The 1,000-Year Lock

[This is a reprint of an article posted on the Martial Arts Planet Forum 09/11/2003]

Another training incident I feel compelled to write about was a situation where Manuel was teaching me to perform the 1,000 year lock. This was a very painful lesson indeed.

Manuel was hard of hearing, and he wore a hearing aide most of the time. However, it was not very practical to wear his hearing aide while we were practicing Judo throws, as you can well imagine. Manuel had taught me to say “matte”, or to slap my leg a few times if I ever felt too much pain wanted him to stop.During one memorable practice session Manuel performed a hip throw, then maneuvered me onto my stomach, then wrapped me up into the 1,000 year lock position. But he didn’t notice that my left arm and hand were trapped underneath my legs.

Manuel planted his knee deep into my back and neck, synching the lock. He was not getting any indication from me to stop, so he kept synching the lock, tighter and tighter. Tears of pain were streaming from my eyes; pain like I had never felt before.

I said his name a few times, and “ouch!” a few times, but I realized he couldn’t hear me. I tried my best not to cry out…I simply waited for him to let go. There wasn’t anything else I COULD do.After what seemed like an eternity, he finally released the lock and helped me up. He took one look at my face and grabbed my arms. He put his hearing aide back in and said, “Are you OK? You have a very great tolerance for pain!”

I remember trying my best to smile. I didn’t say a word. The lesson in this one; NEVER let your arm and hand get trapped during a side fall.##