Captured Twigs (EPAK Yellow #5)

Technique: Catured Twigs
Attack: Rear Bear Hug with Arms Pinned
Attack Direction: 6:00
Web of Knowledge: Holds and Holds
Family Group: Holds and Hugs: Bear Hugs
Official (24 Tech) Location: Yellow #5
32 Tech Location: Not found
16 Tech Location: Yellow #5
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: Japanese Strangle Hold

Captured Twigs is the 5th technique required to attain your Yellow Belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Captured Twigs is a defense against a rear bear hug, arms pinned placing it in the Hugs & Holds category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Bear Hug Family Group in the Hugs & Holds category of the Family Groups Grappling Division.

This will be the first technique that doesn’t retreat from the attack while defending as you are unable to. Instead you will step sideways, while dropping your weight as you learn to adapt to an otherwise overbearing attack and to recognize the availability of targets and weapons.


  • Step 1:
    • Step toward 9:00 with your left foot to form a horse stance,
    • Left hand pins the opponent’s hands,
    • Deliver a right back hammerfist strike to the groin.
  • Step 2:
    • Slide your right foot back as you face 3:00 to form a right 90° cat stance facing 3:00
    • With your left pinning hand, execute a left push down block to clear your opponent’s arms down and away from you
    • Deliver a right upwards snapping obscure elbow strike.
  • Step 3:
    • Immediately deliver a right heelstomping kick to the instep of the arch.
  • Step 4:
    • Cover toward 12:00.

Additional Information


Twigs is a symbolic term for arms. In this technique your arms are pinned against your body thus captured.  Hence the name Captured Twigs.


In the ideal phase, the attacker is directly behind you with his arms wrapped around you, pinning your arms against your body, near your biceps.

A bearhug is commonly used in the streets to give the attacker an advantage.  This advantage enables the attacker to pick you up and throw you, hold you down for others to attack you, squeeze you causing pain, discomfort and injury or simply to intimidate you.

Basics & Maneuvers Used

  • Horse Stance
  • Downward Back Hammerfist Strike
  • 90° Cat Stance
  • Push Down Block
  • Side Stomping Kick
  • Upward Snapping Vertical Obscure Elbow Strike


  • Groin
  • Chin
  • Inner Ankle/Top of Foot Arch

Concepts & Principles Taught

  • Borrowed Force
  • Contouring
  • Marriage of Gravity
  • Obscure Zone
  • Torque


  • What if …
    • your arms are free instead of pinned?
    • your left arm is pinned but your right arm is free?
    • your right arm is pinned but your left arm is free?
    • your opponent’s arms are at your shoulder level?
    • your opponent’s arms are at your waist level?
    • your opponent’s arms are around your throat?
    • your opponent picks you up off the ground before you plant down?
    • your hands are in your pocket when grabbed?
    • your hands are crossed in front of your chest as you are grabbed?
    • your feet are further apart than expected?

Related Techniques

  • Obscure Wing
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Squeezing the Peach
  • Spiraling Twig
  • Squatting Sacrifice

Historical Notes

  • Both the 1975 Accumulative Journal and the 1987 IKKA Studio Manuals have you deliver a right downward heel stomp to the attacker’s instep before the obscure elbow.
  • The 1987 IKKA Studio Manuals have you reset into a horse stance after the heel stomp, before executing the Obscure Elbow
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal and the 1987 IKKA Studio Manuals do not indicate an Angle of Departure

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

CAPTURED TWIGS  (rear bear hug around waist arms pinned)

  1. With feet together and opponent’s arms around you, step off left toward 9 o’clock with your left foot into a horse stance, as you simultaneously pin your opponent’s hands with your left  hand.
  2. Just as your weight settles into your horse stance execute a  right back hammer fist strike to the groin of your opponent.
  3. Immediately release your pinning hand and as you bring your right foot into a cat stance (90○ facing 3 o’clock) swing your  right hand around in front of your groin as a cover and a  clearing motion to spread your opponent’s arms, and at the same time lift your left hand up in front of your face to act as a position check if needed.
  4. Immediately execute a right stomp to arch of opponent’s left foot followed immediately by a right upward obscure elbow to the point of his chin. (this is a snapping motion as your arm should drop right back down to act as a cover for your groin).
  5. No cover out is required.

Unfinished Yellow Belt Manual by Ed Parker

CAPTURED TWIGS (rear – bear hug with arms pinned)

  1. Standing naturally, with your opponent’s arms around your arms, step to 9 o’clock with your left foot into a horse stance (while looking over your right shoulder), and simultaneously pin your opponent’s hands to your body with your left hand. Just as your weight settles into your horse stance, execute a right back hammerfist strike to your opponent’s groin. (This action should cause your opponent to bend forward at the waist, and possibly release his grasp.)
  2. Immediately slide your right foot into a right cat stance (turning 90 degrees while facing 3 o’clock) as your left hand releases the pin, clears your opponent’s right arm, and covers in front of your face as a positional check. Simultaneously with the action of your left arm have your right hand cover your groin, and proceed to clear your opponent’s left arm.
  3. Execute a right heel stomp kick to your opponent’s left instep, causing your opponent to bend forward even further.
  4. Slide your right foot back toward 3:00 into a horse stance. Immediately have your right forearm CONTOUR (track) up the middle of your opponent’s body as you execute a right vertical obscure elbow strike to the underside of your opponent’s chin. Have your right arm snap back after the strike, and cover your groin. (Your opponent’s head should have been popped up and back, and his body may also spin away from you if done properly.)




  1. Hello;

    I am a Kenpo Artist and seek to purchase the original Accumulative Journal form the 70’s Binder with or without the technique explinations, etc. And any other materials such as the 1970 technique books Orange thru Green.

    My e-mail is:

    thank you for reading ;

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