Fighting Back On The Ground: The Entangling Armlock
By Eric Joseph
Editor’s Note: FightingArts.com is pleased to be
able to offer this first in a series of articles on ground technique
by Eric Joseph. Although somewhat diminutive in size, Joseph is one of
the most daunting grapplers I have known, a person who combines tactical
knowledge, superb technique and lightening fast speed. Thanks also go
out to Mike Hawley, another fine judo-ka and superb aikido-ka, who assisted.
If you are not versed in ground fighting, you can easily find yourself
at a disadvantage, even endangered, against a skilled opponent if you
should go to the ground. Learning some basic ground techniques will round
out your skills and make you better prepared.
This armlock is one practice by practitioners of Judo, jujutsu, and
many who wrestle. Learning how to execute it is important, not only
as a tool you might use if taken to the ground during a confrontation,
but also to teach you what to look for so you won’t find yourself
in the unfortunate situation of having someone execute it on you. This
technique in judo is classified as a kensetsu waza (against the joint
technique) and is known as ude-garami.
In the photos below the opponent enters between the defender’s
legs, but the technique can also be executed from a variety of positions,
such as when the defender is on the bottom, or on top, anywhere the
two combatants end up on the ground face to face, or across each other,
Your opponent is coming at you between your legs.
Grab your opponent’s right wrist with your left hand.
Pull your opponent close. With your right arm reach over your
opponent’s left arm and grab your own wrist. Force your opponent’s
arm backward so it is bent at right angles.
A close up of the armlock grip.
Squeeze your knees to control your opponent’s body as you
lie back (careful to maintain the 90 degree angle of your opponent’s
Lift your opponent’s wrist to execute the lock. This
can be very painful and dangerous, so be very careful not to
Defense (defeating this armlock)
The best defense against this bent arm lock is to grab your own belt
or uniform (or clothes) before the lock is in place so your wrist and
arm can not be leveraged backward.
A natural reaction (a defense seen in some judo books) is to try to
thwart the lock (before it is completed) by grabbling your own right
wrist with you left hand and pushing your arm outward (straight). I
would not recommend this defensive, however. By straightening your
arm you become vulnerable to a straight arm lock (if your opponent
was knowledgeable enough to try the first bent elbow armlock he will
probably also know the straight arm lock).
Law Enforcement Note: While this is not recommended as a handcuffing
technique, if you are in law enforcement and you find yourself in this
unfortunate situation (grappling on the ground), notice that the attacker’s
arm and wrist is controlled and positioned to the rear where it can
be handcuffed by another assisting person. The person is also stabilized
and controlled by pain so the other arm can be easily added.
About The Author:
Eric Joseph has been a practitioner of judo since 1971. He is a 5th
Degree Black Belt, USJI, US5F (Kodokan), Certified National Referee,
Certified Kata Instructor, Certified Judo Coach, USA National Masters
Champion and Pan American Games Kata Champion. In Buffalo, NY he is affiliated
with the Kintora Martial Arts Center. He also teaches aikido at Bill
Adam’s Martial Arts and Fitness Center in Elma, NY. Other experience
includes Danzan ryu jujutsu.