A spinal lock in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) refers to a technique used to apply pressure or manipulate the spine of an opponent in order to control them, create discomfort, or force them to submit. Spinal locks can target different areas of the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), and lumbar (lower back) regions, and they are typically executed by applying leverage and pressure with the hands, arms, or legs.
There are various types of spinal locks in BJJ, each with its own mechanics and application.
Some common examples include…
- Neck Cranks – Neck cranks involve applying rotational or lateral pressure to the cervical spine, typically by trapping the opponent’s head and twisting or torquing it in a controlled manner. Neck cranks can cause discomfort and potentially injure the cervical spine if applied with excessive force.
- Back and Spine Compression – Techniques such as the body triangle or back mount in BJJ involve applying pressure to the opponent’s spine and torso, which can restrict their movement, breathing, and ability to escape. These techniques are often used to control the opponent’s position and set up submission holds such as the rear naked choke.
- Spinal Manipulation – Some BJJ submissions, such as the bow and arrow choke or the twister, involve twisting or bending the opponent’s spine in a way that creates discomfort and vulnerability. These techniques typically target the thoracic or lumbar spine and can cause pain or discomfort if applied with sufficient pressure.
It’s important to note that while spinal locks are legal in BJJ competitions, practitioners are expected to apply them with control and consideration for the safety of their training partners. Excessive force or improper application of spinal locks can lead to serious injury, including spinal fractures, herniated discs, or nerve damage. Therefore, it’s essential for practitioners to train under the supervision of qualified instructors, use proper technique, and exercise caution when applying spinal locks during training or sparring sessions. Practitioners should communicate with their training partners and tap out (submit) if they feel discomfort or pain during the application of a spinal lock to prevent injury.