View Full Version : Sankyo Armlock

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Roy Dean
12-23-2007, 09:57 PM
Hello! I recently posted a technique (http://www.roydeanacademy.com/video/aikido_and_bjj_teaser) from my upcoming DVD, Connections: Aikido and BJJ.

A lower quality version can also be found on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7GfQdB9a8Y).

This technique flows from a wrist grab into kotegaeshi, followed by a kimura/sankyo, and then a straight armlock. This can be a very effective combination.

I hope this clip stimulates some thoughts in your own practice.


Roy Dean

12-23-2007, 10:24 PM
All I can say is..... OUCH!

Merry X'mas Roy.


Roy Dean
12-23-2007, 10:49 PM
Merry Christmas to you too, Boon!

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2007, 11:53 PM
Thanks Roy. Appreciate what you are doing. Look forward to your DVD.

Keith R Lee
12-24-2007, 10:31 AM
Looks great Roy. Looking forward to it!

12-24-2007, 12:21 PM
I do that all the time and never even realized it!

Very nice.

12-24-2007, 10:46 PM
Quality technique, have used it many times...:D


12-25-2007, 05:45 AM
thanks for that Roy. I would be very keen to get a hold of this dvd once available. I've heard dvds like this talked about and obviously a bunch of us on this thread have been playing with combining concepts at various times so very interested to see your thoughts.

Out of curiosity - once you secure the standard kimura grip, can you expand a little on the utility of moving down to the sankyo grip? My initial, christmas cheer clouded response is it seems like an additional movement that doesn't actually help solve a "problem" as if you have the freedom to move to that grip, you probably just could have finished with the kimura anyway?

Keen to hear your thoughts.

Joe Bowen
12-25-2007, 10:11 AM
Mr. Dean,

An interesting concept for the DVD, please keep us abreast of its development and release. In the particular example provided though, I find myself asking the same question as Michael Fooks. Since Sankyo is a wrist control designed to manipulate Uke's elbow and shoulder to allow Nage to connect to and move Uke's center along the vertical plane, I'm not sure I see the relevant motion for the wrist twist in your demonstrated technique, unless it was to merely cause Uke more pain. As Michael indicate it seems unnecessary for the completion of the technique.
Look forward to seeing some more though...

Regards and Happy Holidays,

Joe Bowen

12-25-2007, 01:04 PM
Incidentally, I think it would be a good thing for the standard kimura to be a part of standard Aikido training. I think the transition as demonstrated by Roy is a very secure way to follow up on a number of aikido takedowns -and will certainly get you out of trouble when uke stops playing the game.

Roy any indication when the dvd will be availible?

Kevin Leavitt
12-25-2007, 06:35 PM
I didn't interpret the move to the sankyo grip as anything other than viewing "options". I don't think I would have moved to that from a tactical standpoint. I thought it was more about teaching variations.

Also, I saw the whole sankyo thing as a way to "bridge" the gap from aikido to BJJ, showing application of the principle of sankyo.

I do the same concept from the guard, illustrating leg position in the open guard as Ikkyo.

Anyway, wouldn't it be great to somehow do a seminar with a bunch of us exploring aikido principle concepts as they apply in a BJJ/grappling context?

12-25-2007, 07:02 PM
Yeah on a second view this morning I realised it was probably more of a "if your hand happens to slip down this far you can do this". Either way it's cool to see people bringing this stuff together.

wouldn't it be great to somehow do a seminar with a bunch of us exploring aikido principle concepts as they apply in a BJJ/grappling context?

damn skippy! New Zealand is a lovely place to holiday....

Joe Bowen
12-26-2007, 06:06 AM
The example in my opinion, is a poor if non-existent application of the sankyo principle in that the wrist twist with a "sankyo-esque" grip does nothing to influence or otherwise move the uke's center. The bridge between aikido and bjj here is flimsy and superficial.
One would hope that there could be a more substantial example than this. It's a start, I'll give you that, but I'd recommend a more thorough examination of sankyo.
I am intrigued by the Ikkyo principle illustrated by leg position in the open guard, tell me more, please.

