The Maim versus the Kill in Grappling


I often think of joint locks as the maim whereas the choke is the kill!  The choke is the finality… there is nothing beyond the choke.  The joint lock is the maim in the sense that yes it hurts and can cause devastating injury… but it’s still not the choke.  I love the decisiveness of the choke.  It’s both clean and complete.  In the wild the Cheetah is the fastest land animal reaching speeds up to 65 – 70 mph.  But whats impressive to me is how the Cheetah makes its kill.  Once the Cheetah rapidly closes in on its prey they will swipe out the hind legs (think takedown – injury, maim) and bite the neck with its powerful jaw (think choke – death, finality).  They maim in order to kill.  That’s a powerful concept for Jiu-Jitsu.  In my new instructional the Headhunter the tagline on the DVD cover is “Go for the kill!” denoting the concept in the instructional of always going for the choke.  (the entire Headhunter system is about chokes)

Headhunter DVD Case 1

But the idea of “going for the kill” goes much deeper.  To me going for the kills stands as a powerful metaphor for finishing what you started…completing the goal.  You start to finish.  In the reality of grappling you don’t start a match to sit on someone or just hold them in your guard.  Jiu-Jitsu is a game of advancing position in search of a final outcome – a submission!  When I say that joint locks are a maim that doe not lesson their effectiveness or vitality to the game of grappling.  They certainly offer a positive ending in the form of a tap.  In fact, join locks tend to be the most dangerous submission to not tap too.  It’s not clean like a good choke where you simply “doze off”.  A tight shoulder, arm or leg lock has the potential to cause serious harm.  In the reality of a street fight a joint lock may not end an altercation whereas a choke can have a lethal outcome.  So for the streets I prefer the choke over a lock.  But in day to day grappling a joint lock will definitely secure a tap  (anyone who doesn’t tap to a joint lock won’t last long on the mats).  But if we delve deeper into this concept we find that both joint locks and chokes are like brothers and sisters.  Where you find one… the other is nearby.  In the case of an failed arm bar you’ll always find a choke close by.  The triangle / omoplata attack is a perfect example.  If you fail on a triangle you can always find an arm bar or omoplata and vice versa.  It always works that way from every position (play with this concept it will blow your mind and advance your game).  So sometimes we have to go for the maim in order to make the kill.  Remember we said that going for the kill was a metaphor for the choke… but really it’s a lesson for on and off the mats.  We start to finish… to complete the goal.

What have you made worth finishing on your life?  Have you set a goal to become a black belt?   Where do you want to take your training?  Have you made you THE most worthy outcome… a masterpiece worth completing. 

Happy training Ninjas!  Be sure to check out my new instructional the HeadHunter where we really dive deep into this amazing concept.  Click here for more info 


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