Snapping Twig (EPAK Purple #2)

Technique: Snapping Twig
Attack: Front Left Hand Push
Attack Direction: 12:00
Web of Knowledge: Pushes
Family Group: Pushes
Official (24 Tech) Location: Purple #2
32 Tech Location: Orange #28
16 Tech Location: Purple #2
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: Snapping Twig

Snapping Twig is the 2nd required technique to obtain your purple belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Snapping Twig is a defense against a left hand direct push from the front, placing it in the Pushes category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Pushes Family Group in the family groups striking division.

Snapping Twig places a heavy emphasis on Opposing Forces which can be found in all but the last step.  The technique starts off by using opposing forces to create a fulcrum effect that negates and attacks your opponent’s primary weapon.  Next we use opposing forces by counter manipulating our opponent with a frictional pull and borrowing that force as we deliver our strike. Finally we use opposing forces to sandwich our opponent between two two simultaneous strikes.


Snapping Twig – defense for a left push.

  • Step 1
    • Step back toward 6:00 with your left foot to form a right neutral bow stance facing 12:00.
    • Deliver a left inward hooking heel palm strike to the inside of your opponent’s left wrist, pinning their left hand to your chest.
    • Deliver a right inward hooking heel palm strike to the outside of your opponent’s left elbow.
  • Step 2
    • Hook over over top of your opponent’s left arm with a right crane hand,
    • Shuffle forward (push-drag) toward 12:00,
    • Pull your opponent’s left arm downward and past your right hip,
    • Deliver a left thrusting handsword strike to the left side of your opponent’s neck.
  • Step 3
    • Continue the motion of your right arm in a counter clockwise direction,
    • Left hand maintains either a detaining check on your opponent’s neck or a sliding check down your opponent’s left arm,
    • Deliver a right inward downward diagonal raking hammerfist strike across the bridge of your opponent’s nose.
  • Step 4
    • Continue the counter clockwise motion of your right arm,
    • Shuffle forward (push-drag) toward 12:00,
    • Deliver a left inward horizontal heel palm strike to the right side of your opponent’s jaw,
    • Deliver a right inward horizontal elbow strike to the left side of your opponent’s jaw.
  • Step 5
    • Right front crossover and cover out toward 7:30.

Additional Information


In American Kenpo the term twig is used to represent the arm. In this technique your initial moves create a snapping effect on opponent’s left twig (arm) by hyper-extending the elbow, thus giving us the name Snapping Twig.


In the ideal phase your attacker is directly in front of you (12:00). He then proceeds to step forward with his left foot while pushing to your chest with his left hand.

A push is often stems from a verbal confrontation. Single arm pushes are usually meant to intimidate or knock the target off balance in preparation for a followup strike with the opposite arm. A technique like Snapping Twig aims to cancel any followup strikes in the initial move.

Basics & Maneuvers

  • Left Reverse Step Through
  • Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Left Inward Horizontal Heel Palm Strike
  • Right Inward Horizontal Heel Palm Strike
  • Right Forward Bow Stance
  • Right Hooking Crane Head Strike
  • Left Outward Thrusting Handsword Strike
  • Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Right Inward Downward Diagonal Raking Back Knuckle Strike
  • Forward Push-Drag Maneuver (Shuffle)
  • Left Inward Horizontal Heel Palm Strike
  • Right Inward Horizontal Elbow Strike


  • Inside Left Wrist
  • Outside Left Elbow
  • Left Side of the Neck (Brachial Plexus)
  • Bridge of the Nose
  • Left Jaw
  • Right Jaw

Concepts & Principles

  • Anchor
  • Angle of Cancellation
  • Angle of Disturbance
  • Backup Mass
  • Body Momentum
  • Borrowed Force
  • Continuity of Motion
  • Counter Manipulation
  • Frictional Pull
  • Fulcrum
  • Opposing Forces
  • Orbital Adjustment
  • Point of Origin
  • Rounding the Corners
  • Sandwiching
  • Sliding Check
  • Solidify your Base
  • Wrenching


  • What if …
    • your opponent steps forward with his right foot?
    • your opponent pushes you with both hands?
    • your opponent grabs you and pulls you with his left hand?
    • your opponent follows the push with a right punch?
    • you are unable to straighten your opponent’s arm on the initial strike?

Related Techniques

Historical Notes

  • Snapping Twig was Purple belt technique #4 in the 1975 Accumulative Journal
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal does not have you shuffle with the left heel palm strike and right inward horizontal elbow to the jaw.

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

SNAPPING TWIG (front left hand chest push)

  1. Standing with feet together, drop back with your left foot (to 6 o’clock) into a right neutral bow as you simultaneously hook in (to your left) with the heel of your right palm to outside of opponent’s left elbow joint while hooking In (to your right) with the heel of your left palm to inside of opponent’s left inner wrist (utilizing opposing forces) to cause an elbow break.
  2. Have your right hand (while forming the shape of the crane) hook opponent’s left arm counter clockwise and out (to your right) while simultaneously executing a left thrusting chop (palm down) directly to the throat of your opponent; this is done as you shuffle forward with a push drag maneuver. Without any loss of motion continue the counter clockwise motion of your right hand so that the knuckles of that hand executes an inward diagonal rake across the bridge of opponent’s nose in order to cause a break.
  3. Continue the same counter clockwise motion of your right arm and execute a right inward horizontal elbow strike to opponent’s left jaw as your left heel of palm strikes to opponent’s right jaw thus creating a sandwiching effect.


  • While this technique is for a left hand chest push, it is often incorrectly taught as a push to the right shoulder.  The technique works for a push to the right shoulder but the attack in the ideal phase calls for a push to the chest.


  • Step 2 is also taught with a clockwise pivot into a forward bow stance instead of a shuffle forward as the pulling downward of your opponent’s arm should bring them into proper striking range for your next move.
    • If you pivot clockwise into a right forward bow stance on step 2 then you must pivot counter clockwise into a right neutral bow stance on step 3
    • Keep in mind some of the following about the shuffle forward;
      • The shuffle will close the gap for the next strike in the event that you are unable to pull them enough with the hooking crane head.
      • The shuffle forward adds body momentum and backup mass to the power equation as you catapult your body forward.
      • It allows you to check/buckle your opponent’s knee.
    • Keep in mind some of the following about the pivots;
      • If your opponent stepped in far enough during the attack, the shift into a right forward bow can also serve to check/buckle the knee.
      • The pivot in the opposite direction of the handsword strike will speed up the execution of the handsword strike
      • Torque is generated and released for the raking hammerfist strike in step 3.
  • Step 4 is sometimes split into two distinct steps with pivoting clockwise at the waist or into a right forward bow with the left heel palm strike as step 1 followed by shuffling forward with the right inward horizontal elbow strike being the second.
    • This “may” stem from when this technique was on the orange belt sheet, thus a beginner level technique, to simplify the moves for novice students. With purple belt being an intermediate level in the 24 technique system there is no reason to not expect students to be able to double strike at this stage.
  • In Step 4, the shuffle forward is sometimes omitted as you will notice in the 1975 Accumulative Journal version.  As with step 2 it will assist in closing the gap as your back knuckle strike if executed properly and with force could put them out of range but it also adds another power building dimension to the strikes at this step.

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