Basic Karate Grappling and Submission Techniques

Two martial artists grappling towards a submission in a karate bout.

This article contains videos and tips to help you master the basic karate grappling and submission techniques. These karate grappling locks are used to subdue an opponent in a fight. The opponent may give up a fight due to the pain of a karate lock. This applies to both sparring, training and real combat. An opponent may also be unable to fight due to injuries caused by grappling. This only applies to real fights where a lock is used in self-defence. You should never cause real physical injury during training or sparring.


This is a very basic grappling technique. The aim is to force the opponent into submission by putting pressure on their head and neck. Place your arm around their head or neck. They should be trapped in the bend of your arm, between your arm and body. Apply pressure by bringing your forearm closer to your biceps. You may also place the other arm on the back of their head to increase pressure. The headlock is easy to execute and can force an opponent into submission. When grappling be aware that your opponent may use a headlock on you at the same time. Check out the video below from Livestrong.

Top tip: place your body at a right-angle to the opponent’s. This makes it harder for them to strike you while in a lock or submission.

Arm Bar

This grappling technique works very well after throwing. We can use the example of a shoulder throw (click here for more on throwing). Block your opponent’s strike and throw them. After throwing an opponent, deliver a punch or kick. Keep holding onto their arm as you move from sparring to grappling. Place your legs across their chest. Their arm should be between your legs. Bend their arm against the elbow, over your hip. The pressure will eventually break their arm. Be careful not to do so during training.

Top tip: push upwards with your hips to apply added pressure.

Wrist Lock

This is a form of grappling submission which targets the opponent’s wrist. The benefit of this technique is that it can be performed from standing. Stand above your opponent after throwing them. Hold their wrist in the bend of one arm. Use your legs to keep them stationary and on their side. Your hand then folds theirs down. Their palm should move towards them. A grappling submission technique without the need to grapple.

The below video shows the basic mechanics of the wrist lock.

Top tip: keep a tight grip on your opponent’s wrist. Otherwise they might easily slip it out of your hold.

Leg Lock

The mechanics of this submission are simple. This is basic karate grappling after all. You take hold of the opponent’s leg to begin. Your legs and feet go on either side and hold theirs in position. Add pressure as if you are bending the leg against the joint (the way it is not supposed to bend). If you push too hard, their leg will break, so be careful. Below is an image demonstrating the general idea of a leg submission. Why is he doing it the wrong way round? Leg submissions in grappling can be performed either way. Their knee can face towards or away from you. If it faces towards you, hold their leg straight and push the knee with your hips. If the knee faces away, hold it in place with one leg and push their lower leg away.

An MMA fighter holds another in a knee bar submission

I figured a video of middle-aged men grappling in their boxers wouldn’t be appreciated here…

Ankle Lock

This is karate grappling basics, so I will go over the fundamental aspects of an ankle lock. Keep the opponent’s leg static. This means that it cannot move. Rotate or push their foot so that it puts pressure on the ankle. You can bend the foot towards their shin, to the side or rotate it to the left/right.

For our male readers, more attractive demonstrations can be found here: (see below image)

A female MMA fighter

Not a middle-aged man in boxer shorts

More martial arts videos and articles: Basic Kicks, Basic Punches, Basic Throws, Basic Blocks, Top 10 Martial Arts Videos, Top 10 Martial Arts Films

  1. Anna said:


Leave a Reply to negaublog Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Offbeat History

Looking at the past from a different angle.



Slay Your Darlings

A joint writing project and other stories.


Uncovering the past. Embracing the present. Inspiring the future.

Ms. Alderman Writes

Writing my way through life


A topnotch site


An Avid Reader and a Book Hoarder in Denial

Jeff Folslchinsky

Arming the Weapons of Mass Distraction

Writerish Ramblings

A Writer's Journey

Cathleen Townsend

Faerie Tales and Fantasy Worlds

Yvette Carol, Children's Writer

This site is about relating my journey as a writer, a parent, a grandparent, and other bits and pieces

Hannah McCall


jack mesenbourg

A Raconteur's Refuge


Online marketing


Tell the story in your heart.

Snark, Sass, & Sarcasm

Putting a Humorous Twist on the Mundane

%d bloggers like this: