Hand Immobilization Attack (HIA)

Hand Immobilization Attack, or HIA , is an attacking action which momentarily immobilizes or “traps” either one or both of the opponent’s arms, allowing your hit to score in an open line, or drawing a reaction which can then be countered with either another trap, or by shifting into another  aspect such as punching or grappling.


Also referred to as “trapping hands,” its lineage can is traceable to Wing Chun Gung Fu, the original style of martial art Bruce Lee studied. However, while the trapping used in JKD may be rooted in Wing Chun, it was modified by Lee through research and his extensive knowledge of body mechanics and motion. 

Trapping allows you to maneuver the opponent's arms where you want them, and forces them to give you a reaction which will be to their own detriment. They may not want to give you the reaction, but they have no other choice. If they don't, they'll get hit. Trapping the hand can also make it difficult for an opponent to parry by confusing them. This type of attacking action can work exceptionally well against many of the conventional "touch-and-go" or "block-and-hit" martial art systems.

Hand Immobilization actions can be used for both (a) attack and (b) counterattack.

"Trapping from the nucleus outward" --  

In jeet kune do, Hand Immobilization Attack is trained from what we call “the nucleus outwards.” By nucleus, we mean that the opponent is already in range and we have an attachment against one or both of his arms. This is done in order to learn what trapping actions are available to you in each of the various arm positions and how to execute the actions without any wasted motion or without telegraphing of your intentions.

Once you become proficient at executing the trapping actions from an attached position, you move to gaining those various positions, either through an action on your part, or through an opponent's action.

"Trapping from an unattached position" --

Certain trapping actions can also be used without first gaining any form of attachment. This is referred to as “trapping from unattached position.” Economical motion and perfect timing are essential for this method of trapping. Without any give-away motion, you must move first your hands, then your feet, in a progressive, harmonious, forward-surging motion that literally “jumps the opponent’s consciousness.”

"Crashing the opponent's 'real estate'" --

Sometimes, you may find yourself facing an opponent who either refuses to allow you to engage your arms because he is afraid of being trapped, or who prefers to fight with what is known in Western fencing as “absence of touch.” In order to use any form of immobilization attack against this type of opponent you either have to be able to trap well from unattached positions, use feints and false attacks to draw some kind of reaction and engage the tool, or “crash the opponent’s real estate,” by hitting directly into his arms to draw an involuntary reaction.


1) Develop your grip strength to highest possible level.


2) Develop or enhance your tactile awareness through various energy/sensitivity training exercises.

3) Develop your technical application of various trapping actions to highest possible level.


4) Keep in mind the purpose of the trap, which is to deceive the opponent for a split-second to either land a hit or draw a reaction so you can use to the opponent’s detriment.

6) Remember that hands move first, then feet. (The gap between your hand and foot motions is only a fraction of a second and should not be discernible by the opponent).

7) Make sure to keep yourself well-covered while closing the distance to trap. Maintain good balance and keep your movements tight and compact in order to prevent the opponent from escaping or countering you.

8) Be aware and alert for any attempt by the opponent to stop-hit or counter-attack you in the midst of trapping.

9) Cut into the opponent’s tool to trap and to help stop prevent any counter.

10) Control your position to allow you to angle-strike when the opponent opens up or backs up. By using feints and false attacks with your trapping you can ensure greater safety and increase your chances of success.

11) Maintain the trap for the necessary amount of time so as to prevent the opponent from using the arm which was immobilized from escaping or countering you.

12) Get your body behind your trapping motions by either taking a small forward step or using a very small body-drop to increase power.

13) Use “constant forward pressure” against the opponent. This pressure cannot be seen, only felt. It’s like water finding its way through the smallest crack as it seeks any opening through which to flow. No matter whether the opponent attempts to retreat or advance, he feels an attached tension against his arms at all time, which affects his motions and restricts his actions.

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