Donald Trump Handshake

It is fair to say that new US President Donald Trump is a man who divides opinion. On policy, personality, and the people around him, most of us have an opinion one way or the other. But there is one aspect of Donald Trump which pretty much everyone is in agreement over.

He has a weird handshake.

It’s amazing no-one has noticed this before given Trump’s longstanding high profile. But people first seemed to clock it after his meeting with Shinzo Abe, the President of Japan.

It is, of course, traditional that leaders shake hands when meeting publicly, but this one was something else. It lasted  19-seconds, which we can all agree is a long handshake even for the most enthusiastic of friendships. And it also included something which has since become a Trump hallmark; an additional pat on the top of the handshake with the other hand.

In other meetings, another hallmark has been spotted. Trump tends to clasp hands and then pull the recipient towards him sharply, in a manner which looks to outsiders to be quite aggressive and often causes the recipient to lose their balance.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump's awkward handshakes with world leaders

How to Defend the Donald Trump Handshake

Obviously, the 24-hour media has pored over this handshake trying to analyze what it says about the man himself. The patting has been described as a “status reminder” which emphases who is in charge. The “yank-shake” as the other habit has been described, is thought to have a similar root psychological cause.

But the biggest question for most people would be, how do I defend against the Trump handshake should I happen to meet the man himself in person.

Fortunately, an Ohio-based martial arts academy has the solution. It has put together a YouTube ‘How-to’ video to could would-be Presidential guests.

The academy in question is the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Columbus, which specializes in the teaching of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. But it also clearly does a good line in entertaining and practical online video guides.

The video starts with a disclaimer: “I’m not suggesting you do this to the President,” insists Robin Gieseler, the instructor. I’ll leave it to readers to decide how much they think he really means that.

The Defense to the Donald Trump Handshake

Demonstration of the technique

The technique they suggest employing is a simple one. When Trump executes the ‘yank-shake’, go with it. Take a step forward with the outside foot, wrap the other arm around the elbow, and bend the wrist inwards. Take hold of the hand over the knuckles with the other hand, and you have put Donald Trump in what the instructor calls a “goose-neck” – by which he means a wrist-lock.

After demonstrating the move, the instructor is at pains to cover his back once again.

“So, Secret Service – I promise if I meet the president, I probably won’t wrist lock him… probably,” he says with a laugh.

Of course, the dozens of secret service agents who trail Trump everywhere these days are likely to be at least as well versed in martial arts as this instructor. It is a core skill for anyone whose job is to protect others, so I doubt they are quaking in their boots.

Martial Arts Can Help

The video is just a bit of fun, but it shows how martial arts can help you in everyday life. The instructor recommends using this technique on “regular ol’ power-hungry narcissists, not on the actual president.” It’s probably not a good idea to pull this move even against them unless you are on the look-out for conflict.

But the mental and physical skills martial arts students learn can regularly be applied to help them take control of day-to-day situations. Sometimes that might mean using the moves in a real-life situation, but more often it is applying the mindset so often used in martial arts to everyday situations.

In the case of a Donald Trump handshake, it might mean not allowing the other person to seize control of the situation but instead ensuring you retain equal billing in the situation.

Many commentators have highlighted the way Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dealt with Trump as an example of this. It should, therefore, come as no surprise to learn that Trudeau has a background in martial arts from his days in the military.

But if you are genuinely concerned about President Trump surprising you with a handshake and want to know how to defend yourself, the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy ‘how-to’ video is a great place to start.

Donald Trump

Trump-Trudeau handshake, close up - BBC News

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