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by Keith P. Myers (version 10/07/2001)
I. The Over-The-Shoulder Armbars: 1. Over-The-Shoulder Armbar #1: The Pivot Out You can tell by the number of references that this was a very common technique. Grab his extended Rt forearm with both your hands at the same time, pivot to your Rt (clock-wise) 180 degrees to place his extended Rt elbow across your Lft shoulder. Lift up with your legs as you pull down with your arms to hyperextend his elbow. It is commonly shown as a defense against a straight thrust with the dagger. Counter #1: The Pull Back React quickly before the armbar is set by bending your elbow and stepping back to pull the opponent off balance onto his back. Counter #2: Knee & Pull Back This is a variation of the above counter that comes in handy if you have not reacted soon enough to accomplish the simple Pull Back. Bend your elbow and slap it down with your free hand to keep it from being hyperextended and to drive your elbow into the opponent’s shoulder. At the same time bring your knee up and drive it into his back just above the waist line in order to break his balance and pull him onto his back as before. 2. Over-The-Shoulder Armbar #2: The Pivot In In this variation, do a smaller pivot to your left or counter-clock-wise as you step with your Rt leg between his legs and duck under his extended Rt arm. Hyperextend his arm across your left shoulder and back of the neck. On both of these OTS armbars be sure and keep his elbow pointed to the ground and his hand palm up. 3. Over-The-Shoulder Armbar: In Front This is similar to #1, but rather than pivoting to your Rt to lay his Rt arm across your Lft shoulder, you have pivoted to the Lft and layed his Rt arm across your Rt shoulder. This leaves you in a position vulnerable to a counter. Should you find yourself pivoting in the “wrong” direction, simply step forward, duck under, and do OTS Armbar #2. We’ll assume the CW fechtbuch illustrates this in order to show how easily is it countered. But note that it is the only OTS armbar shown in Georg Passchen’s Ringbuch. Counter #1: The Pull Back (or Choke) This is similar to the Pull Back counter shown for OTS #1. Bend your elbow and turn your arm inward across his chest and step back to pull him off balance to the rear. Passchen’s text says to use the knee in the small of the back (as in Petter’s counter above), though the knee is omitted in the illustration. You will find in doing this one that it is just as easy to wrap your arm around his neck to execute a rear choke as it is to pull him backwards. Counter #2: The Hip Throw Proceed as above, but rather than just stepping straight back and pulling him down, pivot 180 degrees as you hook his neck into the crook of your elbow, hike your hip back to provide lift, and then throw him to the ground. II. The Downward Bent Armbars 1. Downward Bent Armbar #1: The Press Grab his Rt wrist with your Rt hand; pull and twist to roll his arm over; pivot to your Rt as you press against the back of his elbow with your left hand. Becomes a takedown if you step in front of his Rt leg with your left as you pivot and lever him across your leg onto the ground.
