The Modern Arnis joint lock flow, otherwise known as the “dance of pain,” is a standard flow exercise designed to teach the arnisador how to flow from one lock to the next in a seamless fashion. If done correctly, it’s a fun exercise but not so much for the uke.

Before a student gets to this point though, they need to learn the individual locks and understand how each lock works. Typically, locks are learned in isolation and without consideration of self defence application. In learning how to do joint locks, the student needs to learn proper positioning, appropriate torque, partner protocol, and much more. Once the student has learned the basic locks, we can then start working on the “dance of pain” flow drill.

What is the purpose of the “dance of pain” flow drill? The functional purpose behind it is the concept that once a manipulation of the opponent’s joint has reached a maximum range of motion, usually resulting in severe pain, the opponent will likely move or resist in a way as to render the joint lock ineffective. As a result, one needs to learn how to flow seamlessly into another joint lock. Thus, the dance of pain flow drill is designed to teach how to flow from one lock to the next in a prearranged sequence. It is primarily a learning tool, nothing more.

However, like any drill in Modern Arnis, there are varying levels of complexity in this drill. As Master Chuck Gauss and Master Ken Smith like to remind us, “hit to lock and lock to hit.” Basic hitting in between locks are introduced at some point as a finishing move as illustrated by Master Ken’s video.

Counter joint locks are also taught as well. If you are in the unfortunate position of being locked up, how do you counter it? The term “tapi tapi” does not necessarily refer to only stick work. Professor Presas extended the “tapi tapi” concept to every part of the art of Modern Arnis and this includes countering joint locks.

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