Josh Reyer
12-26-2007, 10:21 AM
I have no experience with BJJ, so feel free to ignore me, but I wonder if people aren't misinterpreting the demonstration? It looks to me that he's demonstrating a kotegaeshi, and from the kotegaeshi he gets the sankyo grip, which he then uses for the arm bar. He demonstrates that, if in the course of the throw, that tori's hand ends up on the wrist/forearm, then it's still a workable kimura, but if the kotegaeshi is held it flows into a sankyo, and then the arm bar.

Watch the initial demonstration again - he still has uke's hand following the kotegaeshi, and he lets go to demonstrate the possible kimura. Note that in his original post Roy doesn't say, kotegaeshi to kimura to sankyo to armlock, but kotegaeshi to sankyo/kimura to armlock.

Joe Bowen
12-26-2007, 11:05 AM
Damn me for a fool, but if I had eyes then I could see!

Josh, you made me re-watch the clip and you make a very valid observation, but in the same line there is still no application of the wrist turn in the end of the technique which would lead me to say this is an application of sankyo.

It is a nice technique and makes a great finish to the kotegaeshi that he starts with but it does not apply the principle of sankyo through the twisting of the wrist.


12-26-2007, 04:11 PM
I think the point is that after the kote-gaeshi, the transition into bjj type finishes with or without the sankyo grip provides another (imo much more controlled and high percentage) option for finishing uke.

12-26-2007, 04:25 PM
It's a nice transition from ude garami to jujigatame, but it's not sankyo. Sankyo hits uke's center, this is an elbow contol. It's nice, don't get me wrong, but it's not a good example of sankyo.

Kevin Leavitt
12-26-2007, 11:16 PM
Sankyo is there. :28-30 seconds on Youtube video.

The difference is in the hand placement. Roy keeps his left hand on his own wrist and slips his right hand down to the hand and applies torsional pressure inward along the same axis has sankyo.

In this example releasing the wrist and readjusting to the left hand on uke's wrist would cause uke to escape.

The point is that the body position and the line of torsion of uke is in sankyo position.

From an aikido standpoint, I'd say that because of uke being unable to escape or move because his body is slam up against the floor, that is does not allow for the direction of the energy up through the arm to the core, so essentially the torsional energy becomes a "joint lock". In aikijiujitsu terms it might be sankajo instead of sankyo.

It is a good example of sankyo position as a finishing or controlling pin, not a good example of off-balancing or uncentering of uke, which is typically how I would practice it in aikido.

Totally different dynamic than what you might see normally.

Walter Martindale
12-26-2007, 11:28 PM
Is a "Standard Kimura" the ude-hishige-juji-gateme, or is it the ude garami? Wasn't Kimura (the one I'm thinking of) a famous judoka?

Joe Bowen
12-27-2007, 04:33 AM
At :28-33 Second on the U-Tube video is a "Sankyo-esque" wrist torque which does nothing but increase the amount of pain Uke is in. It would not qualify as a sankyo for me. Put both of them in a vertical position, and that technique would not work as sankyo. What Roy is doing is good, it is a nice technique and a good finish but wrong use of the term "Sankyo".
Sankyo does not need to be applied to the wrist. It can be applied to the forearm, just as effectively. It is not the wrist manipulation that is important, it is the shoulder manipulation that is key. And in this particular example the shoulder was already locked and controlled by the "kimura", ude garami, whatever you want to call it.

Think about it.

In terms of content for you DVD, I would prefer you draw parrallels between some of the BJJ techniques you demonstrated in the Yosokan No Gi Trailer, and Aikido principles like Ikkyo or Nikkyo. There is potentially a Nikkyo comparison in the first ankle submission, but I don't know enough about BJJ to go any further than that.

12-27-2007, 10:55 AM
Sankyo is there. :28-30 seconds on Youtube video.

The difference is in the hand placement. Roy keeps his left hand on his own wrist and slips his right hand down to the hand and applies torsional pressure inward along the same axis has sankyo.

