I've seen "create a frame" on many martial arts websites, but what does this signify?

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The working concept is that you can create a frame with your arms and use the strength of your legs to press or support your body weight to such a position where your free leg can move forward and backward and your free arm can reach, push, pull, or manipulate an object. In a way, this mimics the architecture of a swing set on a playground in that there is a supporting structure in place to allow mobility within the structure.

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Front Choke

The two handed front choke attack is a very dangerous attack, especially if you are caught off guard by someone who is much bigger and stronger than you. If you are in this position, the first thing you are going to do is step back and clap your hands to create a wedge with your arms. You are then going to use the power from your legs to break their arms free from your neck. Clear their hands and then grab their shoulder and elbow with your back arm and grab them with both hands to create a frame and knee them anywhere on their center line i.e. chest, stomach, groin.

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The guy will hold the headlock but if you create a frame with your hands on his chin or throat and push, he will let go and you have side control.

2 Answers 2


It means to create a rigid posture with your limbs against the opponent so that when they push against you your arms/legs do not collapse, closing the distance, but remain straight.

This is analogous to the "frame" of e.g. the legs of a table, which support the weight above it not through active effort ('strength'), but by their inherent rigid structure and positioning.

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Frame with arms Frame with leg
  • A frame need not be with straight arms or legs. You can equally (or better) frame with bent limbs, as in a knee shield.
    – mattm
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 15:25
  • @mattm thanks, have reworded it slightly. Commented May 24, 2021 at 10:12

Brazo's explication is similar to how tai chi is applied while standing. Sinking of the joints, "emptying" and "rooting" (stances) is how this is effected in that system.

You see the general concept across martial arts because all genuine martial arts reduce to "physics and physiology".

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