Defense Against Foot Locks
While foot locks are to be respected, you do not have to fear them. While you need to be cautious and aware, a foot lock does not mean that your goose is cooked. Far from it. If you know the proper defense, then a foot lock will be no different than any other submission. The reason for most people’s fear is because they do not spend the time, learning, drilling and actually using the defense needed to escape. If you can follow these defensive principles, you will avoid being submitted by the straight foot lock.
Making a top connection
This step is the first thing you need to do to defend against the straight foot lock. You have to control your opponent’s upper body in some form. If it is a gi match, you need to grab and control the opponent’s collar. If it is a no gi match, you need to get some kind of grab on the opponent’s forearm or wrist. For no gi, I underhook the topside attacking arm. If you do not control the top of your opponent, you are giving him the ability to get leverage with his arms and body to get make the foot lock work. So, pull that collar or control the topside arm. Do not make it easy for him.
Put on the boot
This next step is crucial and one of the most important ways of defending the foot lock. You have to put on the boot. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, I will explain. The foot that is being attacked, is the foot that needs this figurative boot. To put on the boot, you need to flex the top of your foot backwards, while you try to extend your heel. By doing this, you are not allowing your foot to be bent, which is what will cause you pain and make you tap to the foot attack. If you can do that with your foot, you will be able to work through the attack and escape.
Push down the top entanglement foot
So, this may be circumstantial, but this particular step is done if the opponent has you in the leg entanglement known as ashi garami. Ashi garami is the legal and preferred method of IBJJF competitors, so most likely this is the position that you will be in. If you have done the two previous steps, then you are halfway home and this is an easy step. The opponent’s foot that is on your hip must be pushed down. Grab it around the ball of the foot and the toes. Push it to the ground and sit on it. By pinning it down, he will not be able to get the correct pressure needed to finish.
Post and get on top
This is the final step and will get you home free. After you’ve done all previous steps, you need to do this. With your free hand that just pushed down the opponent’s foot, you will need to post it on the mat. As you post, pull on your opponent’s top connection (whether it be the collar or the arm) and slide or hop over the opponent’s knee and get right into mount. Now it will be time to get some revenge for the foot lock attack.
As I said, foot locks can seem scary, but as long as you know the proper defense, can keep a calm head and use this steps, you will escape the foot lock every time. BJJ world champion, Bernardo Faria understands the foot lock defense principles and covers them on his submission and position escape DVD, Escapes From Everywhere. Go and check this awesome DVD out. You will not regret it.