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Lock On: Joint Locking Essentials Volume 3: Shoulder Locks
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I’m asked to review people and things quite a bit these days. As the owner of Martial Warrior I come into contact with martial artists worldwide. I’m sent video clips, research papers, DVD’s etc, all asking for my opinion. Unfortunately, most of what I review these days is pure garbage, at least from a self-defense perspective. Fortunately, this time around, the person asking for my review was Alain Burrese and the product, “Lock On: Joint Locking Essentials Volume 3: Shoulder Locks”. Why do I say fortunately? From talking with Mr. Burrese on-line and reading his published work I’ve come to expect quality, in this expectation I was not disappointed.

First, the technical aspect of the DVD. It was taped in a well lit venue with a blue background and flooring. This contrasted nicely with the white uniforms and allowed the movements to be clearly seen. This is a plus since being able to see the presentation is the reason for buying the DVD in the first place. Secondly, the sound was clear and crisp. No need to hit the rewind to try and catch what was just said.

Now on to the meat of the DVD. I should pause for a moment and state that I have no reservations in saying exactly what is on my mind. I’ve had on-line wars with net-ninjas and cyber-warriors. If something is garbage, I won’t…and haven’t been afraid to say so. With that little tidbit in mind, I was very pleased with what Mr. Burrese presented. Here’s why;

1. He begins with a detailed explanation of the anatomy of the shoulder and the various balance displacement and mobility planes that exist in which to control movement or exploit its weaknesses.

2. In teaching a particular ‘technique’, he goes further into the principle behind the technique. As he aptly states early on, he can’t teach everything there is to teach in one DVD or hope to cover all the variables. But by explaining the principles behind each lock the viewer can then grasp the concept and expand upon it during training. This is an important point because far too many arts have become ‘cookie cutters’ in there approach. Either due to the rigid inflexibility of the instructor or their lack of in-depth knowledge to expand beyond what they themselves were shown.

3. One of the most important things covered; in my professional opinion was the necessity of a gross motor skill block/interception followed immediately by a solid, gross motor skill strike prior to attempting the lock. Let me explain why this is so important, and why I’m so appreciative the Mr. Burrese covered this information. I’ve been in one uniform or another since 1985. Currently I’m a Corrections Officer with eighteen years on the job. I’ve been in over two-hundred uses-of-force against armed and unarmed, violent felons whose intent was to injure me, others or themselves. In that time, I’ve used more joint locking principles than I care to remember. Unless the circumstances are ‘just right’, a solid strike is going to be needed in order to facilitate a proper lock.

I often see, unfortunately, a complete lack of realism in modern training or even an acknowledgement for the need. Recently, I’ve been sent several video clips of martial artists who were of medium to high Dan rank giving seminars or demonstrations. In some, the choreography was wonderful…unrealistic, but wonderful. Other offerings were so awful it was beyond the ridiculous. But they all had a common thread. In each, the bad guy was basically giving his hand/wrist/arm to the ‘master’. Or if there was a punch at all, it was a slow, half-hearted effort that wouldn’t have pushed over a one-hundred year old great-grandmother. I’m not trying to be harsh on this point, but a real, live, aggressive attacker bent on causing you the greatest amount of damage in the shortest amount of time is NOT simply going to stick his arm out for you to grab. Nor is he going to give you a slow, non-effort punch that is aimed about three feet short of your head. Although is was ‘neat’ to see these ‘masters’ grab the wrist and throw the compliant partner all over the mat…in real life, based upon the types of attacks I’ve seen, they’d have ended up in the hospital trying to pull off that nonsense. Or the morgue.

That is why I was delighted to see Mr. Burrese expound on the necessity of some type of a strike preceding the lock. He was careful to distinguish between the difference of the partner offering his wrist so that the technique could be demonstrated properly in a learning atmosphere and utilizing it in personal combat.

4. The techniques and concepts demonstrated used sound principles of motion. Flow and use of body weight was explained as well as breaking the axis for balance displacement and take downs.

5. Mr. Burrese covered applications of both a defensive and offensive nature with the locks. This is important as the necessity of a pre-emptive strike is sometimes a critical factor of survival. As the saying goes, a good defense is a strong offense.

6. Different conclusions were discussed during the explanation of the techniques. Options were given for a range of conclusions from a take down and pain compliance to control an attacker to incapacitation if necessary to the situation.

7. Finally, Mr. Burrese was well prepared for his presentation of this material. This is a plus and allowed for the easy flow of information.

In conclusion, whereas lately I’ve been inundated with choreographed garbage passing itself off as a martial art, I was very pleased to watch this DVD and found myself nodding in agreement many times throughout. Mr. Burrese has done and excellent job and I commend him fully. Where some offerings make me wish I’d spent the time more constructively, like watching paint peel, I’d not hesitate to view the teachings of Mr. Burrese.
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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