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Achilles Lock, Kneebar and Toe Hold by Tom Deblass

Achilles Lock, Kneebar and Toe Hold by Tom Deblass


There is no question that leg attacks are becoming more and more popular in Jiu Jitsu these days.  Looking back not that many years ago leg locks were like black magic that very few people knew and used on a regular basis.  I would bet there were even several people that viewed leg locks as cheating, much like how wrist locks are viewed today.  

The reality is refusing to understand leg attacks is like refusing to learn how to shrimp or how to grip properly.  The fact is you are going to come across them at some point in your Jiu Jitsu career on the mats. Even if you choose not to use them, which would be a dumb choice because of how versatile and effective they are, you still need to understand how they work so that you can defend against them when that time comes, and rest assured, that time will come.  

When you think of leg attacks there are likely a few big names that come to mind.  One of the best in the business being Tom DeBlass. Tom is one of the most revered American black belts in Jiu Jitsu claiming the titles of 3 time ADCC Trials Champion with a resume a mile long of other accomplishments.  In addition to his personal accolades he also has coached and continues to coach some of the best grapplers in the world. 

Tom takes some time to bust a few myths when it comes to Achilles locks, knee bars, and toe holds, as well as show us the proper way to do each in his video clip titled “Achilles locks, knee bars and toe holds by Tom DeBlass”.  Let’s take a look at what the expert has to say and look for things we can add into our game to get to the next level. 


To start out Tom is seated with Bernardo seated in front of him starting in a basic Ashi Garami position.  There are two kinds of Achilles locks, there is a high Achilles that will put pressure on the shin eventually breaking the shin if you do not stop applying pressure, and a lower Achilles lock that goes around the ankle and focuses on breaking the little bones in your foot.  Tom points out that it is important to understand that you are not actually going to rupture an Achilles with this lock, you would rupture your Achilles doing things like running, jumping etc.  

The first submission Tom shows is the standard Achilles lock.  He notes that as with any leg attack the very first thing, he is looking to do is to hide his top leg, in this case his left leg by putting his foot over it.  From here Tom is bringing his right arm under his opponent’s leg and placing his wrist on his opponent’s Achilles ensuring that the toes are caught in his arm pit.  He also notes that with the Achilles lock he does not have to have a tight control of the leg he is attacking because of the force created by the strength of Achilles lock.  

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In order to finish the Achilles lock there are two approaches Tom recommends, if possible, you can put your foot in the opponent’s hip, once again, ensuing to protect it by covering it with your other foot.  From here you can simply roll down to the shoulder on the same side as the leg you are attacking while pulling up on your guillotine like grip around the Achilles. To create even more pressure you can simply continue to turn down and look up at the same time. 

If for some reason you are unable to get your feet in the hips, it is not the end of the world and you can still secure the submission.  In order to do this you want to think about rolling belly down, or as close as possible. To go belly down Tom reaches with his left hand in the direction that he plans to roll to go belly down and as he reaches, he turns his body down as far as he possibly can.  As he turns belly down, he is keeping his feet tight to his opponent’s hip to maintain the position while also applying pressure to the toes through squeezing his grip. 

There is a knee bar that is also available from this position that Tom mentions he rarely if ever see’s people do from here.  To get this knee bar he is simply throwing, yes you read that right, literally throwing his opponent’s leg to his top (left in this case) Lat muscle and swimming over it with his left arm. 

This knee bar is finished by simply extending your hips into the knee.  It is very important to note that this knee bar is brutal and in many cases can blow out the LCL because there is no flexibility in the knee in this direction.  Remember it is your responsibility to protect your training partners safety on the mats and ensure they are able to walk when you are done with your training session, please be careful with this one and don’t accidently hurt someone, it will likely be a very serious injury. 

The last submission Tom shows is a toe hold from the same knee bar position.  As he notes, the leg does not, I repeat does NOT have to be bent in order for you to attack a toe hold.  Tom is simply covering the last 3 toes and trying to touch them to the calve muscle. He is still maintaining the figure four grip you would expect to see in this position.  The biggest difference here I notices is where he is grabbing on the foot, be sure to watch the video clip and check that out a few times to make sure you’ve got it right. 

Tom’s game is brutal, versatile and effective as he has proven time and time again on many many stages around the world.  There is no question we all have a little something we can learn from such an incredible athlete and human being. If you have not done so yet make sure to check out his video and eBook combination instructional “The Road to Black Belt and Beyond”.  This instructional will get your mindset right for whatever it is you want to accomplish in life.  What’s great about Jiu Jitsu is the lessons we learn on the mat all transfer over to every other aspect of life.  Make sure you are giving yourself the best possible chance at achieving your goals and check this out today. You wont be disappointed, that’s a guarantee.

The Road To Black Belt and Beyond by Tom DeBlass

If ANYONE knows about moving forward it's Tom DeBlass. DeBlass has influenced LEGIONS of people across the globe with his MINDSET. The Road To Black Belt And Beyond By Tom DeBlass uncovers what it takes to not only be a Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu, But a Black Belt in LIFE!



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