Spiraling Twig (Purple #22)

Technique: Spiraling Twig
Attack: Rear Bear Hug, Arms Free
Attack Direction: 6:00
Web of Knowledge: Hugs & Holds
Family Group: Holds & Hugs: Bear Hugs
Official (24 Tech) Location: Purple #22
32 Tech Location: Purple #15
16 Tech Location: Purple #14
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: Spiraling Wrist

Spiraling Twig is the 22nd required technique to obtain your purple belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Spiraling Twig is a defense for a rear bear hug with your arms free, placing it in the Hugs & Holds category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Bear Hugs Family Group in the Holds & Hugs of the family groups Grappling division.

This technique introduces you to the proper use of joint lock manipulations, in particular it places emphasis on the correct angle of execution on wrist locks, the use of small circles when twisting an opponent’s weapon, the amplification of twists through the proper use of contouring and body momentum and maintaining control over your opponent’s leverage points.

The Technique


In the ideal phase your opponent is directly behind you (6:00). He applies a bear hug around your waist with his right hand on top of his left. Your arms are free.  It is assumed that your opponent’s legs are too far apart to be able to cat around (c-step) them.


Spiraling Twig – defense for a rear bear hug, arms free.

  • Step 1
    • Step toward 3:00 with your right foot to form a horse stance,
    • deliver right and left inward middle knuckle strikes to the back of your opponent’s hands,
    • Drop your elbows to pin both of your opponent’s arms.
    • Grab your opponent’s right hand with both hands, making sure that your thumbs are on top (back of your opponent’s hand) and your fingers are inside his palm.
  • Step 2
    • Step toward 1:30 with your left foot to form a left neutral bow stance,
    • Start twisting your opponent’s wrist clockwise,
    • Pivot clockwise as you execute a right reverse step through into a left neutral bow stance, facing 7:30.
    • Continue twisting your opponent’s right wrist clockwise in a tight circle close to your body,
    • Apply the wrist lock.
  • Step 3
    • Pull the opponent’s right arm past your right hip.
    • Deliver a right front snapping ball kick to your opponent’s right ribs..
  • Step 4
    • Plant your right foot forward to form a right neutral bow stance facing 7:30,
    • Deliver a right underhand stiff-arm back knuckle to your opponent’s face
    • Your left hand checks your opponent’s right arm.
  • Step 5
    • Execute a right front crossover and cover out toward 1:30.


  • What if….
    • your opponent’s arms are around your chest?
    • your opponent’s left hand is over his right hand?
    • your opponent lifts you off the ground?
    • your opponent drags you to the ground?
    • your opponent does not loosen his hands as you strike them?
    • your opponent steps with you as you step toward 1:30?
    • a second opponent throws a punch from the front?
    • you are unable to step toward 3:00?
    • you are unable to step forward?
    • your hands slip as you attempt to apply the wrist lock?


  • Practice being as accurate as possible with your middle knuckle strikes and time them with your horse stance to benefit from marriage of gravity.
  • Be sure to keep your opponent’s right hand close to your body to maintain control. When practicing take note of the best ways to control your opponent’s right arm as well as the possibility of turning him over.
  • While you have the wrist lock applied, be sure to keep your opponent’s hand above his shoulder.
  • When Planting forward with your right foot, try to check your opponent’s left knee.
  • Practice flowing into other locks from the wrist lock or attempted wrist lock. In the event that your opponent’s elbow bends during the technique, you will need to back it up with another type of lock.

Additional Information


In American Kenpo the term “Twig” is used to represent the arm. In this technique you spiral your opponent’s right arm into a wrist lock as you move out of your opponent’s bear hug. This spiraling action against the right arm (twig) gives us the name Spiraling Twig.

Basics & Maneuvers

  • Right Side Step Through
  • Horse Stance
  • Dual Inward Middle Knuckle Strikes
  • Left Forward Step Through
  • Left Neutral Bow Stance
  • Right Reverse Step Through
  • Inward Wrist Lock
  • Right Front Snapping Ball Kick
  • Right Stiff Arm Lifting Back Knuckle Strike
  • Right Front Crossover
  • Cover Out


  • Back of the Hand (metacarpals, median nerve)
  • Forearms (brachialis muscle, radial nerve)
  • Right Wrist (Elbow and Shoulder included as well)
  • Right Rib Cage
  • Left Knee
  • Face

Concepts & Principles

  • Anchor
  • Angle of Cancellation
  • Angle of Disturbance
  • Angles of Execution
  • Backup Mass
  • Body Momentum
  • Borrowed Force
  • Center of Mass
  • Clearing Check
  • Contouring
  • Hugging Pin
  • Jerking
  • Locking
  • Marriage of Gravity
  • Pinning Check
  • Positional Check
  • Pivot
  • Point of Origin
  • Stabilize Your Base
  • Twirl

Related Techniques

Historical Notes

  • In the 1975 Accumulative Journal, Spiraling Twig was Purple Belt technique #23.
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal indicates all of your 1:30 angles as 2:00 and your 7:30 angle as 8:00.
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal indicates a 2:00 angle of departure.

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

SPIRALING TWIG (rear bear hug — arms free)

  1. With feet together, Step to your right with your right foot (to 3 o’clock) into a horse as your right and left middle fingers strike to the back of opponent’s top hand or hands (depending on the type of grab) immediately dropping both elbows to pin opponent’s arms. Without hesitation follow-up by grabbing opponent’s right hand with your right and left hand with thumbs on top and fingers inside of opponent’s palm.
  2. Have your left foot step forward to 2 o’clock (while starting a counter clockwise wrist twist; with your right elbow still pinning) and pivot your right foot clockwise and back (into a left neutral bow facing 8 o’clock) as both of your hands continue to twist opponent’s right wrist clockwise.
  3. Deliver a right snapping ball kick to right ribs of opponent while guiding opponent’s right arm past your right hip and still maintaining wrist twist.
  4. As you plant your right foot forward (into a right neutral bow facing 8 o’clock) have your left hand check your opponent’s right elbow by pushing it down and out of the way past the right hip as you deliver a right underhand stiff arm back knuckle strike to opponent’s face or temple (depending upon how the head is positioned).
  5. Right front crossover and cover out to 2 o’clock.

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