What is the Point of Trapping?
Some view trapping techniques as out-dated and no longer relevant. Some of this is because many arts that use trapping techniques never fully utilize its potential. Some of it is also due to the secrecy of the old Chinese masters who purposely hid the practical application from most of their students. This secrecy has stripped a lot of the effectiveness out of the techniques. One of our goals is to fully teach the combative applications of these mysterious and controversial techniques.
So, why do we continually work on trapping drills throughout our U.K.G.A. Fighting Systems curriculum?
Is it even useful anymore?
Before the uses of trapping are covered, the usefulness of the trapping range must be discussed. The trapping range is the fighting measure between the punching range and the clinch range. This range is primarily focused with self-defense. Most real fights start at this range. Most fights don't start with the attacker "squaring off" with the victim like in a boxing match. It starts with a surprise, and the victim only has a split moment to turn the attack around before being incapacitated by the assault at this very close range.
For self-defense, this range is invaluable. Even grapplers have to pass through this range before being able to take their opponents down to the ground. This range is too close for strikers with their kicks and punches to deliver with any real knock-out power. However, keep in mind that this range is where knees, elbow strikes, and even headbutts are very common.
The primary goal of a trapping technique is to control the opponent's body and their weapons. Trapping allows you not to just control their arms, but also their legs, their body structure, and even their spine. Taking away an opponent's structure also takes away a lot of their strength. There are many martial art styles that employ trapping techniques, but few actually utilize the grappling and body control aspects, which should be the main purpose of effective trapping.
Trapping techniques can also be thought of as the "glue" that melds the combat ranges together. One can start out at kicking range and enter into punching range. However, the opponent has the same ability to strike back with full power. When the opponent tries to exert energy to stop your attack, the trapping techniques can be used as a "bridge" to control your opponent effectively. Using the "sticky hands" and "center line" principles, one can nullify the efforts of an attacker. This sets up the attacker for either clinch range techniques such as knees and elbows, or even standing grappling techniques such as locks and throws.
Trapping techniques in of themselves do not end fights. Trapping can be used to control an attacker and also serve as a vehicle to deliver fight ending techniques before an attacker has the chance to cause you any more damage. Strong strikes, joint manipulations, and throws finish fights. Trapping helps to control an attacker, protect us from them, and then sets them up for our damaging and finishing techniques.