Excerpted from Kung Fu Grappling by Noah Knapp
Chin Na, or the study of joint, tendon, and muscle manipulation, is considered to be the true essence of all Kung Fu grappling. It is the practical application and ability of exploiting the body's limitations. There are many parts make up Chin Na training and all are a simply a piece of the solution and therefore all must be used in conjunction for true expertise.
Every one of the joints in the body have a limited range of free movement. The term Natural Torque refers to the furthest extent that any one of these joints can be taken before catastrophic failure is caused in the joint. In other words, natural torque is the most a joint can be locked before breakage occurs. A small application of pressure past that point can render you opponent completely nullified.
Natural torque is an extremely important part of both Chin Na and Kung Fu grappling on the whole. The range of possible usage varies only by the discretion of the person performing the lock. Natural torque may mean gently, though thoroughly, controlling an opponent, or instead utilized to completely destroy one of an attacker's joints. Thus, through the course of the chapters, we will observe all appropriate offensive and defensive applications throughout the body.
There is a practice throughout Kung Fu's training which reminds us to prepare for when things go wrong, not if. This is a very important lesson to remember during all training and grappling applications are no different. What if a lock doesn't work? What if a hold is released? What if the opponent is able to slip our grasp? These and many other possible situations can and do occur everyday to even the most experienced fi ghters. The difference between victory and defeat may be as simple as knowing what to do next.
It is not always necessary or even advisable to remove, reset, and resume if an application goes awry. Rather, knowing how to continue and move forward from a missed attempt can lead you to regain your advantage.
During a grappling attack, the human body's continuous system of muscles, ligaments, and joints can offer relief by simply releasing pressure from one area to another. While it is true that each individual part may only be able to offer a small bit of relief, when used as a whole, the body can offer many opportunities for escape. For example, a tightened wrist may find ease if the elbow is rotated. Having said this, why only control an opponent's hand or arm when you can instead choose to control the entire person? And
And what if a break does occur? Arguments have long been made that you might entirely subdue an adversary by properly manipulating even their little finger, but what if this weak section of the body fails?
Honestly, any experienced fighter or grappler will understand that just because one part of their opponent's body may be broken, that the other sections still work fine. An opponent's finger may be completely destroyed during a fight, but that doesn't mean that they will have any intention of stopping their aggression. The only way to assure that you have completely subdued your opponent is to remove any chance they could have for further movement. Therefore, while it is possible to become victorious with anything from wrist locks to knee locks, it is always advisable to seek control of the entire opponent, not just part of them.
Knowing this, it is essential to continuously manipulate your opponent until submission is assured. Even if the event occurs that one attempt at a manipulation is lost, moving inward toward the core of the body and attempting a lock on the next possible joint may create the solution. Honestly, by doing this we are almost guaranteed to find another opportunity waiting. The trick is to always move inward and toward the core of the body.