I have to disagree. There are a few things that I feel make this different from sankyo.

1) The control primarily affects the wrist and elbow, not the shoulder. When 'more' is applied, it does not spiral tension up through the bones of the arm to the torso, but rather moves the entire arm structure. By that I mean that when tori increases the pressure of the pin, he does so by moving the hand around uke, rather than increasing internal torque through the arm up into uke's spine thus moving uke around the pin. Yes I realize he's on the ground, but you still see the pin moving around uke rather than creating increased pressure up through the joints.

2) Sankyo works best if applied to the side or the front of uke. This traps their body structure, up through the arm (commutive lock) and down through the spine to the feet/base. This lock, is all behind uke's back, and the placement of the other arm up behind the humerus traps the pin in the arm (rather than running it back into the ground through uke's torso). If you attempt to do sankyo behind uke's back (when standing) they can just fold the arm up into the back, it basically neutralizes the control. There are some valid controls from there (you see these in police tactics since it puts the arms closer to where you want them for cuffing) but I wouldn't really consider those to be sankyo either.

Again, just to be entirely clear, my comments should be read as an attack on the terminology used here, not the quality of what's being demonstrated here.

12-27-2007, 12:09 PM
With due respect to all.

I admit to being somewhat amused by the hair splitting in terms of terminology. There is an aspect of sankyo in the pin -to me that's undeniable. Is it the same aspect or variation you'd use to take uke to the ground - no probably not. But grab 100 random aikidoka, put them in that position and crank and I bet 99 of them when asked will say "it felt kinda like sankyo".

While I think in terms of comparisons there are some submission similarities (I often talk about omoplata in terms of ikkyo to my ex aikido studends - and in fact am finding myself dong standard
ikkyo as a defensive tactic more and more) the real crossover imo is not footlocks that look like nikkyo or anything like that - it's in the flow of the roll.

We talk about two ends of the spectrum - adaptability and intent. Both of them have applications into aikido. In fact the more I get into some concepts like this via BJJ the more I wish I was still teaching Aikido as they would have been very useful teaching tools.

12-27-2007, 12:19 PM
Well, I think everyones right. What Chris is describing is a far better way to do sankyo...standing up. In fact I think it is thee best.
Many just don't get the connections right. There is a way in DR to to do what Chris is describing AND to torque the joint.
That said, commutive locking (tm) to a wresttler on the ground isn't always a good idea. Wrestlers, good wrestlers, have a highly developed sense of connected -though muscle driven- ground power. Thus feeding into their core is going to tap their power to feed back at ya. Hence, basing out his body-say with your legs or hips and torquing a small joint with your whole body leverage is the wiser choice on the ground
There are better ways to train to connect the body of course and that makes trying commutive locking; metacarpels, cross radius/ulna, humurous to shoulder to spine.. on guys who train this way even dicier. Overal, on the general public in standing up... Chris's way controls their whole body like nobodies business as the manipulated skeletal structure is weighted.

Kevin Leavitt
12-27-2007, 02:27 PM
Good comments. I do think it is splitting hairs. Joseph, I think you are getting more into the philosophical dynamic of application (that is, using the torsion to affect center). I did identify that as a problem with this as uke is slam up against the ground and cannot escape out which limits Uke's ability to move, and nages ability to have the force travel back up through center.

Applied appropriately though, it still should follow the same axis of "KI" that is up through the arm, into center.

Which is why the few of us that are doing both BJJ and Aikido see the application of sankyo in this example.

My BJJ students will tend to focus the torsion on the wrist whereas, those with an aikido background or more advance in BJJ will tend to direct it more into center.

Again, splitting hairs.

When you are "Bridging" this gap it is important to show both sides (BJJ and AIkido) the similarities between the two practices so they can understand it from their own perspectives.

Is there pain invovled? Absolutely! Uke cannot move because of the pin on the ground.

Is it "not" aikido? Well I guess that depends on your philosophical perspective of where aikido begins and ends!

