Grappling hold

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Grappling hold

A grappling hold (commonly referred to simply as a hold; in Japanese referred to as katame-waza, 固め技, "grappling technique") is a grappling, wrestling, judo or other martial arts term for a specific grip that is applied to an opponent. Holds are principally used to control the opponent, and to advance in points or positioning. Holds may be categorized by their function such as clinching, pinning, pain compliance or submission, while others can be classified by their anatomical effect: chokehold, joint-lock or compression lock.

Clinch hold[edit]

Main article: Clinch fighting

A clinch hold (also known as a clinching hold) is a grappling hold which is used in clinch fighting with the purpose of controlling the opponent. In wrestling it is referred to as the Tie-up. The use of a clinch hold results in the clinch. Clinch holds can be used to close in on the opponent, as a precursor to a takedown or throw, or to prevent the opponent from moving away or striking effectively. Typical clinch holds include:

An aikidoka demonstrates a wristlock as a pain compliance technique.

Pain compliance hold[edit]

Main article: Pain compliance

A pain compliance hold (also referred to as a pain compliance technique or sometimes a pain hold) is a grappling hold which uses painful joint lock, compression lock or pressure point technique to control a person or opponent. The mechanism of the techniques is the same of submission holds. However, pain compliance techniques are generally used by law enforcement,[citation needed] and often taught as a self-defense technique in martial arts and combatives.

Frequently used by police and corrections personnel in accordance with an "escalation of force" policy,[citation needed] such techniques presume a rational adversary. Some altered states such as those caused by mental illness, extreme flexibility, psychoactive use,[citation needed] or extreme adrenaline may alter the subject's perception of pain or willingness to submit.

Like other forms of non-lethal force, pain compliance strategies are not perfect and may be abused as a form of torture with plausible deniability. For this reason the use of pain compliance holds is often subject to explicit rules of engagement designed to prevent abuse and avoid conflict escalation.

The north-south position is a type of pinning hold.

Pinning hold[edit]

A pinning hold (also known as a hold down and in Japanese as osaekomi-waza, 押さえ込み技, "pinning technique") is a general grappling hold used in ground fighting which is aimed to subdue by exerting superior control over an opponent and pinning the opponent to the ground. Pinning holds where both the opponent's shoulders touch the ground are considered winning conditions in several combat sports.

An effective pinning hold is a winning condition in many styles of wrestling, and is known as simply a "pin". Pinning holds maintained for 25 seconds are also a winning condition in Judo. Pinning holds are also used in submission wrestling and mixed martial arts, even though the pinning hold itself is not a winning condition. The holds can be used to rest while the opponent tries to escape, to control the opponent while striking, a tactic known as ground and pound, or to control an opponent from striking by pinning them to the ground, also known as lay and pray.

Submission hold[edit]

"Submission hold" redirects here. For the band, see Submission Hold.

A submission hold (colloquially referred to as a "submission") is a combat sports term for a grappling hold which is applied with the purpose of forcing an opponent to submit out of either extreme pain or fear of injury. Submission holds are used primarily in ground fighting and can be separated into constrictions (chokeholds, compression locks, suffocation locks) and manipulations (joint locks, leverages, pain compliance holds). When used, these techniques may cause dislocation, torn ligaments, bone fractures, unconsciousness or even death.

Common combat sports featuring submission holds are:

List of grappling holds[edit]

The same hold may be called by different names in different arts or countries. Some of the more common names for grappling holds in contemporary English include:

Joint locks[edit]

Further information: Joint lock

Joint lock: Any stabilization of one or more joints at their normal extreme range of motion.


Further information: Armlock

Armlock: A general term for joint locks at the elbow or shoulder.


Further information: Leglock

Leglock: A general term for joint locks at the hip, knee or ankle.

Chokeholds and strangles[edit]

Main article: Chokehold

Clinch holds[edit]

Further information: Clinch holds

Compression locks[edit]

Further information: Compression lock

Pain compliance[edit]

Further information: Pain compliance
  • Chin lock: An arm hold on the chin that hurts the chin.

Pinning hold[edit]

Further information: Pinning hold
  • Cradle: Compress opponent in a sit-up position to pin shoulders from side mount.
  • Staple: Using the opponent's clothing to help pin them against a surface.


  • Grapevine: twisting limbs around limbs in a manner similar to a plant vine.
  • Harness: A hold which encircles the torso of an opponent, sometimes diagonally.
  • Headlock: Circling the opponent's head with an arm, especially from the side. Also called a rear Chancery.
  • Hooks: Wrapping the arm or leg around an opponent's limb(s) for greater control.
  • Leg scissors: Causes compressive asphyxia by pressing the chest or abdomen.
  • Scissor: places the opponent between the athlete's legs (like paper to be cut by scissors).
  • Stack: Compress opponent in vertical sit-up position (feet up) to pin their shoulders to mat.

See also[edit]


  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique by Renzo Gracie and Royler Gracie (2001). ISBN 1-931229-08-2
  • Championship Wrestling, Revised Edition. (Annapolis MD: United States Naval Institute, 1950).
  • No Holds Barred Fighting: The Ultimate Guide to Submission Wrestling by Mark Hatmaker with Doug Werner. ISBN 1-884654-17-7
  • Small-Circle Jujitsu by Wally Jay. (Burbank CA: Ohara Publications, 1989).

External links[edit]