As the hold is applied, I rotate slightly counter-clockwise (to my left) as I counter grab their hold with my right hand. This provides momentary leverage preventing the lock from being successfully completed. Obviously, my opponent will quickly change his position to adapt with the intent to continue the application of the lock but this delay will allow my counter hit to be launched: a left outward elbow targeted to his head (left temple). If it hits him -- bonus -- but if not it will cause him to evade (lean back) or block me with his free left arm. All three outcomes have the same important result: my opponent (whether he is getting hit, evading, or blocking) is not actively applying the hammerlock at this point due to my change of position while providing my counter strike. The next action is a left eagle talon strike/grab to the attacker's throat. A palm strike under the chin could be substituted if the situation called for a less violent solution. This strike (eagle talon or palm) combined with the stance shift to a left forward bow stretches my opponent back and allows me to transition from timing control (hitting the guy before he hits me) to positional control (even as the clock is ticking, my attacker is not in a good position now to offer a solid counter-attack.) I capitalize on his outstretched position and deliver a right knee to the groin. As I plant the right foot back to my bow the left returns back (if I maintain the eagle talon to the throat as I return the hand back I am applying the namesake move the techninque "plucking the apple (Adam's apple). My right hand delivers a palm thrust under the chin clearing my opponent away from me.
This technique is classified as a crane defense to a snake (grabbing) attack. Our initial wing (elbow strike) and its unfurling follow up strike as we shift to the forward bow controls the attacker's position. (NOTE: The target (throat) and weapon choice (eagle talon) does have a viper snake influence. Very commonly we will use aspects of both the controlling animal and the same animal, intra-animal control, in a technique.) The knee strike to the groin (one legged stance of the crane) furthers the crane influence but frankly once control was achieved any animal method could have been applied.
Lesson One: Use a circle to beat a circle. The hammerlock is two circles. The larger circle is the one we see that arcs the seized arm up their back toward the left shoulder blade (to lock the right shoulder). The smaller circle (without which a hammerlock would be an impotent attack anyways) is the small twist of the wrist that creates a secondary lifting action that greatly intensifies the pain in the victims right shoulder. We negate these two circles with our own two circles that move first "with" and then slightly ahead of our attacker's circles. The turning of the waist negates their big circle and counter grab negates their smaller circle. (NOTE: The counter grab cannot be properly applied without the waist turn. Just like their attack uses two circles that must work together so does our counter.)
Lesson Two: Axis of movement (sphere of influence). If our elbow is blocked by their left hand (a likely scenario unless our opponent is oblivious) then the technique changes the axis of our movement from the more linear outward elbow strike to a circular pulling motion that combines my left shoulder and the clockwise hip rotation that is done in transition to the forward bow used for the eagle talon strike. The structure (angle of support to block) that our opponent needs to stop the original elbow will be by default misaligned to resist the pulling action of our new axis of movement. Of course, a highly skilled fighter could adapt to this new line of movement and counter -- but an opponent with that level of skill would not attack you with a hammerlock... If they are that skilled and you are attacked from behind unwittingly then the fight will be over before you knew it began.
Lesson Three: Use a pulley to beat the bully. Imagine instead of having two separate arms you have one continuous arm. Your waist becomes the fulcrum point as the one connected arm, like a rope, functions as a pulley. As I rotate to my forward bow my right arm is pulling them into me (my right hand is holding their right hand because of the counter grab) while my left arm is pushing them away from me with the eagle talon (or palm option). This pulley action powered by the waist controls their position they are caught in this "coming and going" pairing of opposing forces.
Lesson Four: Returning motion. Once a hand goes forward it does not have to come back empty handed. Holding onto the throat while returning the hand back towards you creates damage in its own right and brings the target area (chin) into my next strike (palm).
METHODS OF DRILL:
1. Practice the technique on both sides and interspersed with other rear attack techniques. The success of this technique is based on the counter rotation and counter grab happening before your opponent completes the hold and locks/injures your right shoulder. By not knowing which arm is predictably being grabbed you will not only develop relevant coordination on both sides of your body but will have to make more of an honest reaction to turn the proper way when timing urgency is critical. Likewise, having a couple of other rear attacks thrown into the mix (i.e. #1 Wings of Entanglement and #6 Revolving Hammer) you can further drill the ability to make the reaction when you are not 100% expecting the attack.
2. Know your enemy. Practice the hammerlock and work how you may choose to make use of this attack yourself. Explore different contexts (a guy throws a right punch at me, I parry and move behind him while setting the hammerlock hold. Explore different ways to negate someone from being able to counter your hammerlock hold by collapsing their stance or using their head as a lever, etc.
3. Circle to beat circle drill: With your partner and in slow controlled motion, try to keep a continuous flow where one partner begins to apply a lock (wrist lock, arm bar, hammerlock, finger lock, etc.) and the other negates the lock by going with the energy and then altering the circle. Use that circle to create a new lock that now the other partner must negate. When this back and forth flow ends (because of long hesitation or somebody actually ends up in a lock) then restart fresh. It is very important to remember this is NOT a competition but an opportunity to work together to explore possibilities. Slow continuous flow is crucial for this drill to have any real benefit.
4. Multiple opponent variation. Adapt technique for a circumstance where another impending attacker is in front of you (12 o'clock).
5. Adapt technique for when you have no space in front of you because you are being forced against a wall while the hammerlock attempt is being applied.
WHAT IS IN A NAME? The returning motion of the eagle talon to the throat is the plucking of the (Adam's) apple.