Chin Na technique: twist the wrist

Chin Na: twist the wrist

The twisting of the wrist is a very effective technique but until we understand its principles it will not work as expected.

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

How to execute the technique

  • Let’s imagine (didactically) that our opponent has his right hand slightly opened and with the palm facing down (eg. he is trying to grab us)
  • With the left hand (passing from above), let’s position our thumb between the opponent’s knuckles (those of the index finger and middle finger)
  • At the same time let’s position the other 4 fingers around the opponent’s thumb to firmly grab the hand
  • Keeping a solid grip, let’s turn the opponent’s palm upward
  • Immediately after this, let’s use our right hand to grab the other side of the opponent’s hand
  • Let’s position our right thumb between the knuckles of the pinky and the ring finger
  • Again, the other 4 remaining fingers must solidly grab the external part of the opponent’s hand
  • In both cases, the thumbs must be exactly at the height of the knuckles, not too high, not too low
  • The opponent’s thumb should be able to move only the phalanx with the nail
  • The grasping should not involve the opponent’s wrist (so that we can bend it)
  • At this point, always maintaining a strict control, we have to press frontally with the thumbs, with the idea of bending the wrist of the opponent (as if we wanted to bring his hand to grab his forearm)
  • While we press we have to bend the opponent’s elbow (his arm must not be straight and we must be close to him)
  • Once the limit of the mobility of the opposing wrist is reached, it is time to perform the most painful rotation
  • Keeping the grip and the frontal twist just made, we must rotate the opposing hand in downward-outwards direction (as to bring the opponent’s thumb to the ground)
  • Let’s involve shoulders, abdomen and legs in the rotation
  • While performing the technique it is necessary to assume a stable 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
  • 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)

A note by Master Kongling – For a beginner, this is one of the most simple and safe ways to execute this kind of technique, there are a lot 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
  • We have to concentrate on the second torsion and be sure that the opponent’s arm is bended
  • 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 grabbing must leave the wrist free to rotate
  • Without the first rotation, the technique is less effective and the escape is easier

The most common errors

  • Grasp the hand with a weak or unstable grip
  • Hinder the twisting of the wrist with our hands
  • Lose one of the 2 rotations (or the bending of the elbow)
  • Leave space to move to the opponent
  • Imbalance ourselves in unnecessarily uncomfortable positions

Variants and evolutions

  • An advanced practitioner can execute the same technique even with one hand (in the case of the example the left); the difference is that the thumb must be between the ring and middle finger knuckles
  • The single hand version of this technique is executed by many instructors putting the thumb between the pinky and finger ring; in a lot of cases this could be more effective but against opponents with flexible hands, this risks to disperse part of the twisting power
  • The second rotation, with the correct inertia, can evolve in a throw of the opponent (as it happens for example in Aikido)
  • One of the best way to execute this revolution it’s to implement a cross stance (more about this later)

Possible applications contexts


  • Wrists can be conditioned but even strong opponents (if caught by surprise) cannot resist to this kind of torsions
  • With this Chin Na, even a very small person can effectively counteract the force of a much larger aggressor; the only difficulty is to do not lose the angles (the technique itself does not need an advanced spatial intelligence)
  • On the other hand, it is also true that rarely an experienced fighter allow his adversary to grasp his wrist
  • In addition to this, in a martial arts context, this Chin Na is very common and there are a lot of countermoves
  • One of the classical applications of this technique (suitable almost for everyone) is when we are in close contact with the opponent and he is grabbing, for example, our T-Shirt

Sport fighting:

  • The use of this kind of twisting on the wrist is allowed in a lot of types of sport competitions, but it is not widely used due to the fact that is very hard and dangerous to grab an experienced fighter this way
  • This does not mean that its principles are not implemented in more advanced techniques (inside throws, ground fighting escapes, etc.)

In-depth video courses

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Can you maintain the control over the opponent’s wrist?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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