Learn How They’re Done and Why They’re So Ef­fec­tive — With. In­put From For­mer UFC Ring­side Physi­cian Dr. Joseph Est­wanik!

Black Belt - - SCREEN SHOTS - By An­drew Zer­ling Cour­tesy Pho­tos of ac­n­j­

Dur­ing a match, a young grap­pler thinks he’s safely pass­ing his op­po­nent’s guard to get to a bet­ter po­si­tion. Then he feels an in­tense pain in his bent arm — like his mus­cles are about to ex­plode. He’s forced to tap out even though he doesn’t know what just hap­pened.

The grap­pler learns that he was caught in a bi­ceps slicer. Many un­wary mar­tial artists have been lured into pass­ing their op­po­nent’s guard only to be caught with this move. The bi­ceps slicer be­longs to the fam­ily of sub­mis­sion tech­niques known as com­pres­sion locks. Also called mus­cle locks, mus­cle slicers and mus­cle crush­ers, this cat­e­gory is com­posed of dev­as­tat­ing holds that in­flict in­tense pain by press­ing soft tis­sue (mus­cle or ten­don) against bone.

In this tu­to­rial, I will dis­cuss three com­pres­sion locks: the Achilles lock, the bi­ceps slicer and the leg slicer. They’re taught in Brazil­ian jiu-jitsu, sambo and catch wrestling, but they’re con­sid­ered un­ortho­dox sub­mis­sion holds and, there­fore, are not used of­ten in train­ing or com­pe­ti­tion. For that rea­son, the ap­pli­ca­tion of any of them is bound to in­cor­po­rate the el­e­ment of sur­prise, which is never a bad thing in a con­test.

ACHILLES LOCK AKA: Achilles Hold, Achilles Squeeze

TECH DATA: The Achilles lock is prob­a­bly the most com­monly used com­pres­sion lock. It in­duces in­tense pain by press­ing the Achilles ten­don against the lower-leg bone or an­kle. In gen­eral, that hap­pens when you sink the bony part of your fore­arm into your op­po­nent’s Achilles ten­don while us­ing your foot and leg to im­mo­bi­lize him and boost lever­age. When you use the Achilles lock, think of the trapped an­kle like a minia­ture neck that you’re at­tack­ing with a guil­lo­tine choke.

Along with the heel hook and toe­hold, the Achilles lock is a sta­ple of leg-lock spe­cial­ists be­cause of its ef­fec­tive­ness. That makes it a valu­able ad­di­tion to your ar­se­nal.

TRIVIA NOTE: The Achilles lock is de­tailed in The Canon of Judo, by Kyuzo Mi­fune. Called ashi-hishigi in the judo world, it’s cat­e­go­rized as a joint lock (kansetsu waza), but it’s not part of the Kodokan Judo In­sti­tute’s cur­ricu­lum.

BI­CEPS SLICER AKA: Bi­ceps Lock, Bi­ceps Crusher

TECH DATA: The bi­ceps slicer in­duces in­stant agony by driv­ing the bi­ceps mus­cle into the humerus bone, which con­sti­tutes the up­per part of the arm. Ide­ally, it’s ap­plied by in­sert­ing the shin or fore­arm into the gap cre­ated when your op­po­nent’s arm is folded, then press­ing the sharp edge of the bone against his bi­ceps. The trapped arm is com­pressed even more to up the pres­sure on the mus­cle.

The bi­ceps slicer ben­e­fits from the el­e­ment of sur­prise be­cause when they’re faced with the not-yet­com­pleted tech­nique, most mar­tial artists will be pre­oc­cu­pied with pos­si­ble hy­per­ex­ten­sion or hy­per­ro­ta­tion of the arm and thus won’t be ready to de­fend against the com­pres­sion lock. TRIVIA NOTE: If your op­po­nent be­lieves he’s per­cep­tive enough to de­tect and then re­sist an arm hy­per­ex­ten­sion, you can bend the limb into po­si­tion for a bi­ceps slicer in a heart­beat. Con­versely, if he fights against your bi­ceps slicer, you can tran­si­tion to an arm lock that goes with the flow as he re­sists.

LEG SLICER AKA: Calf Slicer, Thigh Crusher

TECH DATA: The leg slicer causes its in­cred­i­ble hurt by crush­ing the calf and/or thigh into the bones of the leg. Ide­ally, you fold your foe’s leg and insert your shin or fore­arm into the gap while po­si­tion­ing the bony edge of your limb against the mus­cle. Com­press the bent leg a bit more and you’ll cre­ate great pres­sure on the leg mus­cles as they get squeezed be­tween the leg bones. As with the afore­men­tioned tech­niques, the leg slicer can take ad­van­tage of the el­e­ment of sur­prise be­cause dur­ing the lead-up, most mar­tial artists will be con­cerned with avoid­ing hy­per­ex­ten­sion or hy­per-ro­ta­tion of their leg.

TRIVIA NOTE: If your op­po­nent is sharp enough to re­sist what he thinks is an im­pend­ing hy­per­ex­ten­sion of the leg (such as a knee­bar), you can bend his leg into a leg slicer. And if he fights what he thinks will be a leg slicer, you can tran­si­tion to a knee­bar.

An­drew Zer­ling be­gins in­side his op­po­nent’s open guard. His left knee is raised to keep the man from clos­ing his legs, his right arm is over­hook­ing the left calf and his left hand is con­trol­ling the right knee (1). Zer­ling posts with his left arm and falls onto his side (2). He wraps his right leg around the op­po­nent’s hip and pinches his legs to­gether to con­trol the trapped leg while us­ing his left hand to push away the man’s right foot (3). Zer­ling slips his right foot un­der the op­po­nent’s right knee while main­tain­ing his hold on the lower leg (4). He locks his feet to­gether to tighten the hold, which pre­vents the man from sit­ting up or rolling out (5). Fi­nally, he uses a ball-and­socket grip to ap­ply the Achilles lock (6).

The grap­pler at­tempts an arm lock, but his op­po­nent clasps his hands to de­fend against it (1). The mar­tial artist bases out with his left hand and turns his body coun­ter­clock­wise so he can swing his right leg over the man’s right wrist (2). Next, he tri­an­gles his legs and joins his hands us­ing a ball-and-socket grip. By lift­ing his hips while pulling and twist­ing his right wrist clock­wise, he ef­fects the bi­ceps slicer (3). Close-up of the hand be­ing wedged into the joint

(4). If the ad­ver­sary man­ages to es­cape the com­pres­sion lock, the grap­pler can tran­si­tion to an arm­bar (5).

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