2. Downward Bent Armbar #2: The Pull Grab his Rt wrist with your Lft hand; push down and forward as you pass your Rt arm through the crook of his elbow; lift and pull towards you with your Rt while pressing down and out with your Lft to apply leverage across his elbow. Becomes a takedown by stepping in front of his Rt leg with your Lft and levering him across your leg just as above. 3. Downward Bent Armbar #3: The Trap This can either be a follow-on technique to The Press described above so that you free one of your hands, or it can be the primary armbar. From The Press, simply pass his hand behind his back with your Rt and trap his forearm in the crook of your Lft elbow before letting go with your Rt. Bend forward to apply press and leverage across his elbow. As a primary technique, scoop down from above his Rt forearm with your Lft arm and circle your arm back between his arm and chest, grab the back of his arm near the elbow with your Lft hand and sharply lever him forward as you pivot 180 degrees and again trap his forearm in the crook of your elbow. As with the methods above, The Trap can be converted into a takedown by stepping in front and levering him across your leg. III. The Upward Bent Armbars: 1. Upward Bent Armbar #1: The Wrap Grab his Rt wrist from below with your Lft hand as you step forward with either foot and begin to force his arm backwards; reach around from the outside of his arm with your Rt to grab his forearm near your Lft hand; continue your forward momentum to carry him backwards onto his back. 2. Upward Bent Armbar #2: The Forearm Wrap Dei Liberi shows a variation on the Wrap that does not involve grabbing his forearm. This would be a good way to do the Wrap technique if you had a weapon in your hand. Stop his Rt forearm with your Lft forearm as you step in and force his arm up and back; reach behind and grab your own left wrist with your Rt hand and lever him over backwards. 3. Upward Bent Armbar #3: The Elbow Cup Same as before, but rather than reaching all the way around and grabbing his forearm with your Rt hand, catch his elbow in the palm of your Rt hand and lift to apply leverage and force him over backwards. 4. Upward Bent Armbar #4: The Key-Lock This is the one you see in lots of modern-day martial arts, but here it is in the Codex Wallerstein from 500 years back. Grab his Rt wrist from below with your Rt hand as you step forward and begin to force his arm backwards; reach around behind his forearm with your left arm and grab your own Rt forearm to form what is often called the “key-lock” in modern systems; continue your forward momentum to carry him backwards onto his back, or step behind his leg to combine the technique with a rear leg takedown. 5. Upward Bent Armbar #5: The Reverse Key-Lock This one shows up in Dei Liberi’s manual as a variation of the Key-Lock. Grab his Rt wrist with your Lft hand as you step forward, force his arm backwards, and then reach around and behind to grab your own Lft forearm. It ends up being the mirror image of the Key-Lock described above. 6. Upward Bent Armbar #6: From Behind Grab his Lft forearm from below with your Lft hand; pivot to your Lft so that you end up facing the same direction as the opponent; bring your Rt palm against his Lft upper arm from the outside; pull back with your Lft as you press with your Rt to lever his forearm back. Note: Any of the above Upward Bent Armbars (except #6) can be converted into a Rear Leg Takedown simply by stepping with your Rt leg behind his Rt leg and levering him across your leg onto his back.
Counter : The Wrist Block This is a simple, basic counter that comes from Dei Liberi and that will work for any of the Upward Bent Armbars described above. Timing is always the key. Before he has you completely locked and off-balanced, reach up quickly with your free arm and grab your opposite wrist; lean forward and pull your arm downward to break his leverage. This can easily be converted into your own Rear Leg Takedown. IV. The Straight Armbars: 1. Straight Armbar #1: The Come-Along Grab his Rt wrist with your Rt hand and pivot to your Rt to extend his arm across your chest; pass your Lft arm upward from below his arm to grab his forearm with your Lft hand; pull with your Rt as you push out to apply leverage against his arm with your Lft upper arm to direct him where you want him to go. Becomes a throw by shifting your Lft hand up to grab around his upper arm/shoulder; stepping in front of his Rt leg with your Lft; and levering him forward across your leg. 2. Straight Armbar #2: The Chest Press Grab his Rt wrist with your Rt hand and pivot to your Rt to extend his arm across your lower rib cage; pass your Lft arm over his arm from above as you twist his arm with your Rt to force him into a forward bending position; pull with your Rt as you press into his arm with your chest to apply leverage. At this point one can throw both legs out in front so that you drop to the ground in a sitting position to break the attackers elbow. If this one does not come off as planned and the opponent manages to bend his arm, simply flow into an upward bent armbar, downward bent armbar, or rear leg takedown. The same is true of the technique above. 