Joe Bowen
12-28-2007, 02:54 PM
If you think this is splitting hairs, you need to get back into an aikido dojo and practice some more because your definition of aikido technique needs more depth. To any novice, uninitiate in aikido, if I twist the wrist clockwise it must be sankyo. But if you're going to tout some miraculous bridge between aikido and bjj, you need to speak with a meaningful definition of both sides of the equation and in this case it is lacking. The "aikido" portion of the technique would not qualify as the specified technique. It's a superficial, cosmetic add-on.

Additionally, my definition of Sankyo is in no-way philosophical. It is in every way practical. Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, Gokyo, Rokyu are all principles for using the extremities to control the center, not about causing pain in the wrist or elbow that just happens to occur. If you rely just on the pain to immobilize or move your uke, you are doomed to failure.

If you lack that particular depth of definition in your technique, whether on the aikido or bjj side, you're not going to be taken seriously by either side.

Just my two cents...


Kevin Leavitt
12-28-2007, 05:20 PM
Okay, you win..it's not sankyo.

Throwing that out the window...along with the philosophical stuff about what "should or should not" be happening, and lets focus on what "IS" actually happening.

Roy has affected the center of uke and is controlling it already. He did this pretty much with kotegaeshi and then took uke down and pinned him. Then showed several options in order to further control uke with kimura, sankajo, sankyo...or what ever else you want to call a "bent arm" technique.

It was about the control first and the pain second. Again, it was a demonstration of various options you might have from that position.

The ability or inability to cause pain is always an interesting subject to me.

Why does ikkyo work? (actually mine doesn't so well these days!)

I think ikkyo works only because uke is moving to avoid pain, or the potential of pain. This is why it does not work so well on beginners I am finding today. They don't understand the dynamic of ikkyo so they can learn soon to counteract it! However, through in atemi (pain), then it works.

Nikkyo. Nikkyo only really works, I think, if uke is moving appropriately to avoid pain.

Sankyo. If uke does not back out around his center as you drive through it, well then he gets pain.

Yonkyo. Suprisingly I don't really like the whole radial nerve pressure point thing, but concur that it is best to drive the arm back into uke's center. But what keeps uke in position for you to affect his center? Avoidance of pain.

Same with the rest.

You cannot remove the potential for pain. However, as you state, simple reliance on it is not enough. I agree. Primarily the principle is about controlling center.

This, I believe, was a given in the video. That is center was already controlled.

If you lack that particular depth of definition in your technique, whether on the aikido or bjj side, you're not going to be taken seriously by either side.

Depth in definition? Well I tend to let the actions of what I do speak for depth. Either it works or it doesn't work. How serious I am taken is how effective I am at doing whatever it is that I do.


Anyway, pain or the potential to cause it is a motivator.

Okay, now someone will bring up the whole "Guy on PCP argument", and that you need to affect center and not use pain as it will not work.

I would agree! I would also submit that ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo and the rest of what we train for, in principle, will be ignored and you will stand there (or not!) in great suprised at how ineffective you suddenly are!

So, what do we have left. Trying to control center, off balancing etc...all the stuff that we purport to practice in aikido. So while the techniques won't work, the principles behind them will...if you have trained them in the right environment, under the right conditions for a non-compliant uke that refuses to recognize proper ukemi and position to avoid said pain!

That however, begets the whole argument, if I filmed it and put it on YouTube...well, That does not look like Aikido!


So, when your ikkyo is ignored...what do you do? You clinch.

Then you move behind uke and take him down, (iriminage).

then you hold him down there in the ground in some fashion, or you immobilize him in some way so you can move on to whatever else you need to move on to. that might involve handcuffs, pain, or a blood choke. All options depending on the situation.

There is no miraculous bridge between aikido and BJJ.

The only reason we anyone is even remotely interested in the comparison between the two methodologies, is that they approach the same endstate resolution in a different perspectives in methodology.

So, it is important to those that have students in both arts, or to those of us that are trying to develop a breadth of perspective that might shed some light on things that we have not thought of before.

What is suprising to those of us that have and do study both arts, is that we can find similarities in the principles between the two arts. It may not look the same, but principally it is the same.

