Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Holding techniques

Yesterday I started writing a response to Nick Hughes’ article about armlocks being useless for self-defense. It rapidly started turning into an epic because it brought up all sorts of topics like the role of osaekomiwaza (holding techniques) in aiki and judo and the relative merits of positional vs. submission wrestling. As the length and scope of the post was burgeoning, this is a condensed version. Perhaps it will be the first of several posts about holds and armlocks

I agree fully with Mr. Hughes that holding techniques are generally unreliable and unproductive from the point of view of self-defense. You can’t guarantee that holding someone immobile will make them stop trying to hurt you and you can’t even be sure that they won’t break your hold.

Holds are really either an artistic (in the case of aikido) or a sporting (in the case of judo) abstraction of the battlefield skills of joint manipulation and breaking. In order to practice aikido and judo with some degree of safety we have to have this particular abstraction but if you are to call what you do self-defense training then you have to recognize the abstraction as such and understand what it is abstracted from.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that you should not just hold an individual in a arm bar position in a tactical scenario, but through my years of training I never interpreted an arm bar to be a hold. I just relized that my training partners had two arms, so if I had three partners I only have six times to practice an arm break. I noticed nick mentioned arm barring a guy with a knife (can the girl hold him?). The answer is no, but I wouldnt reccomend a man try to arm bar a another man versed in weapons. There is to much that can go wrong if you shoot straight for an armbar you should only transition to an armbar once you have control.
    On the topic of positional vs submission wrestling, I believe postional wins in street combat. I admit I wish I could submit guys as fast as some of these bjj blackbelts can, but in real I would only want to go for submission if I could break or choke a guy in a matter of seconds and return to my feet. All to often in combat, a submission only individual would over commit to a submission and forget that it would be better to stand. Therefore, if I know how to position I can position out (escape) faster that I could submit. Then I could return to my feet to finish the fight, where I am more mobile and should be more skilled.

    Thats just my two cents too be taken with a grain of salt.
    Rob Belote
    mokuren dojo


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