Bow of Compulsion (Purple #18)

Technique: Bow of Compulsion
Attack: Front Wrist Lock Pinned Against The Chest
Attack Direction: 12:00
Web of Knowledge: Locks & Chokes
Family Group: Locks
Official (24 Tech) Location: Purple #18
32 Tech Location: Purple #5
16 Tech Location: Blue #12
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique:

Bow of Compulsion is the 18th required technique to obtain your purple belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Bow of Compulsion is a defense against a front wrist lock against the chest, placing it in the Locks & Chokes category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Locks Family Group in the Chokes & Locks category of the family groups Grappling division.

In Bow of Compulsion you learn the value of reverse motion. Reversing moves already learned for one situation provides a defense for another. Throughout this technique you will couple reverse motion with other principles in order to defend yourself.

The Technique


In the ideal phase your opponent is directly in front of you (12:00), you attempt to push your opponent away with your right hand and he grabs your right hand with both hands and pins it to his chest and proceeds to apply a front wrist lock in order to force you to your knees.

In this situation your palm is against your opponent’s chest and your fingers are pointing upwards. As your opponent bends forward your fingers are bent backwards inflicting pain in your right fingers, wrist and forearm. This forces your body to begin bending forward and drop to your knees rendering you incapable of defending yourself.


Bow of Compulsion – defense for a front wrist lock pin.

  • Step 1
    • Pin the opponent’s hands with your left hand checking diagonally across them,
    • Step toward 12:00 with your right foot to form a right neutral bow stance,
    • Deliver a right vertical thrusting elbow strike to your opponent’s groin or solar plexus.
  • Step 2
    • Maintain your left hand guarding diagonally,
    • Drop into a right wide kneel stance with your back straight,
    • Rake your opponent’s testicles with a right downward vertical heel palm claw.
  • Step 3
    • Deliver a right underhand reverse handsword strike to your opponent’s groin.
  • Step 4
    • Deliver a right outward downward diagonal back knuckle strike to the inside of your opponent’s left knee.
  • Step 5
    • Pivot counter clockwise into a right reverse close kneel stance,
    • Deliver a right inward downward diagonal hooking punch to the inside of your opponent’s right knee.
  • Step 6
    • Right front crossover and cover out toward 7:30.


  • What if…
    • your opponent forces you to your knees?
    • your opponent grabs your wrist with one hand?
    • your opponent attempts to kick you with his right leg while pinning your hand?
    • your opponent attempts to kick you with his left leg while pinning your hand?
    • you have something in your left hand/arm?
    • you are unable to free your right hand?


  • Make sure that you pin your opponent’s hands with your left in order to prevent action taken against you.
  • Note that you are relieving the pressure of the lock while you simultaneously counter your opponent’s aggression.
  • Ensure that your claw goes as low as your opponent’s knees in order to set up your reverse handsword strike.
  • Steps four and five should be one continuous motion in a figure eight pattern.


  • Some schools modify the first step by pinning and executing the elbow strike as they step forward and drop into a close kneel stance as the elbow strikes its target.
  • Some schools have chosen to end the technique with the upward handsword strike; note that the base technique does not end here.

Additional Information


The manner in which the wrist lock is applied to your wrist is quite aggressive and compels you to bow forward in compliance. This gives us the name Bow of Compulsion.

Basics & Maneuvers

  • Right Front Step Through
  • Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Right Downward Vertical Thrusting Elbow Strike
  • Right Wide Kneel Stance
  • Right Downward Vertical Heel Palm Claw
  • Right Reverse Handsword Strike
  • Right Outward Downward Back Knuckle
  • Right Reverse Close Kneel Stance
  • Right Inward Downward Hooking Punch
  • Right Front Crossover
  • Cover out


  • Solar Plexus
  • Groin
  • Left Inner Knee
  • Right Inner Knee

Concepts & Principles

  • Angle of Contact
  • Angle of Disturbance
  • Backup Mass
  • Bracing Angle
  • Collapsing Strike
  • Continuity of Motion
  • Contouring
  • Depth Penetration
  • Figure Eight Pattern
  • Fitting
  • Marriage of Gravity
  • Nip the Tip
  • Obscure Zones
  • Open Ended Triangle
  • Pinning Check
  • Pressing Check
  • Reverse Motion

Related Techniques

Historical Notes

  • In the 1975 Accumulative Journal, Bow of Compulsion was Purple Belt Technique #13.
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal lists the angle of departure as 7:00.

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

BOW OF COMPULSION (front wrist lock – against chest)

  1. With opponent pinning your right hand against his chest and with your feet parallel to each other, step forward (to 12 o’clock) with your right foot (right neutral bow) and use a right vertical elbow strike down to opponent’s solar plexus or groin, depending on the height of the opponent, as your left hand checks diagonally across opponent’s hands.
  2. With your left hand still guarding diagonally, drop down into a right wide kneel (keeping your back erect) as you drop your right hand down, raking opponent’s testicles with a right heel palm claw and immediately following up with a right underhand reverse handsword to opponent’s groin
  3. Immediately deliver a right hanging back fist to opponent’s left inner knee followed with a right inner hooking knuckle punch to opponent’s right inner knee.
  4. Cross your right foot in front of your left leg while you’re still kneeling and get up as you cover out to 7 o’clock..

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