Wrist Grab and Hit Choice

Wrist Grab and Hit Choice

You see this move in action movies all of the time. In fact, it has reared its ugly head so often recently, that I wonder if the martial choreographers in Hollywood just don’t have a clue.

Warning: We will be contrasting two variations on the move. One is acceptable. The other is not. Give me a chance to prove the logic in this… and help some readers develop a safer way to trap and hit.

I don’t want to talk about getting into the move. If you are interested, just look for the examples that lead to an arm bar. This time, instead of flowing into an arm bar, you’ll follow up with a back fist punch.

Let’s start from where you are actually performing the technique:

Grab and Hit Choice

Your partner extends one of his arms toward you. For this example, let’s assume that your partner’s left arm is extended toward you. (Maybe after a punch???)

You are going to grab his (or her) wrist with one hand, while simultaneously back-fisting his face with your other hand. But you have a choice: You can grab the inside of the wrist with your right hand and back fist with your left fist, or you can grab the back of his hand with your left hand and back fist with your right fist.

Basically, the two moves are the same… just mirror images of each other.

So, which is good and which is bad?

Which Wrist-Grab Orientation is Bad?

Which move keeps you in a safer position and which puts you at risk?

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Which move do the movie choreographers seem to know, and which variation are they unaware of?

The key to finding the correct answer to all of those questions lies in your opponent’s free hand.

When you grab the inside of your opponent’s wrist, in this case with your right hand, you put yourself in danger. Your opponent’s right fist is in the perfect position to tag you with a solid hit.

On the other hand, if you grab to the outside, your opponent can’t reach you with his free hand. It’s awkward to try to cross over or under the other arm.

You are in a much safer position, when you check on the back of the wrist as you back-fist punch with the other hand.

Bad Movie Martial Arts

Unfortunately, for them, the movie choreographers have their actors check to the inside more often than not, which could expose them to the right fist… uh… if the Hollywood guys knew to follow up with that natural hit. (Ah, my kingdom for… a little more Hollywood efficiency, which is closer to “my” reality.)

What does all of this mean?

Well, if you are studying a Bruce Lee philosophy, then you’d make every effort to eliminate moves from your style where by checking, you expose yourself instantly to your opponent’s “other” weapon.

Are you wondering what happens if you accidentally check to the inside?

What If You Accidentally Grab to The Inside?

My answer is… don’t. Eliminate it from your repertoire. But if you absolutely have to, then there “are” ways to control by hitting, as you pass yourself back to an outside position (relative to your opponent’s extended arm).

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Still, better not to put a blind side to his right fist in the first place.

And if your thinking is fossilized enough that you are still defending putting your face into the line of your opponent’s free fist, then…