Riz's Martial Arts Training

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My Nemesis: The Neck Crank

A neck crank (or a ‘cervical lock’ for the pedantic amongst you) is a spinal lock applied to the cervical spine (your neck) by pushing, pulling or twisting it in a direction it doesn’t want to go. ‘Clickity clack’ is usually a sound associated with a successful neck crank and while in the grander scheme of things, only a small percentage of submissions are the result of a neck crank, they remain feared due to their potential to cause serious injury (…no explanation needed).

There are a wide variety of neck cranks in most martial arts and all are fairly dangerous. Most BJJ competitions forbid cranking the neck although it is still permitted in Judo, Wrestling and other grappling competitions. The technique is often used by beginners as well as advanced practitioners as its application can be as simple as the ‘Can Opener’ or more complex like the ‘Twister’ (otherwise known as the wrestlers’ Guillotine) or the Crucifix Neck Crank.

Here’s a video tutorial by Submissions 101 of the basic 'Can Opener' neck crank:

Key Points to Remember:
  • A fairly low percentage submission; consider using it to break someone’s guard.
  • Keep both your elbows tucked close to one another on your opponent’s chest.
Traditionally, the can opener has a relatively low success rate. In most instances, people use it to break someone’s Closed Guard. That said, it is remarkably simple to apply and I’ve been caught in it (usually when I’m stuck under someone’s Mount) more times than I care to mention (look at the title of this post to get an idea how the neck crank plagues me!)!

Below Bas Rutten demonstrates another neck crank from Side Control (technically, Scarf Control). A senior at my gym loves this move, and speaking from experience – it is ridiculously painful. An alternative counter to that explained by Bas in the video is to pull the knee of your free leg up by the side of your head and then kick it up and drop it in front of your opponent’s face/neck and push out (there’s a submission here if you angle yourself correctly). 


Post a Comment 2 comments:

Jack Payne said...

You sure convinced me. A neck crank is about the last thing I'd ever use--even if I competently knew how.

January 10, 2009 at 1:03 AM

Riz said...

Hi Jack - thanks for your comment. It should be noted that the neck is generally quite resilient, and moves such as the Can Opener usually won't do much injury. The Crucifix Neck Crank, the Twister and some variations on a Dragon Sleeper or a twisting Guillotine however can do a fair bit of damage if applied very quickly!

No need to rule out using neck cranks completely - just be careful when you do go for one!

January 10, 2009 at 3:14 AM

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