Self Defense Applications of Qin Na

Qin Na is the Chinese martial art of grappling as applied to self defense. It describes techniques that are used in close contact with an opponent with the objective of immobilizing the opponent.

In this article we selected 10 basic self defense applications of Qin Na. In particular, we have selected the following applications:

  1. Wrist Attack: Breaking Wrist Hold
    1. Opposite Side Hold
    2. Same Side Hold
  2. Police” Hold 1
  3. “Police” Hold 2
  4. “Police” Hold 3
  5. Take Down 1
  6. Take Down 2
  7. Countering Grabbing by Twisting Neck
    1. Breaking Grab Around Waist
    2. Breaking Grab Around Leg
  8. Countering Leg Kick
    1. Pushing Leg Back
    2. Twisting Foot
  9. Defending Against Straight Knife Attack
  10. Defending Against Overhead Knife Strike

In the following, we will denote the two people in the illustration by A (in black) and B (in white). Person B uses Qin Na techniques to defend against As hold or attack and immobilize A. If you click on each photo, then you will get a large screen-size photo.

I. Wrist Attack: Breaking Wrist Hold

A. Opposite Side Hold

1. A holds B’s right wrist with his right hand 2. B presses his left hand down on top of A’s right hand
3. B rotates clockwise his right hand from below A’s right hand to above A’s right hand and grabs A’s right wrist and rotates it in a clockwise direction and at the same time rotates his waist and body also in a clockwise direction

4. This should create great pain in A’s right wrist and cause him to drop to ground

B. Same Side Hold

1. A holds B’s right wrist with his left hand 2. B presses his left hand down on top of A’s right hand
3. B rotates counter-clockwise his right hand from below A’s right hand to above A’s right hand and grabs A’s right wrist and rotates it in a counter-clockwise direction and at the same time rotates his waist and body also in a counter-clockwise direction

4. This should create great pain in A’s right wrist and cause him to drop to ground

II. “Police” Hold 1

1. A tries to punch B with his left hand 2. B grabs A’s left wrist from the outside with his left hand and puts his right hand just above A’s left elbow, and rotates A’s left arm counter-clockwise
3. B raises and puts A’s left hand on top of B’s upper right arm, sort of locking A’s left arm 4. B puts both hands on A’s left shoulder pressing down and slightly rotating it counter-clockwise, causing A to drop to the floor

Note: The photographer took this photo from a different angle from the previous photo.

III. “Police” Hold 2

1. A tries to punch B with his right hand 2. B uses both hands to pull A’s right hand forward and downward See previous photo for the beginning part of this movement.
3. B steps forward and turns himself 180º, while simultaneously grabbing A’s right hand with his right hand and bending it backward. Optional: B can also use his right foot to trip or sweep A’s right leg back 4. B uses his left hand to push A’s head toward ground, and simultaneously puts A’s right hand to top of A’s back. Optional: B uses his left hand to grab A’s left hand and also puts it on top of A’s back

Note: The photographer took the above two photos from a different angle from the photo in Box 3.

IV: “Police” Hold 3

1. A tries to punch B with his right fist 2. B steps to his left and deflects A’s right fist with his right hand, and immediately turns 180º so B is now facing the same direction as A
3. B uses his right hand to grab A’s right hand/fist and bend A’s right hand back toward his body, and simultaneously slips his left hand under A’s right hand and grab A’s right hand/fist. This locks A’s right elbow just below B’s left shoulder 4. B uses his left hand or uses both hands to squeeze A’s right hand/fist, causing great pain on A’s right wrist

V. Take Down 1

1. A tries to punch or swing at B with his right hand 2. B blocks A’s punch/swing with his left hand from the inside, and uses his left hand to grab A’s right hand and pull it forward and then up above A’s head
3. B puts his right hand on back of A’s neck and pushes A’s head down 4. Simultaneously B raises his right knee to strike at A’s groin or chest or head

VI: Take Down 2

1. A tries to punch B with his right fist 2. B deflects A’s right hand from the inside with his left hand, and steps forward toward A with his left foot
3. B continues to push A’s right hand toward A’s back. Note: In Step #2, B could also step forward with his right foot if his left foot is already far in front 4. Simultaneously B uses his right hand to chop at A’s neck. Optional: B also brings his right leg forward and swings backward to sweep A’s right foot off the ground

VII: Countering Grab by Twisting Neck

A: Breaking Grab Around Waist

1. A lunges and grabs B’s body around the waist with A’s head on B’s right (left) side 2. B puts both hands around A’s head with left (right) hand on top and right (left) hand on bottom, and twists A’s neck counter-clockwise (clockwise), causing great pain for A, including possibly breaking A’s neck if the twisting force is strong enough

Warning: One has to be very careful practicing this technique, because serious injury can occur when twisting someone’s neck.

B. Breaking Grab Around Leg

1. A lunges and grabs one of B’s legs with A’s head on B’s right (left) side 2. B puts both hands around A’s head with left (right) hand on top and right (left) hand on bottom, and twists A’s neck counter-clockwise (clockwise), causing great pain for A, including possibly breaking A’s neck if the twisting force is strong enough

Warning: One has to be very careful practicing this technique, because serious injury can occur when twisting someone’s neck.

VIII: Countering Leg Kick

A. Pushing Leg Back

1. A tries to kick B with his right leg 2. B lowers both hands and then grabs and raises A’s right leg
3. B continues to raise A’s right leg to chest high and then pushes A’s right leg straight back, causing A to fall backward

B. Twisting Foot

1. A tries to kick B with right leg 2. B lowers both hands and then grabs and raises A’s right leg, and also pulls A’s right leg slightly back
3. B puts one hand near top of A’s right toes and puts the other hand on the bottom of B’s right heel, and then rotate A’s right foot clockwise, causing A to lose his balance

IX. Defending Against Straight Knife Attack

1. A tries to stab B with a knife in his right hand 2. B uses his left hand to hold and deflect A’s right arm to B’s right See previous photo
3. Almost simultaneously B uses his right hand to grab A’s right hand and push it up to B’s left and also rotate it counter-clockwise 4. This should cause great pain in A’s right wrist and probably also cause A to drop knife

X. Defending Against Overhead Knife Strike

1. With knife in his right hand, A tries to hit B on the head or upper body with an overhead knife strike. B steps forward with his left foot and uses his right hand to intercept and grab A’s right hand. 2. B pulls A’s right hand slightly back toward B, and then up and around in a counter-clockwise direction.

3. Simultaneously B brings his right leg forward and then sweeps A’s right leg back toward B, and then uses both hands to turn A’s body counter-clockwise 4. This should cause A to fall backward. Note: In Step #2, B could also step forward with his right foot if his left foot is already far in front

I would like to thank Henry Hom for taking the photos and Eric Tow for being my demonstration partner. I also want to thank Master Wang Feng-Ming for teaching me the Qin Na techniques, but any inaccuracies are mine.

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