Chin Na technique: bend the ankle

Chin Na: bend the ankle

This bending of the ankle is a very versatile technique and once set, it is easy to apply, both on the ground, both standing; in a dynamic situation (eg. after a kick) the only real difficulty is to be able to intercept / block / channel / absorb the opponent’s action.

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

Before starting, it is extremely important to read (we have to know what we are doing and how to train safely):

A note by Master Kongling – Even in training, the techniques that act on the leg’s joints are very dangerous, let’s never perform it with strength (even on our own ankles). Let’s be extremely gradual in the application and let’s do not exaggerate with the repetitions.

How to execute the technique

A note by Master Kongling – In this tutorial, we do not deal with the basic mechanics of contacts, parries, trapping (etc.) nor with how to manage the attempts to escape of our adversary: we focus only on the Chin Na.

The steps:

  • Let’s imagine that, for example, we are struggling with our opponent on the ground (read also Ground fighting)
  • One of his feet is within the reach of our hands (a very common situation)
  • For this example, we will grab his right leg but as always, the application is specular
  • We have to attach the internal side of our left wrist to the internal side of the opponent’s calf, above the medial malleolus
  • Maintaining the wrist position, the left hand should try to lean on the upper part of the foot
  • Almost at the same time, our right hand must cover the left hand from above (blocking the edge of the foot, near the toes but without covering them)
  • At this point, we have simply to activate the lever moving the ankle upward, the foot downward and focusing the fulcrum on the ankle

For a better execution:

  • The wrist of our left arm should be leaning with the base of the radius (on the side of the thumb) to intercept the opponent’s pain point of that area
  • The upward movement should be done using our entire body and muscle chain (read The Muscle Chain (for martial arts) [MINI-GUIDE])
  • It must be the opponent to bend in an uncomfortable position, not who is executing the technique
  • We should seriously take care of the other free leg

The key points for a perfect execution

  • The final grasp must be very solid and stable (it is for this reason that our first hand must immediately be followed by the other)
  • The upward and downward motions must be simultaneous
  • Everything must be done violently and explosively (in a real situation)
  • If we are doing it correctly, the feeling of pain should appear immediately after having reached the end of the lateral ankle’s mobility

The most common errors

  • To position our arms in a manner that interferes with the bending motion (involuntarily protecting the opponent’s ankle from reaching the end point of its mobility)
  • Against an adversary without shoes, let’s do not try to apply the lever on the fingers, it is easy to slip and lose the grasp
  • Grasp the wrist with a weak or unstable grip
  • To position our left arm too far from the fulcrum (the ankle)
  • To leave space to move to the opponent

A note by Master Kongling – In the photo the position is not perfect due to the necessity of supporting the skeleton’s leg.

Variants and evolutions

  • For a better grip and power application, it is also possible to lean on the ankle with the forearm (instead of the wrist), near the crease of the elbow; this way, however, we lose the pain point
  • Nothing prevents us from performing this Chin Na in combination with others (using our legs)

Possible applications contexts


  • Almost no one can resist this technique (if done unexpectedly and in the right way)
  • With this Chin Na, even a very small person can effectively counteract the action of a much larger aggressor; the only difficulty is to have the opportunity to grab the foot
  • In a dynamic standing context, it is not impossible to insert this technique (against a low-middle level aggressor) but it should not be a preferred choice
  • As we said, a good application of this technique (suitable almost for everyone) is on the ground

Sport fighting:

  • The use of this kind of bending on the ankle is allowed in a lot of types of sports competitions
  • It is widely implemented due to the fact that is very hard to resist it

In-depth video courses

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Can you reach the upper part of the foot with the left hand?

Author: Master Kongling

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