Craig Jones Shows A Slick Standing Heel Hook
Standing Heel Hook Setups by Craig Jones
The heel hook is one of the most devastating leg locks you can apply to an opponent in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other grappling martial arts. The heel hook targets small ligaments in the knee and the ankle rather than targeting big muscles like the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Because of this, it is a highly effective submission that can easily cause your opponent to tap, or devastate an attacker’s leg in the event you have to use this in a real world self defense scenario. The heel hook is sometimes banned at certain BJJ schools and illegal in almost all gi tournaments. But even though it is not legal you should still learn and practice heel hooks!
Submission only style of competition seems to suit Jones’ jiu jitsu best, as he possesses a high understanding of the leg attack game. In fact, seven of his 11 victories this year have come by way of heel hook. Known to pull guard rather than elect for top position, this strategy has allowed him to climb deep into several recent no-gi tournaments, including EBI and the prestigious ADCC Championship.
If there is one person who understands how to dominate with heel hooks it is Craig Jones. Craig Jones is an Australian grappler and Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Lachlan Giles who competes for the Absolute MMA Academy in the BJJ international circuit. Jones is considered to be one of the best grapplers of his generation, having turned heads in the 2017 ADCC finals by submitting Leanrdo Lo, the tournament’s number one pick to win the 88 kilogram division. The list of Craig Jones’ accolades is impressive. Some of his notable achievements are: ADCC Asian & Oceania Trials Champion, Polaris 185 lbs Champion, Polaris 205 lbs Champion, SUG 5 Superfight Winner, EBI 11 3rd Place, and Kasai 2 185lbs 3rd Place.
Today Craig Jones is here at BJJ Fanatics Head Quarters in Massachusetts to demonstrate some of his favorite standing heel hook set ups. Watch the video below of Craig Jones’ demonstrating and then we will break down his technique. Check it out now!
Jones starts off in a modified single leg X to get into an inverted position, which he likes for setting up heel hooks. He uses his hand to hook the back of his opponent’s foot to pull him into the inverted position. If your opponent steps back you can switch to a hooking grip and switch your legs. Pay attention to how Jone’s knee is slicing hard into his training partner’s knee as he goes for a take down similar to the scissor sweep, allowing him to switch directly into the heel hook submission. It is important to note how dynamic Jones is with his hips. When he inverts he gets all the way up onto his shoulder, and then uses his hips to follow his opponent so he can set his hooks and reap the leg. This makes it easier to knock your training partner down because you are directly under his leg.
In the event that your training partner steps all the way around, you are actually in an even better position to hit the heel hook. Simply bring your far leg around to the front of your training partner’s hips to sweep him. No matter where he steps you can use one of these setups to get the sweep and hit the heel hook. What I like the most about Craig Jones’ standing heel hook setups is how he uses an inversion to flow with his opponent, no matter what direction he tries to move in. This is some pretty fantastic guard work that allows you to maintain that leg entanglement with your training partner. By dominating your opponent’s legs you open up excellent opportunities for sweeping. And by staying connected to his ankle with you grip you land perfectly into a heel hook position when you hit the sweep.
Anyways, keep this technique in mind for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player who is really good at standing in your guard. You might like playing open guard, or even half guard, but there eventually comes a time when your opponent will stand. By switching into single leg X (or playing X guard), you can start working sweeps and going for heel hooks. Heel hooks have a very high percentage of success because they are so brutal. When you go for a heel hook your training partner will usually start to panic, knowing that they have very little time to counter before it is too late and they have to tap. You will see a lot of high level BJJ competitors hit the heel hook without any pause or delay. You will want to get the feel for the heel hook submission first by working slow and then later adding in speed and aggression. So give these standing heel hook setups a try the next time you are on the mats in a live roll or in competition. You will find them to be highly effective. Thank you Craig Jones for demonstrating these heel hook setups for us today!