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Get on Board with the Calf Slicer!

Get on Board with the Calf Slicer!


The calf slicer is one of those black sheep submissions that we don’t talk about enough. This incredibly painful and effective technique can seemingly come out of nowhere to cause a large amount of discomfort ultimately leading to a tap or a reaction that gets us in even more hot water. I find that many people speak about slicing style submissions in the same manner as straight ankle locks. “I don’t tap to those”. If you have never experienced a calf slicer, that’s being applied by a skilled BJJ player, I understand your position, but you may be in for a surprise. 

The first time I was calf sliced, it was from the truck position. This was my first experience with any kind of slicing style submission. As a beginner, I was already confused about being in the truck, the calf slicer was just icing. It immediately intrigued me and I began to delve in a little. These submissions are available from everywhere and as I mentioned before they can be used a painful tool to command a tap, or to gain your opponent’s cooperation while on the hunt for something different. 

There’s a famous YouTube video of a slicer being applied to a man’s forearm during a match. It looks to be pretty tight but the man looks calm and continues to work. Suddenly a sound that I can only descried as a tree branch breaking fills the room. You get the idea. Slicers can be placed in the category of submissions that I like to label, “You’re OK until you’re not”. They are sneaky and if you don’t respect them, they have the ability to take you out of the game. 

Let’s take a look at some calf slicers today, performed by some of the elite and see if we can pick up some details on how to bring these devastating submissions to life! 

Gabriel Arges is all about the getting to the back. HE released an entire instructional on the topic that’s phenomenal. IN this video, his intentions are to secure a back take, but when he gets stuck midway, he opts for a calf slicer. Give this a look!


Beginning in a reverse half guard scenario, Arges looks to come up on top and begin performing a rolling style back take. This is a great way to take the back but if your opponent is on to you, or you stall out during the movement, the subsequent technique could be a great option for you.

Diversify your Back Attacks with the Calf Slicer! Click Learn More!


As he lands on the other side, Arges is sure to maintain the hook he’s already acquired and he locks it in by forming a triangle with his other leg. He then reaches up and captures the instep of his partners foot near the shin. With his opposite hand, he covers the rest of the instep and as he begins to put downward pressure in to the triangle he forces the foot toward his partner in the style of a toe hold. I’ve never seen this type of finish before. It seems to add another layer of discomfort to the finish. By placing both hands on the outside of the foot, Arges also eliminates the possibly of his opponent snatching up a quick arm bar. This is a great detail to keep in mind! 

Luiza Monteiro has some great insight in the leg attack game and she’s been sharing a bit of that with us recently. She’s incredibly technical and her attacks are well thought out, top notch assaults. Let’s have a look at her version of a calf slicer from the single leg x guard. Check it. 


Starting out in the De La Riva guard with a grip on the pants and one at the lapel as well, Monteiro’s partner begins to pass the foot under his body into a very common passing position. As he attempts to transition, Monteiro answers with a transition of her own. She transitions her grip on the pants from below her partners leg to above it and swivels her leg to the inside, using her opposite hook to elevate her partner, and establishing a single leg x configuration. 

Keeping her partner at a distance with the grip in the collar, she then scoops under her partners leg, securing an under hook. To make sure her partner can’t remove her single leg x hook she then turns her attention to the sleeve rather than the collar, now keeping this arm occupied. With an adjustment of the hips, Monteiro removes her right leg and allows it to travel around her partner down into the crook of the knee. Performing a technical lift style movement, she now gets up to her knees and begins hug her partners hips to put pressure in to the lock. As she leans forward into the submission eh tap is imminent.

Add to your Legal Leglock Arsenal! Click Learn More!


There are a lot of really great transitional movements here that could be applied to many different scenarios. Here, Monteiro provides us with an incredibly technical pathway to this brutal submission. Amazing details!

We can’t conclude our study of the calf slicer without a little instruction from the great Dean Lister. Lister was evolving leg attacks while most of us were in diapers and he’s built a reputation as one of the most feared leg lockers in the game. Let’s have a look at this calf slicer variation from the mount!


Lister begins in a mounted position with one small caveat, his ankle is trapped. Often times we refer to this as quarter guard. Lister prepares to roll in a very similar fashion to the first technique from Arges. HE looks down toward his partner’s hips and performs a simple shoulder roll. Immediately locking a triangle, Lister has now secured the leg. For the finish, Lister warns of the arm bar, a common threat here. He advises us to grab up near the toes and use the end of the lever to complete this submission. He also adds a lift in his hips to add pressure to the lock and solidify the tap. 

Lister is on The Mount. Rushmore of Leg Lockers! Click Learn More!


As Lister warns, even though this is not a twisting submission, we still must treat it as a dangerous one and be careful with our partners. I like the detail of lifting the hips here, this adds yet another layer to creating a strong finish. 

Looking for these types of submissions in your training can add value to your attacks, they expand our ability to catch our opponents and open new doors. If you haven’t experimented much with slicer style submissions, give them a shot, you may find that they become a favorite technique to add to the tool box. Be careful and good luck!

Leg Attacks & Grappling Hacks by Dean Lister

If there was a Mount Rushmore of Lethal Leg Lockers Dean Lister would surely appear. Dean Lister has been Leg Locking top level athletes for over a DECADE! Check out his collection of instructionals at BJJFANATICS you will improve with one of the Legends of the sport!




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