There are many situations a wrist grab occurs. Domestic violence is a major one. Usually, the goal is to control, take, or detain the individual. It is also important to note that there are many different ways to handle someone grabbing you by the wrist. In Krav Maga, we compartmentalize them into, what we call, soft solutions and hard solutions.
A hard solution is one that involves counter attacks and is very violent in its nature.
A soft solution is one that can break you free but also does not escalate the situation.
Why would you not want to escalate the situation if someone grabs you? Well, if we leave our ego out of it we can realize that we do not want to fight everyone. Perhaps we are outmatched and the person is larger and stronger. Perhaps it is a co-worker that had one too many drinks and you do not want to get fired. It doesn’t take long to come up with reasons why we, at times, want to take a more subtle route. In addition to that, anyone who willingly wants to escalate things and does not see a problem with it probably has never really been in a complicated situation that real life offers. Like anything else in self-defense, we want to de-escalate until the very last minute. Once all attempts to avoid violence have been made the, by all means, be violent.
The weakest point of our grip is the thumb. The majority of wrist release mistakes come from immediately pulling back as the person grabs you. This does nothing to their grip. A stronger opponent wins every time. With a little presence of mind, you can maneuver your wrist for leverage against their thumb and break free. The same concept applies when disarming a weapon as well. Leverage is king.
In this particular wrist grab, we chose to demonstrate the first thing you need to do is pick one hand to break free first. Pull your elbow into your “love handle” area. If this is done correctly your thumb will be facing behind you, and your palm facing up. There are a couple technique nuances that we can discuss in class to help ensure success.
After freeing the first wrist, pivot quickly around to the outside of the opponents remaining arm (the one that has your other wrist). As you pivot your fingers will point up and you will turn your palm to their arm all while they still have your wrist. You can then shuck their hand off your wrist by “chopping” down toward their waist. For extra assistance, you may bring your free hand to their elbow and push their whole arm away. All of this can be seen in the video. Then disengage and scan for other threats.