Using a Body Lock to Gain Control in an Attack

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PDN Contributor and hand-to-hand close-quarters combat instructor Cecil Burch discusses and demonstrates how to use a body lock.

Once we’ve crashed into the bad guy, inflicted some pain and set him back on his heels, we need to take control from him. He started the control by initiating the attack. We take control away from him by establishing a body lock on him from the crash. This is a key concept to master in unarmed self defense.

Demonstrating the Body Lock

Cecil and a training partner show how to establish a body lock. The moves are shown several times, including in close up, and explained in detail, as other PDN hand to hand training videos show. The key points to remember about a body lock are: drive in and open up but keep your elbows in tight to your body. Do not let them move out far from the body. Wrap your hands around his waist, establish a palm-to-palm grip, then bring your elbows back to your body. This pulls him in tight to you. Your spine and head should be vertical. Use your hips to control his posture.

After the Body Lock

What can you and the attacker do once you have him in a body lock? The attacker can’t do much because his posture is broken and he is not fully on both feet. If the attacker has a free arm, he can throw a punch, but it will be all arm and not have much strength behind it. (You can also quickly reach out with one of your arms, control his free arm and prevent the punch.)

On the other hand, you have options: you can dump the attacker on the ground or you can go to another position. The body lock is a good control position.