Four Things to Know about Lucas Leite
Every world class jiu jitsu competitor has a particular style or technique they are known for and makes up the foundation of their BJJ game. Lucas Leite is a multiple time world jiu jitsu champion who fights for the Checkmat affiliation under Professor Leo Vieira. He is also well known for putting his own signature and flair on the half guard position. These are four facts about him that every fan and practitioner should know.
1. Lucas Leite began training under the legendary Ryan Gracie
As a twelve year old, Lucas began training under the legendary Ryan Gracie. He trained with Ryan through blue belt and was not an active competitor in his teens. At one point, he even took upwards of a year off of his jiu jitsu training.
2. Lucas Leite earned his black belt from Leo Vieira
After his family moved, the commute to Ryan Gracie's school was too difficult, so he began training with Leozinho Vieira. This proved to be a turning point in his development, as Vieira inspired Lucas to compete more and to see that one could make a living as a jiujiteiro which changed his life's course. It was under Vieira that he earned his black belt and developed into a world class competitor with his own key branch of the Checkmat association.
3. Lucas Leite is famous for his unique use of half guard
Leite has developed a very dynamic half guard game which utilizes an intense knee torque which affords him the space to go to his knees in a position that's referred to as "Coyote Guard" because of it's similarity to a tenacious coyote attacking its prey. From this position, depending on the reaction of the opponent, Leite can attack the back or fight for the sweep. If the opponent's pressure becomes too heavy and stops the transition for the coyote, he will use this pressure against them and roll under sweeping them to the direction of the torqued knee and leg.
To further understand the philosophy behind Lucas Leite's approach to half-guard, you can explore it in this BJJ Fanatics article.
In the video below, Lucas Leite discuss many of the details of his approach to half guard with BudoVideos.
4. Lucas Leite has regularly competed against much larger opponents and actually prefers it.
Lucas Leite has competed in many different weight classes, from 72kg to 94kg. He is no stranger to oversized opponents, as he regularly trains with teammate Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida. In many instances, he prefers the opponents to be larger then him because of the relative speed difference and the ability to create more space with the larger opponent when flanking them with his dynamic half guard attacks.
In the video below, Leite enters into the Coyote Guard position and demonstrates his Dogfight sweep. Focus on the position of the opponents knee which is crucial for proper control and space to come to your knees.
In the next video, shows the alternative to the Dogfight sweep where he knees to go under and cradle the opponent to sweep them to the opposite direction. Additionally, he shows what to do if the opponent bases during this sweep. In this scenario, he adjusts to a smooth back take.
Takeaways for every practitioner from even a short study of Lucas Leite's career and spin on the half guard position are many. First, one must have faith in their jiu jitsu, regardless of the size and strength advantage of their opponent. Using proper leverage, Lucas has proven that perfect technique can always best a stronger individual. Secondly, look for ways to put your own individual stamp on techniques. Half guard has historically been looked at with skeptical eyes as some practitioners see it as a desperation attempt to prevent an opponent from passing. People like Lucas Leite have taken this position and advanced it, creating an entire system of sweeps and attacks from half guard.
To fully immerse yourself in Leite's dynamic half-guard system, you will want to check out his Coyote Guard DVD instructional here.