I like kicking and punching as much as the next person, but that certainly isn’t the only tool you and I should have as martial artists. To optimize our abilities to defend ourselves and others we need a continuum of abilities that are effective at all ranges. An important part of that continuum is joint locking.
In traditional karate we use tuite which has it’s own unique flavor just as jujutsu, aikido, etc. have flavors of their own. Whatever particular style you study, incorporating some form of joint locking is highly recommended.
In order to make joint locking a valid part of your self defense skills, you can’t rely purely on base-level technique walk-throughs. You need to improve your ability to apply locks on the fly and in harmony with striking using “touch reflex”. Touch reflex is a term that describes your immediate ability to know where your opponents body parts are when you make contact with him or he makes contact with you. Furthermore, it describes being able to sense how resistant or distracted your opponent is, thus making the right moment for a joint lock ‘jump out’ at you.
Please check out this video demonstrating how to move your joint lock training from base level to applicable:
It’s critically important to know how to use joint locking in harmony not just with strikes, but with takedowns, trips, kyusho, and any other aspects of your art. Alone each of these elements suffers from vulnerabilities. For example, trying to joint lock a resistant opponent without distracting or injuring him usually results in a muscular struggle as well as adrenaline fueled punches to your head. But when each aspect is used at the proper time with the proper flow the destructive qualities of the whole are significant.