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The Devil’s Submission: Wrist Locks
Wrist locks are perhaps the most ignored submission option in Jiu jitsu right now. Why? Similar to how leg locks were historically viewed as a “dirty move” for a long time, wrist locks have a similar reputation. Thus, they were rarely taught in mainstream Jiu Jitsu.
On a practical level, attacks on the wrist tend to come on suddenly, so if a student is unaware of the threat they may not be prepared to tap in time. This doesn’t mean that wrist locks are an invalid strategy, just that some education and caution when applying one is needed in the gym.
All of that being said, opportunities to go after the wrist are everywhere. Below, Pete the Greek shows off dozens of wrist locks in a few minutes:
Pete “the Greek” Letsos is a Carlson Gracie Jr. black belt, who has travel in trained in Brazil during his jiujitsu journey, and trained with great names in the sport like BJ Penn.
Wrist Locks for Closed Guard
Starting with a two on one grip, one hand on the elbow and the other gripping the wrist. Pete uses this grip to drag the arm across the body, for a standard back take. Wise opponents try to bury their elbow against his hip to help their arm in place.
Wrist Lock The WORLD!
For a wrist lock to work, the elbow above it needs to be secured. With the opponent doing this for him, Pete just holds the elbow in place, and starts pushing against the back of the hand, fingertips towards the forearm.
If his opponent brings his other hand into defend, trying to strip Pete’s hand off his wrist. This is fine for Pete, as he brings left arm into the crook of their elbow, and holding it in place and acting as a wedge, as he pushes back against their grip on his hand. This turns into a second wrist lock.
Wrist Locks from Mount
If the arms are outside of his legs, Pete goes straight for a wrist lock that looks very similar to applying an americana, but with his outside arm positioned under the wrist instead of the elbow. His leg prevents the elbow from moving freely, unable to relieve the torque on the wrist.
When the opponent starts box framing to escape, they immobilize their own elbow. It is a simple matter for Pete to grab the hand and start bending it backwards to break the wrist.
In the third scenario, Pete takes a technical mount like he would if he was setting up for an armbar. He pins the elbow to his chest and curls the wrist down and in.
Wrist Locks from Side Control
In a modified Kesa gatame with a gift wrap instead just wrapping around the head, Pete shows options for both arms. The first one, his partner tries to pull their arm free to, he folds the wrist with his armpit and pulls on the elbow.
In the second if they are able to start clearing the gift wrap, he puts his chest behind their elbow and pulls in against their wrist. IF his body weight on top of them, they can’t move to escape quickly and have to tap.
Wrist Locks when Passing
When dealing with closed guard, when the passer steps his foot up, the guard player usually will try and underhook their leg. Pete takes this opportunity and sits on the hand, trapping it between his calf and thigh. The he reaches back and starts to torque the wrist. With all of his body weight sitting on it, his opponent can’t just pull their arm free.
Wrist locks are submission that is overlooked, but available everywhere. And even if the initial lock does work, it is a low risk attack that will provoke a reaction from your opponent. Like a combination thrown in boxing, the first attack sets up the next one until winning move lands. A legal submission for blue belts and up in most tournament organizations, and their surprise factor might be enough to win you the match.
Wrist Lock The World by Pete The Greek Letsos is a MASTERCLASS in Wrist Locks. As it turns out this brutal little gem comes from EVERYWHERE. Pete The Greek covers wrist locks from the standing position, closed guard, and even while in a STRANGLE HOLD. Add Wrist Lock The World to your studies! Your Friends might regret it, but YOU WON’T!