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Leg locks – They’re here to stay.
Leg locks have commanded their fair share of attention over the past couple of years. They’re effectiveness has been proven many times over in devastating fashion. The leg locks rise to power, mainly fueled by the likes of John Danaher, and standout members of Team Renzo Gracie has been an important period in BJJ.
What many refer to as the “dark side” of BJJ, has been brought into the light. But many seem to think this style of grappling is on borrowed time. Will leg locks continue to be a front runner in the BJJ world and competition, or return to being the dark horse?
I recently attended a local EBI rules 16-man tournament. This bracket was blue belts only @185 lbs. I witnessed only ONE upper body submission. Yes, ONE, in a blue belt bracket. Almost every match that ended in submission, a leg lock was employed. Let that sink in. When many of us began training the leg lock was no where to be found. Through the years, only being in the right academy might gain you some exposure to these illusive themes. My first experience using a leglock in a live setting was against someone almost 100 lbs. my senior. He was new, very wild, and a great wrestler. I used a heel hook to end the mauling. At that moment I realized how effective the leg lock could be for a smaller grappler like myself.
The leg lock has leveled the playing field. It’s not going anywhere. If you are a competitor, you can only be protected by a ruleset. The absence of knowledge of submissions below the waist will at some point be detrimental to your career. That being said, the most voiced concern seems to be the neglect of the guard pass, especially with students at the start of their BJJ journey. This is valid and must be monitored. While it is important to bring up all aspects of the game, the leg lock should still be respected as a highly useful skillset.
Relax, you don’t have to be an expert! But consider adding some general knowledge of the positions and their many uses to your game. Or you just may end up kneeling to the” dark side” one day!
If you want to get yourself started down the road to the darkside, check out Jay Wadsworth's "Ashi Leg Lock System" available here from BJJ Fanatics.