Default: prerequisite skill.

Prerequisite: Judo, Wrestling, or appropriate Melee Weapon skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill+4.

An arm (or wrist) lock is an attempt to restrain or cripple an opponent by twisting his arm. It normally uses Judo or Wrestling skill. This technique lets you improve effective skill for this purpose only.

To use Arm Lock, you must have two hands free and make a successful barehanded parry with Judo or Wrestling against your opponent's melee attack. On your first turn following the parry, you may attempt to capture your attacker's arm if he's still within one yard. This is an attack: step into close combat and roll against Arm Lock to hit. Your foe may use any active defense - he can parry your hand with a weapon! If his defense fails, you trap his arm.

Your foe may attempt to break free (p. B371) on his next turn, but you're at +4 in the Quick Contest. If he loses, he has a cumulative -1 on future attempts to break free.

On your next turn - and each turn thereafter, until your foe breaks free - you may try to damage the trapped arm. Roll a Quick Contest: the higher of your ST (including your Wrestling bonus) or Arm Lock vs. the higher of your victim's ST or HT. If you win, you inflict crushing damage equal to your margin of victory. The target's rigid DR protects normally. Flexible armor, including natural DR with the Flexible or Tough Skin limitation, has no effect.

If you cripple your victim's arm, he drops anything in that hand. You can inflict no further damage on a crippled limb but you can continue to roll the Contest each turn. If you win, your target suffers shock and stunning just as if you had inflicted damage.

Rolls to inflict damage are completely passive and don't count as attacks. You can simultaneously make close-combat attacks on your opponent, who defends at -4 in addition to any penalties due to injury caused by the lock itself. If you decide to throw him using the lock, this does count as an attack; see Throws from Locks (pp. 118-119).

You can use this ability offensively as well. Instead of waiting to parry an attack, grapple your foe normally with Judo or Wrestling. If he fails to break free on his next turn, you may try Arm Lock on your next turn, just as if you had parried his attack.

You can also apply this lock with a weapon. Default and prerequisite skills become a weapon skill. To initiate the lock requires a weapon parry or an Armed Grapple (p. 67). A reach C weapon gets +1 in the Quick Contest to cause damage; anything longer gets +2. Edged weapons can inflict crushing or cutting damage, but you must make a DX roll when you roll to inflict injury. Failure does thrust cutting damage to your off hand (DR protects normally). Otherwise, use the rules above.

Arm Lock uses precision and skill to cripple a foe's limb. For a brute-force technique, see Wrench (Limb) (p. 82).

Techniques That Aren't

Martial artists practice dozens of distinct attacks and defenses that they call "techniques." The majority of these aren't techniques in the sense of pp. B229-233. GURPS lets fighters use their combat skills to try hundreds of permutations of maneuvers, movement, and combat options; e.g., a swordsman can use Attack to turn in place and stab to the face, which is nothing like using All-Out Attack to dart for-

To improve all of these kicks, raise Kicking (pp. 75-76) -or increase Karate or Brawling. Only kicks from unusual positions (Back Kick), those with limited target selection (e.g., Axe Kick and Stamp Kick), and those that require the attacker to hop, spin, or jump (such as Jump Kick, Spinning Kick, and Drop Kick) can justify distinct techniques. The additional training is needed to work around the risk or

ward and hack at a foot. Most "techniques" that martial artists study are simply variations of this kind. To underline

awkward angles involved.

this, the GM may opt to deny certain actions to the relatively untrained (see Limited Maneuver Selection, p. 113).

Below are examples of "non-techniques." Warriors generally can't improve these independently of skill - although highly optional Targeted Attacks (p. 68) and Combinations (p. 80) can remove hit location and Rapid Strike penalties.