I was elated the day I figured out that the clinch involves the principle of ikkyo. Guess what, my clinch improved once I started looking at it that way. Same with my ikkyo!

So, it may not look like sankyo, it may not be the way you learned it, or that you may apply it, however, it does not mean that what is being done is NOT principally the same.

I do agree though that if you rely on pain then you are doomed for failure. It is a lesson that is driven home constantly in BJJ. If you do not control your uke in BJJ, you simply are not going to do anything with him. Painful or not.

Kevin Leavitt
12-28-2007, 05:33 PM

you asked earlier about the concept of Ikkyo in the guard.

Again, it is conceptual/principal.

In the guard you essentially have someone that is squared off, balanced and focused on your center. Forget for a minute that he is between your legs.

Now in order for you do anything with him, you must move him off center. Sweep, kimura, omaplata...anything.

One way of doing this is to open your guard, and shrimp out to the side. for this example to the right. This effectively moves your center and his is still directed in the same plane. (Irimi). what do you do with your legs? If you are doing it correctly, your right leg is going high into his shoulder along the same line of force as ikkyo. Done correctly, you force uke over and you can continue around to the backside, on to omaplata, or what ever else you had in mind.

It principally is ikkyo. Omaplata is ikkyo done with your leg ! :)

Roy Dean
01-26-2008, 12:28 AM
Personally, I try not to get too bogged down in definitions. They are only signposts, symbols, and approximations for the actual. I agree with Kevin in his analysis on BJJ with centerline. And I do think that what I was doing was sankyo, by my definition. In fact, you can see me submitting one of my students with it here (http://www.roydeanacademy.com/video/june_2007), about 3/4 of the way through, in slow motion. It's sankyo to me, although others would simply refer to it as a wristlock.

Kevin Leavitt
01-26-2008, 05:54 PM

good to hear from you. I am in Lisbon right at this moment. just finished gettting my ass kicked by a great Italian purple belt.

I had a pretty darn good defense, but now that I am at Purple belt, it is a whole nother level. Have to work on that offense! His game was so tight, that I had no openings for sweeps or submissions.

It was fun though! Oh yea...no opportunities for sankyo either! Although I did try and omaplata which really is sankyo right??? :)

Anyway, look forward to the video!

07-15-2008, 02:57 PM
Hello Roy,

Is there any update on when this video will be out?
I believe it was supposed to be out this past spring?

Looked at your website and did not see it in the DVD section.



Al Gutierrez
07-16-2008, 01:40 AM

Kudos to you for showing some BJJ ground moves to aikidoka. Is there going to be any aikido in this dvd that will be beneficial to a BJJ player?

I personally think it's one thing to add BJJ ground moves and skills to aikido, but it's quite another thing to really do aikido against a BJJ player. Will this dvd show any aikido moves or counters against someone who's pulling guard, or a grappler who's shooting for a single or double?

Al Gtz.

Roy Dean
07-16-2008, 11:25 AM
Although I originally planned to release the DVD in spring, it will now be released in November. I focused my efforts on getting the 2 DVD set BJJ Blue Belt Requirements out to the market instead, and I'm happy to say it's been quite successful.

My original vision on the Aikido DVD has expanded to a 2 disc set, covering the major techniques of Aikido, and variations with Japanese and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu influence. Also included will be the Aikido and BJJ seminar and a module on wristlocks for groundfighting. You will not be disappointed!

Kevin Leavitt
07-16-2008, 08:22 PM
Having reviewed Roy's BJJ Blue Belt video, I highly recommend it Aikidoka that are looking for a good primer on BJJ. There are some good basics on the DVD. Roy is a technician that very logically and methodically shows you "how to". There is a very good section on Ukemi and also Takedowns as well.

07-17-2008, 01:30 PM
Having had the opportunity to meet him at the recent Lobo Academy opening out here, and sneak some rolling in with him on a break, I would add that he's a really nice guy and more than willing to hit the mats as well - Roy is the real deal.

Dude took me to school and we had a lot fun.