Thursday, July 19, 2007

That will never work!

I remember at times being hung up on which moves in various martial arts “just wouldn’t work.” This is actually a pretty common discussion from all corners of the martial arts world, and it is pretty much always a variation of the, “my style is better than yours,” discussion.
I recall practicing a technique in college in which badguy does a rear bearhug, defender bends over, reaches between his legs and grabs the attacker’s ankle, then sits back onto the attacker’s knee. “That’s stupid. That would never work,” was our analysis. As fate would have it, one of the 115-pound girls from our class was grabbed from behind on the beach during spring break and she sat back and busted the guy’s ass just as she had been taught. He got up and grabbed her again later and she, without analyzing the probabilities or consequences, sat back on his knee and busted his ass with the same technique a second time. His buddies laughed him off the beach.
A lot of folks like to discount all of aikido or even parts of Shotokan this way. At times, my buddies and I have subjected taekwando’s jump-spinning and flying kicks to this sort of analysis, but my personal favorite was a throw into an armbar in hapkido. We called this the “jump-spinning crotchlock” and we were sure this was the stupidest move ever conceived. Well, I still have some (probably untestable) ideas about the weaknesses of the jump-spinning crotchlock, but check this video out. It's not exactly the same as the hapkido jump spinning crotchlock but it definitely belongs to the same class of things. Whoda thunkit.


  1. Flying armbar, actually a very viable technique, and like most similar techniques, depends on the initial grip or opening that's created. Great find.

  2. You should look up some of Shinya Aoki's matches. Some of the submissions he pulls off seem impossible on paper.

  3. shomenate that, lol.


  4. Rare athletes/martial artists with the athleticism to make that work, but they're out there. A young man that I train with works on many variations of flying armbars and flying triangles. They're not something I would ever attempt! :)

  5. Excellent post!

    One thing that I think martial artists sometimes forget is that many of these techniques work really well against someone with no training in fighting.

    Sometimes I still play the "my art is better than your art" game but really work hard not to. We should be critical of our own arts and others to understand where they are the weakest. But all have useful techniques depending on your goals and philosophical outlook, etc. The are also all related to a certain extent.

    On tko's jumping and flying kicks: When I got back into tko for the second time I had just come off Wing Chun. I also had a boxing background and ppct skills that learned when I was with the dept. of corrections. Sabum new I was skeptical so had me spar with him using whatever techniques I could. I tagged him once with a jab. After that he knocked me on my butt so many different ways that I finally gave up. Wing Chun was shut down because he stayed at range. Boxing was ok but again he controlled my range. His judo and hapkido was better than my ppct so grappling was out. One of his signature moves is the spinning side kick and jump spinning side kick. I can personally attest to the fact that both work really well against a charger who has no experience defending against them. He also knocked my head gear sideways and me on the ground several times with a high outside crescent and spinning hook kick--both to my blind side depending on my stance.

    I can also say that Wing Chun blocks failed half the time. (to be fair I am not a WC master) That was the night I decided that tko had some skills to teach me that I was weak in. (kicking, high kicks, and long to medium sparring range)

    Funny thing but while he waits for his next dan in tko he's now studying Aikido and really likes it. It's teaching him things that tko is deficient in. But he has commented that it is also weak in certain areas--most notably kicks and strikes.



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