Welcome to part five of If Submission Moves Were Real. Today, the submission hold is going to be the Camel Clutch.
The Camel Clutch is a submission move made famous by the Iron Sheik. This move helped him become world champion.
As with all the previous moves in this series, remember: We are not looking at how hard or easy it would be to apply or escape from the hold.
We are trying to learn about what would happen to the body if full force was applied to the hold.
The move begins with the opponent laying face down on the mat. The applier straddles the body of the opponent.
The applier puts each arm of the opponent across his legs. He then grabs the head of his opponent, applying a chin-lock. Once all this is done, the applier sits down on the back of the opponent.
The person applying the hold can inflict a large amount of damage, depending on how far he pulls back on his opponent.
Almost all the pressure of the hold lies in the spine, from the neck all the down to the lumbar part.
As you can see in the picture, the spine has natural curves to it. The view in the picture above would be how the spine would be with an opponent who is laying face down.
Try and picture in your head a person sitting on the lower half of the spine, and pulling up on the upper half.
If Full Force was Applied
When the spine is pulled in the direction, the vertebrae in the thoracic (middle) section will begin to pull away from each other.
Between each vertebra lies discs that are used as cushions and shock absorbers. These discs will begin to pull away from the vertebra they are attached to.
As the person pulls back more on the spine, the discs will start to herniate and rupture.
While the discs are rupturing and vertebrae are being pulled apart, nerves that attach to each vertebra will begin to be stretched. Once they reach the point of not being able to stretch any further, they will begin to tear. Once nerves are torn, they almost never can be repaired.
There would also be a chance for parts of the vertebra in the cervical (neck) spine to be fractured. These vertebrae are the smallest in the spine, and are fairly easy to break when the neck is pulled backwards into a position that goes beyond the normal range of motion.
Many of these potential injuries would be affected by a number of factors—the first one being the flexibility of the person trapped in the hold.
If a person has a natural flexibility, it allows their spine to bend more, allowing fewer chances of injury.
The second factor is the strength of the person applying the hold.
Because the person is pulling back on the head of the opponent, upper body strength would dictate how far they are able to pull back on the person.
The stronger they are, the further back they can bend the spine and the more damage they can do.
Whenever the spine is involved, there is always potential for career and life-altering injuries.
As I said earlier, if nerves become damaged, they almost never can be repaired. Many nerves attach at various points on the spine. These nerves affect different parts on the body. Depending on which nerves are injured the outcome could be serious, or not really noticeable.
Scott Steiner began using a variation of the Camel Clutch, calling it the Steiner Recliner. Since this move is very similar to the Camel Clutch, I felt it needed to be mentioned.
Steiner's variation of the hold begins with the same set-up. The main difference is that Steiner does not completely sit down on his opponents back. Steiner has so much upper body strength that does not need the added leverage of sitting on the back and cranking on the head.
Even though he does not sit all the way down, the pressure on his opponent is virtually the same as it would be in the Camel Clutch.
Next week, Part 6 will focus on the Ankle Lock.
For other parts of this series, click on the links below.
Other articles by Louie Babcock that may interest you:
25 Greatest Moments In WrestleMania History, available here
WrestleMania XXVIII, Inductors for the Hall of Fame Announced, available here.
Louie Babcock has over five years experience working in emergency medicine, and is studying biology and health science at the University or Minnesota.
Follow me on Twitter@Medic_Louie