The peace that comes from balance and flexibility represented by two tongues of fire balancing, surrounded by a flexilbe ring of bamboo.
Arlington Budoshin JuJitsu Dojo: Self Defense for the Rest of Us

Katate Dori

Katate Dori - 1  Katate Dori - 2

Tori: Stephanie J. Owings
Uke: Mary Claire Salander

Tori's comments: This is a defense against a same-side wrist grab (example: your attacker’s right hand grabs your left arm, directly above the wrist). In response, you

  1. turn your palm face downward
  2. step toward the elbow of the arm with which the attacker grabbed you with your attacked-side foot
  3. bring your elbow to match against the outside of his elbow

These three steps act to rotate your arm out of the attacker’s hand by leveraging through the weakest point of your attacker’s grip: where his thumb and fingers meet.

Katate Dori is the first technique taught in our Martial Arts and Women’s Self-Defense classes. It provides a relatively easy to learn and effective defense against a common aggression. In addition, the technique demonstrates the effectiveness of three fundamental principles in our art: working against weakness, body positioning, and leverage.

First, the defender must pronate their hand (turning their palm down by twisting the bones in the forearm, not the upper arm). This forces the attacker’s thumb and fingers to spread apart slightly as the defender’s wrist moves. In effect, the defender is working against relatively weak muscles flexing the thumb (primarily flexor pollicis longus, flexor pollicis brevis, and adductor pollicis).

The defender also moves their body in towards, and slightly to the outside of the attacker. Besides startling the attacker (they usually will expect the defender to try and get away, not get closer), this sets the defender up for the final move. Leverage provides the actual release from the attacker’s grip. By positioning themselves properly, the defender can push their own elbow up against their attacker’s elbow, in effect, laying their forearm against the back of their attacker’s forearm. Proper body position facilitates this leverage avoiding brute strength to pull their hand out of the grip.

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