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Grabs: A Simple Joint-Lock Solution

Here’s The Thing…

Grabs are really dumb moves by your opponent. Why? Because they aren’t really that much of a devastating technique because they lack aggression to the point of sending the message that the person grabbing you actually hasn’t fully committed to the idea of inflicting serious pain on you. They are, however, building themselves up to that decision. With that in mind, the moment they grab you, it’s time for you to act.

Some Background

Before we break down how this works, I want to share with you what made me write this in the first place. My young son (15) came home from school a couple days ago expressing that a good bud of his got pushed around a bit at school. They are both freshman on campus, and, as you can imagine, the seniors can be a bit intimidating due to their physical size. This is often paired with overconfidence, but that’s another blog entirely.

Anyway, my son’s friend got grabbed by the shirt and shoved around a bit by a kid who amounts to little more than a “bully”, and I seriously dislike bullies. So, here we are.

The Truly Dumb Part

Here’s the truly dumb part about attacking like this though… The attacker isn’t just giving you their hand—one of their primary striking tools—they are also communicating exactly where it is. This is to your distinct advantage. Obviously, you are inclined to use their stupidity against them.

Breaking It Down

  1. Do NOT back away from the grab. In fact, secure it by taking your off-hand (the hand that is opposite the shoulder that is being grabbed) and reach over on top and secure or trap their hand to your chest, essentially securing the grab.
  2. Use your last three fingers and your thumb to secure a grip on their hand.
  3. Once you’ve secured the grab to your chest, step backwards slightly while simultaneously turning your body to twist their wrist upside down, all-the-while maintaining the grip. In fact, as you twist to escape the grab and lock their elbow and wrist, I strongly advise you to bring your other hand up to secure the grip.

The combination of extending the distance slightly, turning your shoulders, and securing the grip with both hands will put you in a position to either escape or inflict further damage if needed to secure your own safety in the moment.

The Joint-Lock Grip Has
Two Key Elements

  1. Your grip will be significantly more effective if you do NOT employ the use of your index finger. Learn to use the fulcrum created between your thumb and the opposing last three fingers of the same hand.
    Part of training this is simply to learn to point your index finger as you grip any part of a body. When gripping an opponents hand, your three fingers should securely wrap around the meaty portion of the edge of the opponents hand.
  2. Their middle “birdie” finger/knuckle is the key spot here. That’s the magic button that secures their compliance through pain. Applying pressure to the other knuckles will result in little gain. That middle knuckle is the one that gains their full attention. Refer to the video for a more detailed demonstration.

Where’d I Learn This?

Randy Wanner and Bob Taylor demonstrate this move in their TRS/Fight Fast DVD titled Fighting Chance: Secrets Of The Modern Warrior. Wanner is a Hwa Rang Do Black Belt with amazing skills and is an absolute master of using joint-lock moves to control and gain the compliance of an adversary.

Don’t forget the fairly universal standard regarding “use of force” laws. That is, you can use only the amount of force necessary to remove the threat or escape the situation. Assuming you are successful in applying this technique, your adversary will be in a highly vulnerable position for you to inflict further damage. Make good choices for your future too. 😉

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162 thoughts on “Grabs: A Simple Joint-Lock Solution”

  1. Alot of what you show in your videos I’ve used. My father was a Green Beret and he taught my brother and me to fight from an early age. We also trained in martial arts. But keep showing the videos because I can assure you that they are very helpful. This world is getting crazy.

  2. One of my favourites this one, looks extremely effective and reasonably easy to learn, thank you very much for the regular fight tips. Could you please do some more video demonstrations are joint locks, just so i know that in any situation-not just if he’s grabbing my shoulder- i can apply one. Thanks for the awesome content….



  4. Thank you all for taking the time to post these. We appreciate your expertise in these matters and your willingness to share.

  5. This is a very good skill to learn. It gives you the best of two options, flee or inflict as much punishment as you want. I prefer not to fight (70 years old) and I don’t have the stamina to trade blows for any length of time. By learning this move, I have the option of getting the hell out of Dodge or really inflicting so much punishment, my attacker will never mess with me again. It also sends a message to other thugs not to mess with you. Thank you so much for this knowledge. I have a few of your DVDS on survival and self defense and have not had to use any of the tools so far. Keep up the good work!