When joint locks are done correctly, the opponent will have to submit or risk injury to the joint which is being attacked.
The term joint lock refers to bringing the joint to its maximum range of motion at which point it would be “locked”. Any movement beyond that point will hyperextend or hyperrotate the joint and cause extreme pain and/or injury. That extreme pain will usually cause the person to submit. If a person does not tap when one of these locks is applied, they may suffer torn ligaments, tendons or muscles. In some cases these submissions could cause dislocations or even broken bones.
In the submission wrestling used in MMA there are literally thousands of ways to apply a lock to a joint. There are locks for just about every joint in the body. Most of those locks can be used in mixed martial arts competition. The exception being small joint manipulation, which means you cannot grab individual fingers or toes and apply a lock to them.
The submission grappling techniques used to lock a joint are very specific. It takes a lot of practice to be able to apply them properly. You will need a good coach and good training partners to be able to learn how to get them just right. Luckily there are plenty of good teams with great coaches to be found.
Much care needs to be taken when practicing joint locks. It does not take much force to damage the joints of the body. And once they are damaged they take a long time to heal. So make sure that both you and your partner exercise these submission wrestling techniques with caution.
Ready to start learning some joint locks? Head over to the MMA Submission Holds page.