Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Self Defense - Sankyo

Sankyo technique against a cross hand grab

s any uke (receiver of a technique) knows, each technique in Jiu Jitsu comes with its own, unique quality of pain.

A good hip throw not only makes you believe that the world no longer has an up and a down…the impact when you fall literally buries you in the mat.  Finger locks (yubi waza) raise a kind of pain I can only describe as miserable, and inescapable. Wherever you try to turn for relief, the pain follows you.

And the experience is embarrassing. How can a technique so small, so minimal, have so much control over a large, muscular, well-trained body?

Sankyo, a type of hand/wrist lock, falls into the category of “sharp pain moves on to grinding pain moves on to a total feeling of helplessness type of pain”.

When I began my Jiu Jitsu training, I watched my teacher Shihan Ron Forrester often demonstrate this on my senior, Sensei Bruce Stanton. Stanton, well used to the receiving end of this technique, nevertheless was still saturated with pain.

(Most of the beginners, including me, drifted to the back of the class whenever Shihan Forrester was looking for someone on whom to demonstrate sankyo!)

I’m not quite sure how to rank the sankyo lock as far as degree of difficulty is concerned. Numerous variations exist, in fact when we were shooting the photos for this post, one of my other Black Belts showed us his own variation he uses in law enforcement. The degree of control he had over his uke with his own variation was profound.

Today’s demonstrator, Sensei Jessye Nielsen is using a very basic variation against her uke, Andrew Nickle.  Nielsen, a university student, has been my student from the age of 5. Her Jiu Jitsu techniques can literally jar tall, powerful male practitioners out of position, making them cringe with helplessness.

Grasp his right wrist with your left hand

1.   The attacker grasps your right wrist with his right hand.

2.   Grasp his right wrist with your left hand (thumb on top) while kicking him in the knee or groin with your right leg.

With your right elbow close to your body, roll your hand away

3.   Maintaining your grip, roll your right hand out of his grasp. Please make sure to keep your elbow close to your abdomen for support.

Grasp his hand with your right hand

 4.   The escaped hand now grasps his right hand.

Perform a right elbow strike as you step in

5.   With both of your hands firmly on his right hand and wrist, step toward his right shoulder with your right leg.  Twist his hand and wrist in a counter-clockwise direction while lifting his forearm up. His entire arm, from the elbow to the tips of his fingers, is perpendicular to the floor. Perform a right elbow strike as you step in.

The final position of the sankyo lock

6.   Step under his arm. Turn to face the same direction as your attack. Stand slightly behind him and at his side. Place your left elbow against his back in order to prevent him from spinning around. Your left elbow maintains a 90 degree angle.  Twist his hand and wrist toward him – then only lift his hand and wrist upwards, jamming his arm.

Even in the final part of the technique, you'll see many variations. Some practitioners will forcefully separate the attacker’s fingers; others will bend the fingers up and back; some will add a finger lock on just one finger alone.

Plus there are many throws, takedowns and locks that naturally follow a typical sankyo technique.

If you’re interested in sankyo for self defense, my advice is to start off very slowly. Follow the basic mechanics carefully – and please be careful about how much pressure you place on your practise partner’s hand. Practise in the early stages involves lots of “give and take”, and plenty of cooperation!

Later, you can learn to adapt sankyo to a wide variety of self defense situations.

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