Got Wrist Locks?

Many UFC fans don’t really think of wrist locks when they think of BJJ. RNCs, arm bars, and triangles, sure! But we seldom see a wrist lock attempt.

Perhaps when you think of wrist locks you picture a grainy black and white footage of Carlos and Helio Gracie performing self-defense techniques.

Modern sport BJJ does have wrist locks, and in the hands (yes, pun intended) of a skilled practitioner, they can be a real submission threat.

Claudio Calasans is known for his wrist locks at a high level of competition. One black belt simplified the use of wrist locks in BJJ by saying, “At the end of every arm lock or Kimura is a wrist locks waiting.” We see wrist locks being used to break a stalled, straight arm lock attack.

Calasans BJJ – Wrist Lock Back

Many BJJ students who originated in a traditional martial arts background like Aikido or classical Japanese ju-jitsu will have some experience using wrist locks and can try to incorporate them into their BJJ.

Keenan Cornelius Shows Wrist Lock From Side Control

A quick YouTube search will reveal a wealth of wrist locking opportunities in all positions in BJJ. Yes, I have been wrist locked while I had the rear mount of a training partner and was trying to choke!

There is a note of caution, however, when it comes to using wrist locks in training. By their nature, wrist locks are difficult to apply in a slow manner. Opponents can easily twist their wrist out of the lock when they detect the threat. Therefore, many wrist locks must be applied with some speed and surprise to be effective.

However, when a submission is applied fast, it may leave little time for the opponent to tap and avoid injury. I have witnessed more than one roll end with a yelp and one of the students holding a painfully twisted wrist.

I personally was involved in a training mishap where I was applying the “cow hand” wrist on a training partner in side control. I was able to apply the lock slowly and evenly until we heard a “crack!” and a sharp, sudden pain in the wrist of my partner. I felt terrible when I learned that he would require surgery and a cast for two months.

Since then, I have avoided using wrist locks out of fear of injuring another partner.

If you are planning use wrist locks in your BJJ, please take care of your training partners and avoid injury!

Read also on Jiu-Jitsu Times: Injuries : An Ounce Of Prevention


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