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Leg Locks Overview
Leg locks are quickly becoming the most popular choice of submissions in both the gi and in nogi, they are even becoming more prevalent in MMA. What makes the leg lock such a popular choice of submission? Why is it becoming a necessity to understand them?
Leg locks are simply becoming so popular because they are effective, efficient, and present themselves more often than any other submission. They are an extremely versatile submission because they work in gi, nogi and MMA. There are also several different Leg attacks available, and you can connect one to another very well.
Leg Locks in the GI
In traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there have always been leg locks, but these days, in the competitive gi circuit of bjj, they are becoming one of the most popular attacks. There are several ibjjf legal leg attacks, some of these include the kneebar, the toe hold, the strait foot lock, the calf slicer, and the extremely popular, estima lock. If you want to learn some good entries to various leg locks, check out our post “Butterfly Guard to Leg Attacks.”
Why are leg locks so popular in the gi? It is becoming increasingly difficult to pass somebody’s guard at the highest level, and if a guard pass is not occurring, switching to a leg attack is one of the best options to try and finish the match. Simply put, leg locks present themselves very often. You can attack leg locks prior to passing guard. Many people don’t realize the technical level and destructive capability of a properly applied leg lock. Check out this video of Luiz Panza demonstrating an extremely powerful foot lock in the gi.
Leg Locks in NoGi
Leg locks are even more prevalent in nogi Jiu Jitsu and submission only matches. This is because they present themselves even more no gi, and there is not much grip dependency for a properly applied leg lock. Every leg lock is versatile and can be applied just as well nogi as it can be in the gi. If you want to work you strait foot lock, check out this post “Foot Lock Mastery by Luiz Panza,” he also has a DVD release which you can find below.
The more popular choice of leg lock in the nogi circuit is the heel hook. Recently, the heel hook has become one of, if not, the highest percentage submission in nogi and submission only. The Eddie Bravo Invitational tournaments and Danaher Death Squad have paved the way for a revolution in leg locks and submission only. Garry Tonon, Eddie Cumming, and Gordon Ryan are the most well-known leg lockers in Jiu Jitsu today. They have exploded with popularity by winning the Eddie Bravo Invitational Numerous times and applying heel hook in a devastating fashion.
Prior to the Danaher Death Squad innovating the leg lock approach, there was Dean Lister. Dean Lister is an ADCC Absolute Champion and has tapped out some of the most elite grapplers with various leg attacks. He is a pioneer in the leg lock world. Check out this video of Dean Lister showing an extremely technical heel hook.
Leg Locks in MMA
Leg locks have always been in MMA, but with the vast growth of popularity in submission only tournaments, this popularity has transcended to MMA making leg locks even more prevalent in MMA. Many UFC fighters are adopting the knowledge of leg locks and trying to implement them.
One of the more popular leg locking wizards in MMA is Ryan Hall. Ryan Hall won the Ultimate Fighter and finished two of his opponents via heel hook to do so. Ryan Hall was an extremely active Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor and has adapted to MMA by using leg locks as one of the best weapons in his arsenal. Check out Ryan Hall’s take on the heel hook below, he also does an excellent job breaking it down.
If you find yourself intrigued by leg locks and want to evolve with the times, check out this “Leg Lock Bundle,” by Dean Lister, Luiz Panza, and Jose Barca. It is a 13 DVD set for only $197!