“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

Teaching Joint Attacks

First, let me define “joint attack”.

I call a “joint attack” any technique designed to destroy, dislocated, or hyperextend a joint. In most other schools, joint attacks are in the category of grappling. In my art, the skill of grappling is a separate skill from the skill of destroying a joint. Allow me to explain how I approach these two related–yet separate skills.

A sudden elbow lock is an example of a joint attack, while the same lock being slowly cranked is what I consider grappling. The difference is that the quick lock would be applied in the midst of fighting while striking. This is not an easy task, and the lock must be employed as quickly as a punch or a kick. In doing this, the fighter must be accurate and his opponent offers little to no resistance, because he is not expecting the attack. The same lock being applied in a grappling situation is done on a resisting opponent who is also grappling with you. In this situation, the opponent knows that you are attempting to apply a lock (or not, but he knows that you are not striking and kicking) and you must force your lock on him. In the joint attack, strength is not an issue as much as timing and accuracy; while in grappling you are relying on sensitivity and timing, yet its own special brand of timing.

When teaching the joint attack, teach the attack in the form of a fist-fight. You may do this as an attack or a counter attack, and the fighters must have several ways to execute the techniques. I recommend practice as a naked attack (that is, simply the attack without a combination) as well as in combination with other techniques. These techniques should be practiced as often as your punches and kicks, and treated with the same respect as your punches and kicks. When I say “respect”, I mean that you do not gloss over the techniques as “now you know it, let’s move on”. When techniques are treated this way–and I believe they are done so in most schools–the fighter never has a firm grasp on these skills as they do their jabs and hooks and frontal kicks. Give the joint attack their own place in training and they will be useful to your students when they need them.

Finally, have a system of using these techniques as a follow-up to an attack. In other words, you will throw an attack to induce a movement by the opponent–and then apply the joint attack based on that response.

I wanted to convey this small bit of advice, without giving too much of my system. I hope you find it useful. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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