Dean Lister's Straight Ankle Lock
Dean Lister is one of the OG's of American jiu jitsu competitors and one of the pioneers and forefathers of the modern BJJ leg attack game. More and more academies are beginning to approach the idea of learning and assimilating leg locks into their curricula as they become more common and understood much better. The reality is that any particular submission involving the twisting of a joint or limb can be dangerous if used and trained without proper instruction and guidance. The bulk of the reason that leg attacks were historically eschewed was because of the classic focus on BJJ on pressing forward, passing the guard to a dominate position and establishing a place to launch one's submission attempts.
Today we take a look at the straight ankle lock which is typically one of the earliest foot locks that any student is exposed to. If you've never dabbled in the world of leg attacks, this is a great place to start. The beauty of this particular leg attack is that it is legal in the vast majority of competitions, including IBJJF tournaments.
If you'd like to take a look at Dean's historic 2003 ADCC competition run at BJJ Fanatics, you can here.
There are a number of key concepts that Dean addresses in the video below that we will review after. Check out this master class on the straight ankle or foot lock.
To explore more of Dean's leg attack system, check out his K.A.T.C.H. Leg Attack System here in easy On Demand format.
What do I do with my hands/arms during a straight ankle lock?
In the video above, Dean examines the use of a classic "figure four" style grip of the hands, explaining that the idea was to keep the grip close to the hips to generate power. Instead, Dean recommends utilizing a stronger, guillotine style grip and keeping your contact point in the middle of the forearm. Too close to the wrist and the shallow wrist bone will allow too much space and to far up the arm towards the bicep will minimize the pressure of the lock.
What do I do with my legs during a straight ankle lock?
Dean also explains in this video the proper placement of one's feet. The outside leg should be in the opponent's hip, creating a point of control and also helping support the hip and back movement which finishes the technique. The trailing foot which remains between your opponent's thighs should never be buried or hidden under the hip of the leg you are attacking. As Dean points out, this exposes you to a very dangerous heel hook attack that is almost impossible to defend. Instead, that foot should be under the opposing hip of the non-attacked leg to prevent the opponent from kicking at you in a street fight scenario or standing up to begin their escape.
The straight ankle lock is one of the most versatile and powerful leg attacks because of the ability to use it in the widest amount of competition settings. It is sometimes overlooked as ineffective, because like anything, with lackluster technique, you won't secure the tap. But if you follow the advice of leg lock guru Dean Lister and make sure your grips, your leg positioning, and your finish are on point, you will be guaranteed to secure the tap.
Explore the wide world of IBJJF Legal footlocks with Jose Varella by checking out his DVD and On Demand series here for only $39 today!
If you'd like to read and learn more about Jose Varella, check out this article from BJJ Fanatics here.