3 posts / 0 new
Last post
shotokanman70's picture
Simple one-technique flow drill: Gedan Berai arm lock

This is a really simple drill I use to introduce the arm locking application of gedan berai. The uke is compliant and after each lock is completed he/she stands back up with hands raised. The tori then applies the lock from the other side and so on. The idea is to look for an available arm as is the case when the uke is covering up to protect against a close range attack. The simplicity of the drill allows many repitions from both sides while using footwork required to obtain an advantageous angle.

Wastelander's picture

Nice basic flow drill! We don't generally do it back and forth like that so continuously, but we do something similar while incorporating resistance. I know that this is shown in isolation, rather than in conjunction with the rest of your curriculum, so while I'm going to go into how we do it, I hope you don't take offense thinking that I just assumed you don't do the same :P. I just figured this may give people seeing your video more ideas to play with.

Once you have applied the armbar, your opponent really only has three choices of escape--forward roll, step in under their own arm to grab your legs and work for a takedown, or force the elbow to bend and stand up to strike. Obviously, there can be messy combinations of those things, depending on how the opponent resists, but those are the basic scenarios.

Working from the armbar, if they forward roll, it's fairly easy to transition to some of the karamidi (entangling hands) methods of Okinawan karate, adjusting to a different lock to pin them down. If you notice the roll, you can drop and force them down onto their head. If not, you can follow and change to a twisting lock on the forearm to arrest their movement, and lever their arm across your shin to turn them face down. Of course, you can also just follow and strike, since you have a hold of their wrist, still.

The takedown situation freaks people out, because your opponent can not only do a single-leg or double-leg takedown, but also a kata-guruma (aka "fireman's carry"). Obviously, this takes some level of grappling training to be able to notice the opening for, and pull off, but it's a serious problem. One way to reduce the risk of it happening, to begin with, is to place your legs behind your opponent's legs when working the armbar--especially if you're using your stance to buckle their knees. This reduces their ability to move, and to reach your legs. Aside from that, you'll have to be reactionary. You can shoot the gedan-barai arm down to their neck, and work to scoop up under their arm, like the sukui-uke movement found in Passai and Kusanku. You can also shoot the hikite arm forward into their neck, creating a frame with your forearm, or just immediately scoop underneath their head or arm. In both cases, you'll have to work to keep your legs back and out of reach, as well.

The way your flow drill goes most closely resembles the opponent bending their arm and standing up, and that makes sense because it is the least "trained" response, and therefore the most likely one to deal with in an altercation with an untrained opponent. For that, I personally tend to immediately strike across with the gedan-barai arm, which puts me in something very like the morote-tsuki position of Naihanchi Shodan. If my strike lands, I can continue striking or work for another lock, but if the opponent blocks, then they have essentially given me their arm so I can take it into an armbar on the other side, as you show in your flow drill. In essence, it's the exact same thing you are doing in your drill, just with a strike to provoke the raised arm response that your uke is giving you in the drill.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Beautifully simple! There are a few things I like about training that way:

1 – It’s great for getting a lot of repetitions done fast. Which is important in a busy class with a deep curriculum.

2 – Students stop to think about it and so it contributes towards the “habit” of barring the arm becoming ingrained (i.e. it’s done without conscious thought).

As always, everything has to be part of a wider practise so that the disadvantages of one method of drilling are mitigated / corrected by other methods of drilling. You would not move back and forth like this in a fight … but that’s fine because the drill is not meant to be the replica fight; it’s isolating a given skill. A contextualised drill would use the motion being practised less frequently. We could say this is a technical drill and not a contextualised drill. I too make use of both.

I think you explain your intentions for the drill well in the video, and Noah’s post is really good in how one could contextualise the methods. Thanks both! A high value thread!

All the best,