From notes on Black Belt Class 10.15.2002
Note 03.24.2011 – These notes present the opening study of the use of the Isshirnyu armbar. It doesn’t try to cover every possible use, or the full range of force multiplier options that might be used. It does however incorporate Oooops study with use study.
Definition: The armbar is not what one would consider the classical use of an arm bar, but the essence of creating the hyper-extension of the arm, elbow and shoulder. The arm bar is applied from the external line of defense, where you’re moving from outside of an attack into the opponent’s centerline.
1. Defenders opening position is standing aware, both hands down at one’s side.
2. Attackers opening position is any sort of grab, strike or combination from the front or the side.
3. Defenders opening consideration, no matter what they stick out, you’re going to use it.
4. Defenders source for the ‘armbar’ movement (several potential sources out of multitudes):
a. Isshinryu Seisan: from the opening left side block, and retract the left hand as you strike with the right.
b. Shorinryu Ananku: from the opening side block, twist both feet to the front corner as you chamber that hand and reverse punch with the other. [the twist of the balls of the feet is extremely important]
c. Ueichi Seisan: where you turn the right open hand over and pull back as your left [palm up] nukite (spear hand) strikes out.
d. Isshinryu Seiunchin: where you turn the right bent wrist open hand block over and pull back as you deliver a left [palm up] nukite (spear hand) strike.
e. Goju Sanchin: concluding ½ to their mawashi uke/uchi/tora guchi, the circular double bock/strike
f. Yang Tai Chi Chaun: Wave Hands Like Clouds section where the hands switch positions at the sides of the motion.
g. Indonesian snake technique: where the use of the pulling hand and the striking forearm are to break the attackers arm
h. Aikido: our opening #1 technique, where the pivot on the balls of the feet to move out of the way and then the 180 degree pivot in the other direction moves the person. This use of pivot is extremely important to sell the full armbar motion.
i. Wu Tai Chi Chaun: its use of the full sole of both feet to pivot (an older Yang method) coincides with the motion needed to sell the arm bar.
j. Tjimande basic drill # 2: essentially is using the same motion.
Not done in the fashion we normally practice the arm bar as in Aikido #2, which uses a different entry and takedown.
Application analysis principle used:
Where a full technique sequence can form one application, and any of the motions mentioned above can each be used in various armbar fashions, using fractal analysis it is the essence of these kata movements, where the one arm pulls back as the other slices across the triceps insertion and that forms the technique for this analysis. Using the full kata motion, is simply one of multitudes of technique conclusions after the armbar is formed.
Physical action created by the technique use;
1. the defender’s rear inner arm rises and deflects the attackers strike towards the attacker’sc enterline, as that arm does so that hand turns over and hooks or grabs.
2. the defender’s lead arm rises and as the deflection/control of the attackers arm takes place with the inner arm. In this it is a force multiplier for the initial deflection of the attackers’ strike. The lead arm them slices across the defenders triceps insertion (where the triceps is attached to the arm immediately behind the elbow) with a forearm rub/slicing or sawing motion.
3. the defender is utilizes a rolling centerline, shifting their center away from the attacking limb as the arms are raised and then shifting their center into the opponents centerline as the armbar is sold. At this point the double ball of the foot pivot can be added for greater effect so the centerline crosses across the line of the attacker’s arm.
4. The attacker can:
a. Have their arm hyper extended to be locked straight down.
b. Be projected in any direction the defender pivots and releases them towards
c. Can have their joints painfully locked to the point of joint damage
d. Can have their arm broken
Movement considerations with the armbar usage:
1. For full self defense it can be accomplished with just roll of the defenders center away from the attack (slightly) and then back into the attack.
2. The use of the lower body to step into or step away from the attack forms tactical considerations, as to how one wishes to control and/or project the attacker from the armbar’s result.
3. In particular, correct use of stepping away, hyper-extends their arm in such a fashion as to facilitate the arm breaking potential for the technique.