Weapon Strikes

Armed stylists - especially swordsmen - often name or number their art's basic guard positions, thrusts, and swings. These are by definition standard attacks and parries, not explicit techniques. Most "advanced" methods add in maneuvers other than Attack. Draw cuts, flicking blows from the wrist, and so on are Defensive Attacks. Aggressive


Every martial art has specialized stances, many of which bear interesting names: "cat stance" (from Karate), "boar's tooth" (from Longsword Fighting), and so on. Defensive stances allow the Defensive Attack (p. 100) and All-Out Defense maneuvers. Forward-leaning, aggressive stances justify All-Out Attack (Long) (pp. 97-98). Low, broad stances are less vulnerable to takedowns, and explain why high grappling skills help resist such attacks. Knowledge of effective fighting stances isn't an independent technique - it's one of the most basic elements covered by any combat skill.


tactics - flèche, lunge, pass, stab-and-twist, etc. - are Committed Attacks or All-Out Attacks. The "floor lunge" is an All-Out Attack (Long).

Even some unusual modes of attack are normal blows combined with combat options. A dramatic, circular sword cut (called a moulinet by saber fighters) is a Telegraphic Attack. Sliding a weapon along the enemy's to bypass his guard (a "glide" or coulé) is a Deceptive Attack. Using the tip of a blade to cut is a Tip Slash (p. 113). Striking a two-handed blow using a one-handed weapon is an application of Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111). Attacking with an inverted blade is an example of Reversed Grip (pp. 111-112).

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Any straight or crossing blow with a closed fist is a basic punch at Boxing, Brawling, or Karate skill. The name for such a strike depends on the style and the combat maneuver. Crosses, hooks, and reverse punches are typical Attacks; a jab is the archetypal Defensive Attack; and a lunge punch, roundhouse, or haymaker is a Committed Attack (pp. 99100) or All-Out Attack.

Weapon techniques are mainly for dimcult combat conditions (horseback, close combat, etc.) or non-striking attacks (especially sweeping and grappling).


Grapples, takedowns, and pins - and many follow-ups, such as strangling and the options in Grab and Smash! (p. 118) - are possible even for average, untrained people.

Many famous punches from sports and cinema are nothing more exotic than punches that use specific combat options. For instance, a "rabbit punch" is a punch to the back of the head or neck; the opening strike of Bruce Lee's "straight blast" is a Deceptive Attack that relies on sheer speed (see Jeet Kune Do, pp. 164-165); and the classic two-jab combination favored by boxers is a Rapid Strike.

Only punches that use unorthodox striking surfaces - the side of the hand, an open hand, an extended finger, two clasped hands, etc. - or that deliver extra damage without going "all-out" merit distinct techniques. These strikes are tricky without extra training. Examples include Exotic Hand

The Judo, Sumo Wrestling, and Wrestling skills teach moves that make such actions more effective, but these are left abstract, not bought as techniques. Grappling the arms from behind is called a "full nelson" and a takedown made by hooking your leg around your opponent's, a "reap" ... but Full Nelson and Reap aren't techniques. The same applies to so-called "sticking hands": situational awareness is simply part of basic skill, and explains why more skilled fighters have a higher Parry and better odds in Quick Contests.

Grappling techniques are reserved for locks, breaks, and throws that require precise body positioning to be effective. Anyone can grab a foe, but it takes training to apply an arm

Strike, Hammer Fist, Two-Handed Punch, and Uppercut.

bar. Examples include Arm Lock, Neck Snap, and Piledriver.


Almost every standing kick to a frontal target - including crescent, rising, side, and snap kicks - is a straight kicking attack at Karate-2 or Brawling-2. Short, jabbing kicks are Defensive Attacks. Hard-hitting hook and roundhouse kicks are Committed Attacks or All-Out Attacks. Combat options often enter the equation, too. For instance, the "double side

Setup Tactics

Attacking into an adversary's attack is a Stop Hit (p. 108), and a standard option for anybody who takes a Wait maneuver. Converting a parry into an attack is a Riposte (pp. 124-125), and possible for any fighter who can parry. To be successful at either, one must be good at attacks and parries in general. It makes little sense to train

kick" of Tae Kwon Do is a Rapid Strike - and also a Telegraphic Attack (p. 113).

at these things exclusively!

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