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Dealing with the Dead Lock

Before You're Dead!



You swing the stick in and he snatches it out of the air, like a cat snagging a bird in flight.  Then comes his power swing, big, strong and fast, and your stick is trapped.  You shift in toward and catch his stick.  It stings, but you have it.


Now you two dance.  How do you get of this very common situation with your stick and skull intact? 


This is a Dead Lock, it happens often.  The more matches you are in, stick or knife, the more you see it.  Who does it go to and how do you resolve it.


In a dead lock, both people have roughly an equal position.  Like in the example, both control the other personís stick while controlling his own.  Given this equal situation, the person that will win in the situation continues will be the strongest and most energized person.  If you are weaker or tired, the other person will eventually win.  The reasonóthe deadlock is an energy burn.  A bigger person can bring more force to bear and so burns his opponentís energy more quickly.  A person with more stamina can resist the deadlock longer.


How do you resolve this?  Well, if you are stronger and have more stamina, you really donít have to do much more than struggle.  You will eventually wear out your opponent and either gain control of his weapon and yours or your opponent will escape and be too tired to mount a defense from your onslaught.


If youíre not the bigger, refreshed person then wellÖyou have trapping.


Traps in all arts are poorly understood, mostly because traps arenít locks and people canít really see the use of them.  They are treated as a little bit of useless artistry-a kind of elegant but unnecessary step that is practiced by people wanting to mess around.


Traps, however, work well at breaking dead locks.  Letís take a simple trap.  The arm pit trap.  You are caught in our example, you and your opponent have grabbed each others sticks.


Letís assume you are both right handed, so you can follow the procedure.


Using your left hand, insert your opponentís weapon into your armpit.  Clamp your arm tightly against your chest.  Your opponentís stick should now be trapped.  Release your grabbing hand.



What do you have?

  1. A Free Hand.
  2. Contact on both of the sticks.
  3. The opportunity to strike.
  4. The opportunity to release your weapon from his control.


The dead lock is definitely broken.  Keep in mind that this is a trap and not a lock.  He will be able to break free from the trap, and you will need to make a decision about what you are going to do quickly.


Good Hunting!


Guro Mikel Steenrod