Black Belt - - SCREEN SHOTS - ABOUT THE AU­THOR: An­drew Zer­ling is a New Jersey–based mar­tial artist and the au­thor of the award-win­ning book Sumo for Mixed Mar­tial Arts: Win­ning Clinches, Take­downs, and Tac­tics (YMAA Pub­li­ca­tion Cen­ter). His web­site is An­drewZer­

Dr. Joseph Est­wanik, M.D., was the ring­side physi­cian dur­ing the early years of the UFC. The ortho­pe­dic sur­geon is the au­thor of Sports Medicine for the Com­bat Arts, which means he knows all about com­pres­sion locks and their med­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions.

What pos­si­ble in­juries are as­so­ci­ated with com­pres­sion locks?

Est­wanik: When the mus­cle or ten­don is forcibly pressed against the bone — as typ­i­cally hap­pens with these locks — if you don’t tap out from the ex­treme pain, var­i­ous de­grees of bruis­ing will oc­cur. Bruis­ing is in­ter­nal bleed­ing that can be seen by dis­col­oration of the skin. Even though there is great pres­sure, the mus­cle or ten­don will not nor­mally sus­tain a com­plete tear or rup­ture from these types of locks; how­ever, other more se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions could oc­cur if the in­jury is more sub­stan­tial.

Col­lat­eral dam­age trans­ferred to the ad­ja­cent or sur­round­ing joints and bones is a great pos­si­bil­ity. Us­ing the Achilles lock, where the foot is of­ten the lever to the lock, dam­age to the mid­foot lig­a­ments and bones could oc­cur. While us­ing the bi­ceps slicer or leg slicer, the el­bow, knee or sur­round­ing bones could be dam­aged, in­clud­ing torn lig­a­ments, dis­lo­ca­tion or bone frac­tures.

What’s the rec­om­mended treat­ment for an in­jury that stems from a com­pres­sion lock?

Est­wanik: Treat­ment varies. For mi­nor in­juries, bruis­ing will oc­cur, so ice — never heat — should be ap­plied to the bruise. Ic­ing a bruise will limit bruis­ing and help the body heal the in­jury. Anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries like Motrin can be taken, as well.

For re­cov­ery from se­vere bruis­ing, per­form non-force­ful pro­gres­sive range-of-mo­tion move­ments so stiff­ness does not oc­cur. More se­ri­ous in­juries, such as to the joints or bones, should be ex­am­ined by a physi­cian. A com­pe­tent physi­cian fa­mil­iar with the mech­a­nisms of in­jury within the mar­tial arts will look com­pletely up and down the chain of the in­jury for other prob­lems.

In­juries to the joints or bones may re­quire surgery and could take many months to heal. Con­sid­er­ing these pos­si­ble out­comes to an in­jury from a com­pres­sion lock, con­trol and safety should def­i­nitely be kept in mind when ap­ply­ing these locks in train­ing.

An­drew Zer­ling is on top in the north­south po­si­tion (1). He leap-frogs the torso of op­po­nent Paul Berger and mo­men­tar­ily lands on his belly, pos­si­bly knock­ing the wind out of him (2). Zer­ling then moves into the re­verse­mount po­si­tion and wraps his right arm around the man’s right leg — which causes him to tri­an­gle his legs to pre­vent a knee­bar

(3). Pre­pared for that de­fense, Zer­ling falls onto his left side and locks his legs around the op­po­nent’s bent leg (4). Close-up: He ap­plies the leg slicer by pulling and twist­ing his right wrist clock­wise and lift­ing his hips (5). Al­though you can’t see it, Zer­ling is us­ing the ball-and­socket grip and has ori­ented his fore­arm so the bone ex­erts max­i­mum pres­sure on the squeezed mus­cles.

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