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The BJJ Leg Lock: Secret To Learning It Quickly and Easily
If you're not doing leg locks, then what's wrong with you?? You're behind the times bro!
Listen, we all know that leg locks are all the rage right now, right? They're everywhere! No Gi Grappling, MMA, Combatives... no IBJJF :( So I guess they're not everywhere.
Some of the hottest grapplers right now Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones are tearing up the scene with leg locks and heel hooks from everywhere.
Leg locks are quickly becoming a popular choice of submission among high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes. This could be attributed to the fact that there has been an explosion in popularity and growth of tournaments such as EBI, Sub-Only, and events like fight to Win Pro. With the development of an entirely new segment of grappling, the game is changing.
Many people have seen stars like Garry Tonon, and Gordon Ryan come out of the wood work and rise to popularity by having an incredible leg locking game. So now everybody wants to learn leg locks. What is the best way to develop a sound fundamental leg locking system?
There are many varations of leg locks, including:
- Ankle Locks
- Heel Hooks
- Knee Bars
- Toe Holds
- Estima Lock
- Foot Locks
Each leg lock athlete has their own flavor of how they like to attack leg locks. Learning the leg lock game is like learning a whole other martial art. The rules of grappling still apply, but there really is a system to learning leg locks.
The Number One Tip To Learn Leg Locks
Learn ankle locks. Master the mechanics of the ankle lock, the entries, the positions you can get them from, and the transitions between different ankle locks. This is the secret. It is the safest and best way to learn how to develop the fundamentals of leg locking.
Ankle Lock Entries and Positions
Theoretically, anywhere that you can apply an ankle lock from, you can probably apply a heel hook from as well. That being said, the heel hook, takes an extreme sense of control, caution, and technicality to finish, therefore, it may not be wise to just start attempting heel hooks. You can also apply many toe holds from the same position as ankle locks. Ankle locks are also extremely technical but easier to find and apply and safer for your training partner who may also want to learn leg locks.
So why ankle locks? They are the beginning of many great leg locks. Some of the best leg lockers in the world use the ankle lock grip to control their opponent’s leg and begin a leg locking sequence. The control of the ankle lock is far better than other foot locks.
Control aside, the leg entanglements you will encounter, and the counters you will learn to certain reactions are identical to the leg entanglements for heel hooks and similar to that of toe holds. Ankle locks will allow you to learn how to get into Ashi Garami, how to switch from inside ankle lock to outside, how to get to double ashi, how to use the reap, and so much more. Learning the proper mechanics of these positions will allow you to develop a sound fundamental leg locking game. Check out this video below with Dean Lister showing a proper ankle lock application in depth.
Ankle Lock Finishes and Control
The ankle lock does not only share the same positional entries with the heel hook, the finishing details are also very similar as far as body mechanics, and the grips are what change. When finishing a good ankle lock, you always want three points of contact with the ground, you want to be on your side, and use your back, hips, core, and grips. I know, it’s a lot.
If you learn to properly apply an ankle lock and counter your opponent’s defenses, you will develop sound fundamentals for leg locks and you will learn how to have excellent leg control, after you have developed all of this you can determine the opportune moment to attack a heel hook, knee bar, toe hold, or compression lock. The ankle lock is the foundation.
The ankle also offers the best control; it is extremely difficult for your opponent to escape an ankle lock if you learn how to hold the grip and play 50/50, single leg X and other leg positions. Check out this set up for several different ankle lock variations below.
As more and more information continues to be disseminated regarding leg locks and the various control positions that help set them up, more and more athletes are becoming more and more adept and taking the opponent's foot and finding ways to twist and torque it to their advantage.
More and more grappling competitions are becoming leg lock friendly above and beyond the old school achilles and straight ankle locks. Athletes don't even have to be black belts to be able to show their leg lock skills off as more events become leg lock friendly.
This gives those BJJ leg lock practitioners more stages to ply their wares and cripple their opponents in the nicest possible way. It's a wonderful time to be a practitioner and watch this aspect of the game continue to grow and expand with the help of BJJ Fanatics and our crew of leg lock experts.
If you want to learn an excellent fundamental system to leg locks, check out ADCC Absolute champion, Dean Listers 4 DVD Set, “Leg Attacks and Grappling Hacks.” This is an excellent resource for somebody who wants to develop the foundation of a strong leg locking game.