Consideration for the controlling arm/hand
As this hand parries and hooks over to pull the attackers limb in to your side, you can either use an open hand hook, or you can grab the attackers arm (at the wrist). In any case you don’t go for the wrist, but rather go for the forearm as the defender’s back hand goes for the middle of the upper arm (both from the outside).
After meeting the attackers limb, alignment of your body helps the arms deflect the attack. Then your arms slide down, the controlling arm/hand hooks over their arm. The hook itself provides a friction lock, and their elbow hyper-extension, their arm against your body as your other arm slices across their arm, alone is enough to control, lock or project.
I advise against turning the hook into a grab (unless you specifically are sure there are no other attackers about). A grab immobilizes your arm. An open hand hook allows you to instantly release and move into an other attacker, but you’ve not sacrificed anything as the open hand hook alone is fully sufficient.
If you do choose to grab for greater control, being able to complete the grab with an eagle claw grab, does create a stronger movement (FYI).
Consideration for the extending forearm
When you consider the Okinawan kata technique, this arm is in the practice of striking, fist or open hand. One thing necessary to make the armbar function, is use the full power of your strike, but instead of hitting with your hand, use that strike as a forearm rub/slice/saw across their triceps insertion.
The harder and faster the greater the effect on the opponent.
And with Isshinryu’s strike/retraction sequence, if correctly timed with the other hand the opponent sticks their hand out, you enter the armbar sequence, your pulling striking motion slams their face on the ground and the strike pullback, locks them down with a reveres armbar motion, fully using the Isshinryu striking potential, coming and going.
Of course if you choose to use less power and not project the opponent, the striking hand retraction still performs a secondary controlling lock for the armbar too.
1. The opponent goes to strike your face with their right jab. [the strike has to be focused through your head, not a jab that stops before your face, otherwise they don’t have the body commitment to use correctly without going out after them.]
a. You slightly shift your centerline off their attacking limb, as you rapidly raise both your hands (this raising motion ought to be enough to deflect their strike.
b. Now you slightly shift your centerline to the right of their centerline, as your right hand hooks over their arm, and pulls back, pressing their arm against your body.
c. Your right arm slices across their triceps insertion.
d. BE CAREFUL, this generates great torque and if the partner isn’t prepared you can put them in a whiplash situation. The faster they attack the faster they go down.
i. Depending on how fast you turn into them and deliver the armbar, ALL of the possibilities exist. Sticking their face in the ground, locking them with the armbar, etc.
2. Practice the same against the attackers left jab.
3. Practice in ERROR, where you make a mistake and go to the inside.
a. There you hook the arm and are slicing across their biceps. This moves them from center, but you don’t have an armbar.
b. Tactical consideration. At this point take your right arm and slice the forearm across their neck at the side. Believe me this will move them back away from your arm.
c. Then pull the right arm back and place it under their right arm, and roll from right to left as you pull down your left and raise it on the outside.
d. This allows you to go into your original armbar, having shifted from internal line of defense with the press across the side of their neck as an opening to move into the external line of defense you choose.
e. Based on tactical consideration that after moving them backwards, you strategically choose to move outside. Otherwise use an interior line of defense/attack as you’ve a perfect opening.
4. Practice in ERROR against the attackers left jab, where you end up on the inside.
5. Practice in ERROR where you raise your arms and your left is outside their attack, and your right is inside their attack.
a. Errors do happen, which is why you need to work on how to handle them.
b. Perhaps you will press inside with your left as your right hand strikes into their elbow joint, bending their arm (with pain)
c. At that time, a knee release will allow you to simply reach out with your right hand and then chamber your right, using the tremendous slicing potential of the chamber to strike into their body as appropriate.
6. Variation of the first example, but instead of projecting them, when they bend over, allow your left hand to strike into their face, or alternatively palm into the side of their face, around the eye.
Caution – Begin slow and work to slowly increase speed and power in both the attacks and the defense. Understand what your partner can take and don’t exceed their safety into damage.