Why You Need Wristlocks in Your Life
If you're like me, the first time you came face to face with an opponent or training partner who utilized a wrist lock, you probably felt a sense of outrage, a feeling of being ripped off, of being cheated. What was this dirty technique that was seemed to come out of nowhere and cause such explicit pain, so quickly that you could not even physically tap? It was probably one of those wily purple belts or grizzled brown belts that caught you in the technique and the you probably thought it was some sort of mistake, like you rolled wrong on your wrist. This person could not have tapped me like that. And you went home in disbelief.
Flash forward a number of years and hundreds, if not thousands of hours of experience, and you're now that wily purple belt or grizzled brown belt who catches all of the newer students with your favorite techniques. Maybe it's time you take a second look at wrist locks and accept the reasons they are crucial for your game.
Wrist locks require almost no strength
Because they are attacking one of the smallest and most fragile joints in the entire body, the amount of pressure or twist necessary to apply a devastating wrist lock is almost nothing. This means wrist locks are a technique for every level and every size competitor. These "giant killing" techniques can be favorably employed by the smallest student in the room on the largest student in the room with no less the devastation.
Wrist locks have a strong element of surprise
A large element of the success of wrist locks is the ability to capitalize on a specific grip the opponent is making, thereby locking themselves to our bodies, allowing us to contort and trap their limbs, creating the necessary pressure to take the wrist in painful directions. The opponent thinks they are effectively using their grips to build posture and the next thing they are know, those grips betray them and lock them into the wrong end of a wrist lock.
Wrist locks are difficult to counter
One the wrists are bent or twisted in the wrong direction, it is very difficult to extricate your limbs and take the pressure off. In most variations of wrist locks, the opponent is using multiple limbs, their torso and even their hips to lock and control the tiny wrist from moving and relieving the pressure. There is simply not enough strength to fight off the submission and buy enough time to escape. One's only chance, in many cases, is to hope that the opponent applying the submission makes a mistake and leaves space that allows the arm to pop free, making the wrist lock impossible.
In the video below, Claudio Calasans shows a powerful americana wrist lock that is guaranteed to have your training partners and opponents terrified to be trapped in your closed guard.
Wrist locks can be some of the most pure jiu jitsu techniques in that they require very little strength and for the most part utilize a great deal of leverage against one of the most sensitive joints on the opponent's body. To learn more about these devastating techniques, check out the BJJ Fanatics article on the topic here!
In the video below, judo Olympian and BJJ black belt phenom Travis Stevens demonstrates a strong wrist lock developed from the opponents four-finger grip on the sleeve. By capitalizing on this seemingly strong grip by the opponent, you will send a message to all comers that there is nowhere in which they are able to let their guards down and feel a sense of security.
For more information on how to begin implementing wrist locks into your gameplan, check out the BJJ Fanatics article on the topic here.
So the next time you're looking for some techniques to begin working, think back to those early days when those wily teammates caught you so easily in those quick, devastating, and impossible to escape wrist locks and if you can't beat them, join them and begin adding wrist locks to your repertoire.
Want to learn wrist locks from any position you can think of from two time judo Olympian and BJJ black belt Travis Stevens? You can get his "Wrist Locks from Everywhere" 2 Volume instructional in convenient On Demand format here.