Advanced Insights



Anchoring is the term given to keeping or moving the elbow in towards the body to increase the power of a strike or to improve our ability to manipulate the opponent. Anchoring gives us a leveraging advantage by adding the mass of our body to the strength of our arm.

From Out-of-Range

From an out-of-range position, anchoring can be used to pull an opponent off balance while remaining in a position to attack. This generally works best by grabbing material, such as a sleeve, but to a lesser extent it also works by grabbing the arm and sliding down to the wrist.
The key to this move is to use the anchoring of the elbow and a slight settling of the body weight alone to pull the opponent out of position.
One common mistake associated with this maneuver is failing to anchor the elbow (by pulling sideways), which significantly reduces the force of the pull.
Another mistake is rotating the body with the grab, which leaves the torque unavailable for the most natural follow-up strike, the straight right hand punch.

From Within Range

But generally anchoring occurs once within the range of an opponent, and is usually employed in the obscure or point-of-origin type motion we practice in our self-defense techniques and advanced forms. Strikes that utilize anchoring generally use the movement of the body mass alone to generate their power, with little or no independent movement of the attacking arm.

One of the most common strikes of this type is the short-range knife hand (often with a bent wrist to create a hooking effect) found in the technique, Flashing Wings

The following two pictures show, from different angles, the proper hand position for this strike. (Editor's note: with years of practice, you too can properly form this hand strike while asleep or otherwise just recovering, as illustrated below.)

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The next three pictures show that same hand strike, along with the proper anchoring, from three different angles and from within the context of Flashing Wings.
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The next set of pictures illustrates the full Flashing Wings technique with the third frame showing the anchoring.
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Another set of strikes that can utilize anchoring to create a great deal of power over a short distance is the hammer fist/back knuckle combination found in Hooking Wings.
The first two pictures below illustrate the incorrect and correct anchoring.
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These next five pictures show the full Hooking Wings sequence (with proper anchoring illustrated in the third frame).
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The forearm strike to the kidney found in Shield and Mace is also most effective when the elbow is anchored and the force of the strike is generated by settling the body's weight.
The first row below (5 pictures) show the proper execution of Shield and Mace, with the second frame showing the anchored strike. Below that second picture is an example of incorrect anchoring. 
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Without anchoring
lca36.jpg (34604 bytes) Without anchoring
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The Cross of Destruction technique also contains an example of the use of anchoring to manipulate an opponent. If the right elbow remains anchored while ducking under the opponent's choking arms (after the initial step and grab to the opponent's wrists), the body weight of the defender is generally sufficient to pull the attacker off balance, leaving him vulnerable to the follow-up strike. Failing to anchor the elbow here generally leaves the attacker in a stable position and hence able to pull free from the counter-grab.
The first row below (5 pictures) show the proper execution of Cross of Destruction, with the third frame showing the anchored strike. Below that third picture is an example of incorrect anchoring. 
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  Without anchoring
lca42.jpg (38675 bytes) Without anchoring
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As a final example, the technique Defying the Storm shows the use of anchoring to both strike and manipulate the opponent. The right knife hand after the initial block and rising elbow is done with an anchored elbow in order to fit the relatively close target. Leaving the elbow anchored with the step back (and push of the left hand) uses the defender's body mass to bend the attacker forward into the the defender's rising knee.
The first six frames below show the full Defying the Storm technique, with the third frame (last column, top row) being the anchoring move.
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The next table below shows the same anchoring move in the third frame above from three different angles. Below them is the same move incorrectly applied (without anchoring).
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Without anchoring
lca30.jpg (37629 bytes) Without anchoring

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Technically, this is different from anchoring, but in Grip of Death, we use a related principal called fulcruming, which similarly helps add power to our arm's action.
The five frames below show the full Grip of Death technique, with the fourth frame showing the fulcruming.
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    Another angle
lca47.jpg (46168 bytes) Another angle
    Without fulcruming
lca49.jpg (33311 bytes) Without fulcruming

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