Add This Toe Hold To Your Game From Dean Lister
The Inescapable Toehold From De La Riva by Dean Lister
Who is Dean Lister? Dean is one of the great pioneers of Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts in America. He is an ADCC Champion. He fought in some of the biggest MMA organizations: Pride FC and Ultimate Fighting Championships. His teaching has had significant impact in both MMA and Jiu Jitsu.
Dean Lister was born in San Diego, California. However, with his family in the military he spent most of his youth abroad in South American countries. Like a lot of military kids, he faced constant bullying as the perpetual new kid. He sought martial arts as a way to defend himself. When he returned to the states, he found wrestling, then Sambo and eventually Jiu Jitsu. He spent over a decade training at Fabio Santos’ academy in San Diego where he earned his brown belt. Eventually Dean would earn his black belt from fellow Santos student Jeffery Higgs.
Lister’s grappling accomplishments are significant. He competed in ADCC tournament 6 times and is the ADCC Open Weight Champion (2003) and ADCC Super Fight Champion (2005) and ADCC Champion (2011). Additionally, he a two-time national (US) sambo champion, four-time Machado National (US) BJJ champion and National (US) Gracie BJJ champion. He has notable victories over Jean Jacques Machado, Iiir Latifi, Nathan Marquardt, Saulo Ribeiro, Marcio 'Pe De Pano' Cruz, Alexandre Ferreira ‘Cacareco’, Masutatsu Yano, Augusto Ferrari, Radek Turek, Rodolfo Vieira, Joao Assis, and Ricardo "Demente" Abreu.
Dean’s grappling skills served him well in MMA. He has had over 20 fights in some of the most prestigious organizations. Lister was a King of the Cage Middleweight Champion. He has also fought in Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Let this crafty veteran tighten up your leg lock game.
Lister is well known for his teaching abilities and has been sought all over the world for his combat knowledge. He was a grappling coach for Tito Ortiz on Ultimate Fighter Series 7 (TUF 7). He teaches at Victory Mixed Martial Arts in San Diego with fellow black belts and Jiu Jitsu legends Jeff Glover and Jocko Willink. It is also worth noting that Dean served as the catalyst that introduced the great John Danaher to leg locks. John tells the story of Dean training at Renzo’s. Danaher asked Dean a question about a leg lock. Lister replied, “Why would you ignore 50% of the human body?” It was Dean’s simple statement that started Danaher on the path to create his legendary leg lock system that would shift the paradigm of Jiu Jitsu.
In this video Dean Lister explores a rolling toe hold. He starts by explaining that the toe hold is one of the 5 main leg submissions. The various leg submissions all work together in a submission chain. Another nice thing about leg attacks is they are often available when someone has a strong guard. If someone is defending too heavily with their legs then they leave themselves open for leg entanglements. After this introduction to leg attacks, Dean notes some important details. The correct hand placement for a toe hold is pinky finger to the top pinky toe. Much like the Kimura, Dean opts for a thumb less grip. Another key component of the toe hold and leg attacks in general, is that you must have control of both legs. Much like the arm bar, if some degree of control is not exerted on both limps then the submission is easy to escape. Dean starts the sequence in his training partners De La Riva guard. He has inside control. His partner is on his back. Lister notes that it is imperative to keep your partner on their back. If they sit up then this particular submission sequence is no longer an option. Dean states that from here the temptation may be just to grab your opponent toe. However, that attack is a little bit obvious. Instead, Dean swims his arm around his opponent’s leg and rolls to catch the toe hold. It is very similar to a rolling kimura attack. Lister triangles his leg around his opponent’s opposite leg and gets a quick tap. Dean notes that much like the Kimura, the wrists and forearms are the key. To finish this submission, Lister states small simple movements must be done.
This video is a wonderful example of Dean’s ability to communicate technique to even novice grapplers. Like all of Lister’s instructional videos, there is a lot of detail. I know that I often gain new insights every time I re-watch one of his videos. Dean Lister’s instructional videos have a powerful impact on anyone who makes a careful study of them. Certainly, the Jiu Jitsu community is lucky to have him.
We all know now that leg locks are the great equalizer. Dean Lister has something to teach both novice and experienced leg lockers. Check out this series from BJJ Fanatics!