spin it to snap it at someone.

    My guess is that in the testosterone laden MMA ring joint locks would mostly involve all the force being applied to one joint by a big strong guy and a high injury rate.

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