3. Straight Armbar #3: The Shoulder Lock This is a very common move and can be applied as a counter to any technique attempted by the opponent that requires him to put his arm across your shoulder….such as setting up for a thigh lever takedown. You could also apply it from a tie-up position by first popping his arm up onto your shoulder. Regardless, you are facing the opponent and his Rt forearm is across the top of your Lft shoulder; bring your Lft arm up from the outside and throw it across is Rt arm just above his elbow as you pivot to your Rt so that you are both facing the same direction; grab your Lft wrist with your Rt hand and pull downward to bend him forward and hyperextend his elbow and/or lock his shoulder. Easily becomes a takedown by levering him across your Lft leg. Counter #1: The Spin Before he can set the shoulder lock, press his free elbow up and back with your free hand to spin him around and off-balance him backwards. You can pivot and step behind his leg to convert it into a Rear Leg Takedown. Counter #2: Straight Armbar #4/The Hook Stand upright quickly and shoot your trapped arm down and inward to perform The Hook. Counter #3: The Back Lever Takedown with Neck Twist Stand upright quickly and use your trapped arm to reach up and grab his nose or chin; step behind him and pull his head back to lever him across your leg as you press against his chest with your free arm. Counter #4: The Rear Scooping Throw This one works if you are unable to stand upright quickly in order to execute one of the counters noted above. Grab his leg from behind with your free arm as you shift your weight back and pull backwards against his shoulder with your trapped arm. Lift his leg as you pull back with your trapped arm and stand upright to throw him over onto his back. 4. Straight Armbar #4: The Hook Pass your Lft arm over the opponent’s extended Rt arm as you step in. Circle your arm behind his and then hook forward as you pivot 180 degrees to trap his extended arm against your back. This can be applied with a lot of force that would severely damage his elbow joint. It works well as a counter to the Shoulder Lock, as described above. It can also be applied readily from several of the tie-up positions that are described in another section of this manual. You can be deep with leverage across his elbow, or relatively shallow with leverage across his wrist.
Counter: The Shoulder Lock Not explicitly shown in the fechtbuchs, but obviously if he can use a Hook to counter your Shoulder Lock, you can use a Shoulder Lock to counter his Hook. Its all a matter of timing and who has the leverage. 5. Straight Armbar #5: The Lock-Out This is very similar to Downward Bent Armbar #1/The Press, and set up much the same way. The only difference is that you press directly downward on his elbow in order to lock his arm out completely into a straight armbar. The Press and The Lock-Out can flow back and forth as the opponent tries to free himself…..you can apply The Lock-Out….he struggles and manages to bend his elbow to escape the pain….and you flow directly into The Press. From The Lock-Out, you can shift your weight into the opponent as you press your forearm into his upper arm to drive him off-balance to the side. Let him go and he will collapse to the ground and you can turn to face the next opponent. V. Miscellaneous Arm Traps: 1. Between-The-Legs Armtrap: From an Arm Drag turn the opponent so that he is facing away from you; pass his arm down; reach from behind with your other hand and grab his arm from between his legs; quickly reach up and grab him behind the neck with your other hand; direct him where you want him to go! You could now ram his head into a wall if you wanted to. 2. Inward Wrist Torque: Catch his Rt wrist from below with your left hand and twist down and inward to wrench his arm.
Counter: The Spin Spin counter-clockwise with his motion circling 360 degrees and apply your own Upward Bent Armbar. 3. Double Shoulder Hold/Full Nelson: Guess what! Charles Nelson didn’t invent this! This is a technique common in modern-day self-defense courses that dates back to Talhoffer circa 1459. It is the classic hold we all learned as kids horsing around with our buddies or siblings. Pass both your arms beneath each of the opponent’s arms from below and behind; clasp your hands across the back of his neck; press with your hands to lever his head down as you pull back with your shoulders to tighten the hold. 4. Single Shoulder Hold/Half Nelson: Same as above but applied to only one of his arms. This one requires bending him forward more to maintain control. 5. Behind-The-Back Double Armtrap: Similar to the Double Shoulder Hold, but the opponent’s arms are down rather than up. From behind hook your arms through both of his; pull your arms together and draw him backwards to off-balance him. The picture also implies its counter: pulling both arms forward as you hike back with your hips to lift the opponent into the air; shift your weight to one side or the other to toss him over your hip to the ground. If he manages to drag you down with him, just land on top of him!
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