Flight To Freedom (Purple #24)

Technique: Flight To Freedom
Attack: Rear Right Arm Hammerlock
Attack Direction: 6:00
Web of Knowledge: Locks & Chokes
Family Group: Locks
Official (24 Tech) Location: Purple #24
32 Tech Location: Purple #17
16 Tech Location: Blue #16
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: Passing The Horizon

Flight To Freedom is the 24th and final technique required to obtain your purple belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Flight to Freedom is a defense against a right arm hammerlock, 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.

The main theme of this technique is simply that your opponent can block your counters. This is a very valuable concept and it is vital that you be aware that your opponent may very well be aware of your potential counter moves and may block any of them.  Specifically for this technique, Flight to Freedom serves as a backup technique to Locked Wing. As you attempt the initial strike of Locked Wing, the elbow strike, your opponent blocks this strike.  You then make use of counter manipulation as you take “flight” from your opponent. It is this flight that disturbs your opponent’s balance and allows you to rebound into action.

The Technique


In the ideal phase your opponent is directly behind you (6:00).  He is applying a hammerlock to your right arm with his right hand (palm up).  It is assumed that your opponent anticipates your elbow strike and is either checking your left shoulder or intercepts your elbow strike.


Flight to Freedom – defense for a right hammer lock.

  • Step 1
    • Step back with your left foot toward 5:00 into a transitional right neutral bow stance.
    • Counter grab your opponent’s hand with your right hand,
  • Step 2
    • Pivot counter clockwise into a left neutral bow stance facing 6:00
    • Attempt to deliver a left outward horizontal elbow strike to your opponent’s face.
  • Step 3
    • Turn clockwise and step toward 1:30 into a right reverse cat stance
    • Pull your opponent’s right arm forward and downward with your right hand.
  • Step 4
    • Deliver a right thrusting back heel kick to your opponent’s right ribcage.
  • Step 5
    • Plant your right foot toward 7:30
    • Pivot clockwise into a right neutral bow stance.
    • Twist your opponent’s right arm clockwise in a tight circle,
    • Left hand covers.
  • Step 6
    • Deliver a left front thrusting ball kick to your opponent’s left inner knee.
  • Step 7
    • Plant your left foot toward 10:30 in front of your right foot forming a right rear twist stance facing 4:30,
    • Deliver a left hammering heel palm strike to your opponent’s right elbow.
  • Step 8
    • Complete your left front crossover and cover out toward 10:30.


  • What if…
    • your opponent’s right hand is palm down?
    • your opponent applies the hammerlock with his left hand?
    • your opponent’s right leg is forward?
    • your opponent’s left leg is forward?
    • your opponent’s left leg steps forward with yours?
    • your opponent’s left hand is grabbing your hair?
    • you are unable to step forward?


  • As you twist your opponent’s right arm, be sure that you do so using small circles.  Remember “the bigger the circle the bigger the mistake”.
  • When practicing, students often use big circles because they feel jammed.  Be sure to use your back kick to move your partner back in order to unjam yourself.
  • When practicing, develop spontaneity by having your partner attack and then responding with either Locked Wing or Flight to Freedom depending on whether or not your partner blocks your elbow.
  • While practicing, once you have your partner’s arm turned over investigate the possibilities of other joint locks. A perfect example is to flow into the lock applied in Spiraling Twig.
  • As mentioned above, being the last technique in Purple Belt, Flight to Freedom teaches a valuable lesson; your opponent may be aware of your moves and may block them.  This is the perfect time to review all techniques with a partner and experiment with blocking all of  the initial counters in the techniques to practice “Formulating”.  Your ability to formulate may be the determining factor in a street situation.

Additional Information


In this technique after delivering a rear elbow strike technique you attempt to flee or take flight. This deception of flight is what leads you to freedom, thus the name Flight to Freedom.

Basics & Maneuvers

  • Left Reverse Step Through
  • Transitional Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Left Neutral Bow Stance
  • Left Outward Horizontal Elbow Strike
  • Left Forward Step Through
  • Right Reverse Cat Stance
  • Right Thrusting Back Kick
  • Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Left Front Thrusting Ball Kick
  • Right Rear Twist Stance
  • Left Hammering Heel Palm Strike
  • Left Front Crossover
  • Cover Out


  • Face (missed)
  • Right Wrist
  • Right Ribcage
  • Left Inner Knee
  • Right Elbow

Concepts & Principles

  • Anchor
  • Angle of Alignment
  • Angle of Cancellation
  • Angle of Disturbance
  • Angle of Execution
  • Angle of No Return
  • Borrowed Force
  • Catapulting
  • Complimentary Angle
  • Continuity of Motion
  • Controlling Checks
  • Counter Manipulation
  • Leveraging
  • Marriage of Gravity
  • Momentum
  • Opposing Forces
  • Positional Checks
  • Pivoting
  • Torque
  • With
  • Zones of Protection

Related Techniques

  • Locked Wing (O-17)
  • Cross of Destruction (P-23)
  • Crossed Twigs (B-15)
  • Gripping Talon (B-20)
  • Encounter With Danger (G-2)
  • Thrust Into Darkness (3Br-2)
  • Intellectual Departure

Historical Notes

  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal indicated…
    • stepping back into a modified right neutral bow stance (because you are on the ball of your left foot).
    • having your left foot step through to 2:00.
    • planting your right foot back into a right reverse cat stance after your rear kick.
    • planting your left foot toward 11:00 after the front snapping ball kick.
    • the angle of departure as 11:00.

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

FLIGHT TO FREEDOM (hammer lock)

  1. With feet together and opponent locking your right arm,  step back and to your right to 5 o’clock with your left foot (on the ball of your left foot) into a modified right neutral bow as your right hand counter grabs your opponent’s right wrist using this stance as a transition only.
  2. Without any hesitation pivot your entire body counter clockwise into a left neutral bow (or horse stance depending on circumstance) as you attempt to deliver a left outward elbow strike to opponent’s face which is blocked.
  3. Immediately have your left foot step through to 2 o’clock (into a right reverse cat stance) as your right arm straightens and continues to grab opponent’s right wrist; pulling in so that the principle of opposing forces is employed.
  4. From your right reverse cat, deliver a right thrusting back heel kick, using mainly the bottom portion of the heel to opponents, right ribcage and plant your right foot more to the left   again into a right reverse cat stance. Immediately pivot your entire body clockwise (facing 7 o’clock) as you twist your opponent’s right arm clockwise with the assistance of your right hand.
  5. Follow-up with a left snapping ball kick to opponent’s left inner knee.
  6. Without planting your left foot, have it cross in front of your right foot (into a left front twist stance) to 11 o’clock while using your left heel of palm strike to break back of opponents right elbow, and cover out to 11 o’clock.

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