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The Force Continuum
Part 4: Control Moves.
Joint locks and manipulations are great techniques to use when some force is necessary but you don't really want to hurt the other person.


 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Introduction
• Part 2: Body Movement
• Part 3: Communication
• Part 4: Control Moves
• Part 5: Less-than-lethal Weapons
• Part 6: Impact Moves
• Part 7: Lethal Weapons
• Part 8: Summary
 Join the Discussion
"If I just want to punish them and not break anything, I like to fold them up and make them scream with a joint lock or leg lock."
 Related Resources
• Color Codes for Combat Readiness
• Martial Arts: Aikido
• Martial Arts: Weapons
 From Other Guides
• About Law Enforcement
• About Psychology

Come Along with Me

Control moves are one of the best contributions of the martial arts to law and order. In the old days of police work, cops would often have to hit an offender with a billy club or baton to "soften up" the individual prior to arrest. In the 1950s and 1960s, when the joint-locking moves of jujitsu and its related arts aikido and judo became known outside Asia, police officers were given a relatively non-damaging alternative.

Joint manipulation techniques, such as wristlocks and armlocks, are a great force alternative because they themselves can be applied according to a force continuum. You can apply an aikido wristlock with sufficient force to give your opponent pain, but if the person doesn't submit at that point, you can continue to apply force until the move becomes a throw. If your opponent still doesn't submit, you can keep applying force until the wrist breaks. In one move, you have an arsenal that can be applied on your drunken brother-in-law (pain submission), or the mugger armed with a knife (wrist break).

At the pain compliance level, once you release the wristlock, your opponent suffers no lasting damage, other than a soreness that might last a day or so. But against a violent offender, you can carry the move all the way to dislocating the elbow or shoulder, or breaking the wrist.

Often, joint locks can be used in conjunction with lower levels of the force continuum. If you want to move your opponent to another location, a joint manipulation carried to the point of pain compliance, plus verbal instructions (Communication), and moving him off balance (Body Movement), will get your subject to move where you want him. Such "come-along" moves are commonly used by bouncers to evict obnoxious patrons or by police officers prior to handcuffing.

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