An armbar being used by a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.

A joint lock is a grappling technique involving manipulation of the joints as to cause them to reach their maximum extent of motion. Martial arts which use joint locks include Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Hapkido, and Aikido.

Common joint locks[edit | edit source]

Armlocks[edit | edit source]

  • Armbar An elbow lock which hyper-extends the elbow. The most common version involves squeezing the opponent's arm between the thighs and pushing the hips forward.
  • Americana or Ude-garami While pinning down the opponent, the practitioner grabs the wrist of the opponent with the same side hand (i.e. the right hand is used to grab the opponents right hand). The arm of the opponent is bent at a right angle with the palm facing up. The practitioner then grabs his own wrist with his opposite hand (known as a figure-four), pushes the opponent's elbow towards his body, and elevates the elbow and forearm. The technique causes flexion to the shoulder joint.
  • Kimura or Gyaku ude-garami Similar to the Americana, except the arm of the opponent is above his wrist. The practitioner uses the same figure-four hold, this time to extend the shoulder. A variant of this lock is the omoplata, which is applied using the leg.
  • Hammerlock The hand is held behind the opponent's back and is forced upwards towards the neck, applying pressure on the shoulder.
  • Small joint manipulation These locks manipulate either the fingers or toes.

Wristlocks[edit | edit source]

  • Hyperflexing wristlock The wrist is hyperflexed by forcing the palm towards the inside of the forearm.
  • Hyperextending wristlock The wrist is hyperextended by forcing the back of the hand towards the outside of the forearm. On its own, this lock is not very effective, so it is often combined with a fingerlock or rotational wristlock.
  • Pronating wristlock The wrist is rotated outwards.
  • Supinating wristlock The wrist is rotated inwards.
  • Adductive wristlock Forces the wrist into ulnar deviation by pressing the outside edge of the hand (opposite to the thumb side) towards the forearm.

Leglocks[edit | edit source]

  • Kneebar Similar to an armbar, except hyperextending the knee. The leg is trapped between the thighs and pressure is applied with the hips.
  • Heel hook There are many variations of this lock. One of the most common, called the inside heel hook, involves trapping the toes in the armpit, grasping the heel in the crook of the elbow, and twisting, applying pressure on the ligaments of the knee.
  • Straight ankle lock The most common version involves using the legs to trap the opponent's leg, placing the opponent's foot in the armpit, then using the forearm to apply pressure to the Achilles tendon, hyperflexing the ankle. Also serves as a compression lock.
  • Figure-four toe hold One hand grabs the opponent's toes, while the other hand reaches underneath the leg and grabs the opposing wrist. It is then twisted, hyperrotating it.
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