Their initial attack is neutralized by delivering a front snap kick to the groin (one legged stance of the crane and unfurling snapping kick of the crane), a counter grab tendon lock using the crane hand, and an arm lock using the crane wing. The end result is my opponent is now folded and their position controlled. Crane is the controlling animal (yes, I am aware that a grappling aspect of snake "strategy" has been applied as well) but not only are the tools (elbows and kicks) of the crane animal employed but the entire energetic model of the folding and unfurling aspect of the crane has been used. Although the overall aspect of constrictor snake is to "grab, choke, and lock" does not imply that the remaining four animals are completely devoid of any grappling aspect.
Lesson One: The pinning check as we front kick is a subtle and valuable tool. By slightly dropping my weight while pulling down quickly (but only a couple of inches -- if you pull too far you will be in the way of your front kick and will change a quick jerk into an elongated pull) I temporarily shift their weight forward canceling their height zone so that it is difficult for them to kick me or block my front kick with a leg block of their own.
Lesson Two: The crane hand counter grab tendon lock. If the attacker's right arm is mostly extended this lock will have no immediate effect but will serve as the bracing point for the upcoming elbow lock. The technique in the "ideal phase" accepts this point of origin as the premise. If their arm is significantly bent the tendon lock will drop your opponent rapidly to their knees in pain and the rest of the technique will no longer be necessary. A knee to the sternum would suffice. Tip -- for this tendon lock to be succeed your left hand applying the pinning check must maintain adequate pressure to prevent any rotation of their right hand that would reduce the effect of the lock. This wiggle room allows a significant reduction in pain and thus cannot be allowed.
Lesson Three: The crane wing to lock the elbow joint. Unlike a conventional arm bar where pressure is placed directly above the elbow joint by the blade of the forearm as it contacts perpendicular to the plane of the arm you are attacking, this crane wing lock (left forearm contact point) diagonally traverses their arm putting pressure below the elbow joint but because of the angle of our pressure (imagine drawing a line through their elbow to the inside of their back left knee) and the winching affect of our pinning check of the left hand and right crane hand pulling slightly up and back into our body, these combined forces produce dramatic control over our opponent's position with a relatively small amount of movement. Incidentally, this same action is also demonstrated in kata in section four, movement five, of the Tiger-Crane Form. It is an example of a lock created through the process of the folding into the crane wing. The process of folding is crucial to understanding this action -- if you do not wedge them into this folding process but simply form an elbow and strike the attacker in the forearm you will have a weak lock that lacks the crane style of energy.
Lesson Four: "More than one way to skin a cat." Having achieved control over our opponent's position we now have many options before us. This technique chooses to maintain control by exploring two additional ways of locking the elbow joint (and thus controlling our attacker's position). The first of these follow up methods is a classic arm bar performed from a twist stance. (This style of arm bar is described in some detail in the paragraph above and most typically is used by the constrictor snake). The change of angle taken when using the twist stance is based on moving with the attacker's resisting energy and force fighting against the lock. If the attacker is not putting pressure against you but is complying to the hold, this action would not be necessary and I would continue my pressure and control on the line of attack I had already established.
The second elbow control used can also be used by the snake but quite often is used by dragon as well -- which is a push down block applied to the joint directly while maintaining counter pressure on the wrist with the arm elongated.
METHODS OF DRILL:
1. Practice the technique on both sides. One of the principal aims of the technique is to compare and contrast different methods of locking your opponent's elbow and it is important to learn these locks on both sides of our body. (Again, in "real world" application if a guy grabs my left wrist with his left wrist I will most likely punch him in the nose with my right fist instead!)
2. Drill the technique with more bend in the attacker's arm so the initial tendon lock can be practiced.
3. Pick each of the three elbow locking methods (crane wing, arm bar, push down block) and practice using each of these for every lock applied in the technique to compare and contrast how different stance and position works with each of the methods.
4. Practice eliminating the initial front kick if you are able to apply the counter grab/lock quick enough in the early stages of the technique. If you fail in the counter grab/lcok, than apply the front kick as an after thought for when resistance is met and continue onward with the technique from there.
5. Explore using this technique to seize and control an opponent who has blocked your strike. For example, you are both in a right lead and your right back knuckle to the head is blocked. You stick (do not retract back) to their block and immediately apply the controlling wing technique.
6. Explore using this technique from the ground. You are on your back with an opponent mounted on you and trying to punch you in the face. From your right outward parry to their right cross you apply this lock and further add to the winching affect by rolling with the lock to your right side. Play with even parrying with a left inward parry and applying this lock without the assistance of your right hand. A critical skill if that right hand is not available.
WHAT IS IN A NAME? The crane's wing (particularly the affect of folding into the wing) lock's my opponent's elbow and controls their position.