Wrist Locks, Pressure Points and Quick Strikes in Martial Arts


Detailed knowledge of human musculoskeletal structure, function and vulnerability allows martial artists to neutralize attackers using precision and leverage. Methods devised exclusively for self-defense allow a defender to compromise the joints, nerves and soft tissue of an attacker. This allows control of the opponent and activation of an escape strategy.

Manipulating the Wrist for Leverage

  • Manual control of the wrist can allow you to steer the movement of the entire body. The fundamental principle is that the wrist (not the hand) must be manipulated against its natural bending mechanics. When an attacker strikes, a martial artist must gain control of the attacker's arm. Twisting pressure applied to the wrist will force an opponent to compromise his stance in response to tendons and ligaments being bent in ways that are contradictory to their natural motion. The attacker can then be guided to a more vulnerable position and struck to ensure the assault is over or disengaged from if the defender deems that the threat is over.

Maximizing Nerves to Gain Position

  • Manipulating pressure points is an efficient way to subdue an opponent and gain negotiating leverage or optimal counter-striking position. Once you are engaged in close combat, there are numerous places on a perpetrator's body where sensitive nerves are exposed. Effective pressure depends on pinpointing exact targets. For example, if you are wrestling with an opponent, you can focus on pressure points along the jawline, on the face or near the ear, clavicle or rib cage to inflict pain that will stun. You can thereby gain a better angle and position to complete your counter attack or escape safely.

Using Velocity for Assertive Power

  • Quick strikes are designed to send an efficient message to an attacker. Soft tissue -- such as the eyes, throat, solar plexus or groin -- are targeted by rapid blows delivered with maximum velocity and precise aim. This method of counter attacking an assailant uses the combined elements of speed and focus to surprise and inflict pain. A quick fore-knuckle strike to an advancing perpetrator's Adam's apple will send a jolt of pain through the neck while possibly impairing breathing. When the assailant falters, you can escape or strike again to ensure that the threat is gone.

Combining Close Fighting Principles

  • Wrist locks, pressure points and quick strikes are components of self-defense that work well when used in conjunction with one another. A wrist lock that exposes the back of an attacker's arm is well complimented by a quick strike to the pressure point just above the elbow. Similarly, twisting an attacker's wrist past its range of motion can be capitalized upon with a swift blow to the nerve between his nose and upper lip.

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