Become a Master Ashi Garami Leg Locker
The Modern Day Leg Locker aka Leg Lock Attacker
The major trait of the leg locker is control and isolation of the foot / knee. It is apparent to everyone, yet it somehow goes wrong the moment most people try looking for a leg lock.
The Ashi Garami (heel hook) position is well-known, yet, a lot of people end up focusing on how they finish the ashi garami which will usually end with them losing position and the submission all together.
The secret to getting the Ashi Garami / heel hook submission finish is all in the setup.
Getting Into an Ashi Garami
The main problem with the Ashi Garami leg lock attack is to not be too obvious. Trying to get into the heel hook becomes pretty obvious really soon, meaning that your opponent can hit a counter easily (typically with his own . This is why you will need a solid entrance to get this leg locking thing nailed.
By getting into the correct position, you won’t have to fight later for your control. It also means that you will find it easy to hunt for other leg lock submissions immediately.
Here are a few leg lock entries entries that could help you out:
The butterfly guard seems to be the usual position no every leg locker. It is a really powerful position, and it provides awesome attacking options while ensuring that you are also pretty safe.
From a basic butterfly guard with one under hook the objective is to try and sweep up your opponent. The trick is to try and sweep them so that they will need to base really hard on the sweeping side. As the opponent’s weight shifts. The leg where the butterfly hook is becomes lighter. This way, you can lift it to enter into an Ashi Garami leg lock setup.
UFC Bantamweight, Pedro Munhoz (and Mario Israel) show a Butterfly Guard to Heel Hook entry and submission.
Half Guard Entry
The Half Guard is a position where a lot of grapplers end up, you can't help it. But, with a solid half guard, you can just as well hunt for the leg locks all day!
The entry is going to target the opponent’s free leg. As the butterfly half guard is established, lift the leg with the hook, then use your arms as a frame to push the opponent to the same side. The objective is to expose the free leg, so you can lock in the Ashi Garami.
Alberto Serrano BJJ shows the Ashi Garami position from the half guard, from here you can attack either an ankle lock, toe hold or a heel hook.
This actually ranks pretty high among leg lockers. It provides variety, although it is fit for more advanced leg lockers. However, if you can pay attention to your hips, it will work for you too.
From the X-guard, you can transition into the singe leg X-Guard and attack the leg near your head. However, you can also lift the opponent up ad draw them closer to your head. This will provide access to the far leg, meaning that you can blast your legs straight up and get your hip on theirs. With this, you can get into the Ashi Garami.
Check out ZombieProofBJJ NoGi Techniques: Garry Tonon's X-Guard To Inside Triangle vs Vagner Rocha at EBI13
From a half kneeling position with one of your opponent’s legs under control, you can get an Ashi on that leg. However, if this proves too hard, then you need a position to get the Inside Senkaku. Just backstep your leg around the opponent’s fee leg while your knee is kept in place with your grip.
One of our favorite Ashi Garami leg lockers is Craig Jones. He's got a sick DVD / on demand series available that teaches all these entries / controls and more!