Chin Na technique: twist the elbow

Chin Na: twist the elbow

The twisting of the elbow is a very versatile technique and once set, it is easy to apply; the only difficulty is the understanding of the initial displacement of the arms.

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

How to execute the technique

Note – In this tutorial, we do not deal with the basic mechanics of contacts, parries, trapping (etc.) we focus only on the Chin Na execution.

  • Let’s imagine that our opponent is standing in front of us but with his right shoulder aligned to ours (this means that, in relation to us, he is simply moved to the right)
  • The distance is middle (read Ideal distance from the opponent during a fight) and (to imagine a didactical situation) he is trying to hit our neck with a knifehand strike (similar to a shuto / tegatana in Karate, Aikido, etc.)
  • To avoid to be hit, we exit on the left-forward direction and we raise defensively our right arm (in this phase the palm of our hand is facing toward us)
  • As soon as our wrist / forearm comes into contact with his, our body converts the exit movement into a clockwise rotation that channels the strength of the attack towards outside
  • Our wrist is rotating on the opponent’s one and the palm of our hand arrives in an ideal position to grasp it
  • As our right-hand securely grasps the wrist, we have to make our left arm to pass over the opponent’s forearm (where the elbow folds) pushing it downward
  • Our left arm then crawls on the opponent’s forearm (toward our right forearm) until the outer part of our left wrist overlaps the inner part of our right wrist
  • Now the palm of our left hand must securely lean on the top of our right forearm
  • When our palm leans, our right elbow must rest on the opponent’s chest and the right hand violently (gently and gradually during training) push the opponent’s wrist downward

Note – In the photo, the elbow is not touching the chest because it is an intermediate shot of the entire application.

For a better execution:

  • Our left forearm and the opponent’s right arm should draw a right triangle (with the 90° angle in correspondence of our left palm)
  • While our right-hand pushes downward, the left forearm pushes upwards and the right elbow pushes on the chest
  • To make the opponent unable to react, the best thing is to force him (through pain) to assume an unstable position (up to go down to the ground or to tiptoe)
  • While performing the technique it is necessary to assume a balanced position and to remove our body from the reach of the opposing blows
  • It must always be the adversary who has to assume an uncomfortable position and never the executor of the Chin Na technique

A note by Master Kongling – For a beginner, the understanding of this technique may appear not so easy but the real complex part is the dynamic grabbing of the wrist (fortunately the technique can be also applied in a more static context, like ground fighting, read Ground fighting). There are also a big number of variants (some of them are above).

The key points for a perfect execution

  • The lever principle is at the center of this Chin Na
  • The initial grasp is fundamental to be solid, the hand should also be perfectly above the top of the wrist (to better apply the final downward pressure)
  • The downward pressure of the opponent’s elbow helps his destabilization, facilitating the execution
  • In the final phase, the more our left elbow fold is near to the one of our opponent (without hindering the twist), the more the technique is effective (in fact, the closer the support point is to the fulcrum, the more we can impress power with ease)
  • We have to involve our entire body structure in the direction of the strength we are applying
  • The opponent must remain in tension, we have to position him in an unfavorable position

The most common errors

  • Grasp the wrist with a weak or unstable grip
  • To do not maintain the triangle shape
  • To position our left forearm too far from the fulcrum (the right opponent’s elbow)
  • Hinder the twisting of the elbow with our forearm
  • Leave space to move to the opponent
  • Imbalance ourselves in unnecessarily uncomfortable positions

Variants and evolutions

  • An advanced practitioner can add up to 2 or more levers to the technique (on the shoulder and on the wrist)
  • This Chin Na can be easily completed with a throw (simply putting our right leg behind the opponent’s one, read also The 3 phases of a throw)
  • To add more power it is possible to continue the full-body clockwise twist started before (arriving in a cross stance)
  • This technique is very similar to the MMA’s Americana technique (but not only) and can be executed also o the ground

Possible applications contexts


  • Almost no one (conditioned or not) can easily resist to this kind of torsion (to feel it it is enough even a small stimulation)
  • With this Chin Na, even a very small person can effectively counteract the force of a much larger aggressor; the only difficulty is to correctly place our limbs
  • Even in a dynamic context, it is not so rare to have the occasion to insert this technique
  • One of the classical applications of this technique (suitable almost for everyone) is on the ground

Sport fighting:

  • The use of this kind of twisting on the wrist 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 maintain the triangle structure?

Author: Master Kongling

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