There are multiple avenues of attack, and defense in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Some of these positions are defensive, and offensive by nature like the half guard, the closed guard, the butterfly hook, and the lockdown. Using a defensive structure as an attacking platform can be advantageous for a practitioner, and surprising for an opponent.
What this article covers:
- What Is the Lockdown
- Who Invented the Lockdown
- Defensive Qualities of the Lockdown
- Sweeps from the Lockdown
- Lockdown Submission Entries
- How to Defend and Counter the Lockdown Position
- Is the Lockdown a Dangerous Position
Since Roberto Gordo Correa developed the half guard to be a more attacking system, other practitioners have added their own innovations to different aspects of the defensive game. Athletes like Xande Ribeiro, and Eddie Bravo have built their own game style on mastering the defensive position. The lockdown is a leg position developed into the half guard, as a way to help a practitioner keep their opponent in the half guard, and prevent them from applying any substantial pressure. This position can also be quite an attacking structure, as a practitioner will be able to execute sweeps, and entries into different submissions like the bjj ankle lock, the heel hook, the groin stretch, the calf crusher, and the knee bar.
WHAT IS THE LOCKDOWN
The lockdown is a sneaky leg entanglement position, which can be added to the half guard, in order to keep an opponent stuck in the position. It can also make it considerably harder to use top game pressure, when the practitioner is elevating their opponent's leg up with the lockdown.
This position can sometimes be hard to reach, especially for practitioners that are quite taller than their opponents. Once the practitioner has the half guard, the next step is to triangulate their legs, as one of their hooks goes behind their own knee, and the other hook stretches out and secures their opponent's shin. This position will create a comprehensive locking mechanism that can be extremely hard to break. The lockdown is great for attacking different positions like a back take, a sweep, submissions, or even positions like the bjj electric chair.
WHO INVENTED THE LOCKDOWN
The lockdown is one of the most iconic features of the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system. Eddie Bravo invented an intricate system of tricks, and traps that will neutralise, sweep and submit an opponent. The 10th Planet system includes the truck position, twister side control, and the rubber guard, where many of these positions lead to modified submission attacks like the bjj omoplata, the triangle, the guillotine, and the arm bar. Eddie Bravo developed the lockdown system while he was playing half guard, and used it to relieve the shoulder pressure of his opponent. From this concept Eddie was able to create more intricate attacks, and execute these techniques without the nuisance of a heavy opponent squishing his face. His defensive system led to intricate ways to execute calf slicers, heel hooks, ankle locks, knee bars, toe holds, and groin stretches.
Eddie gained significant notoriety from defeating Royler Gracie in the quarter finals of an early ADCC tournament. During this event he used many of his 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system techniques, which were all highly successful. Even though Eddie would bow out in the semi finals, he would go on to be successful at many other events using his intricate guard systems. His newly developed lockdown system became iconic, and is used by many submission specialists, and Mixed Martial Artists. Nowadays the lockdown is not just used as a way to relieve shoulder pressure from a heavier opponent, it is also used to bait and trap opponents into sweeps, and is used for other submission specials like the calf crush, and the bjj knee bar.
DEFENSIVE QUALITIES OF THE LOCKDOWN
Using the lockdown as a defensive mechanism can be extremely annoying to an opponent. It can also be quite common to see an opponent make fundamental errors out of frustration, while inside of the lockdown. Sometimes a practitioner will use escapes into the half guard, but their opponent will still be able to either smash pass, or knee cut their way through the guard. This is where the lockdown will come into play, as the practitioner will administer their defensive structure, which can buy them more time. Using a lockdown will give an opponent a much harder problem to solve, while the practitioner can use elevation, twisting, and extension to inhibit their opponent from passing. The lockdown can also become painful, or at least uncomfortable, especially if the practitioner is very strong, or has harder bones in their shin. The defensive aspects of the lockdown can be advantageous for the practitioner, as they begin to formulate a way to advance their position, or secure a submission.
SWEEPS FROM THE LOCKDOWN
There are many ways to sweep from the lockdown position, and this is because the lockdown uses a leverage based mechanism. Once the practitioner has secured the lockdown on their opponent, the first step is to secure an over hook on the same side of the body as the lockdown. From here the practitioner will elevate their opponent's leg, which will make them lighter and easier to sweep, as they look to secure an under hook on the opposite side. As they engage the sweep, the practitioner will pull inwards with their over hook, as they punch straight up underneath the armpit with their under hook. This will force their opponent to lose their structure, as they are rolled over toward their arm which is trapped by the over hook. This is a basic lockdown sweep that is easy to execute, and can be extremely effective.
A good sweep to hit is the electric chair sweep from the lockdown, which is an Eddie Bravo special. Commonly when an opponent has a dominant half mount position, they are smashing the cross face, and have a really tight under hook. After securing the lockdown, the practitioner will need to open up their opponent by digging their frames up underneath their jaw. Once they have their frames in, they can use the whip down, by bringing their knees to their chest, and then switching their legs to the side, which will help the practitioner turn onto their side. This will force the opponent to post off of the mat, which will create an avenue for the practitioner to switch their frames, pushing one into the posted arm, and the other against their own hip. From here the practitioner will elevate their opponent's leg, as they switch their hips, and move onto their other side. This will leave the practitioner in a good position, with one hand around their opponent's hip, and their other hand underneath their hamstring, as they close the space by placing their face into their opponent's hip, this will alleviate the opponent from securing a cross face. Now the practitioner will shoot their arm up from underneath the hamstring, which places the opponent’s leg on their shoulder, as they turn their hips. Now they can post onto their elbow, as they stretch out with their arm, making it easy to roll their opponent over, securing a dominant top position.
Another good sweep to execute from the lockdown position involves a practitioner to whip up onto their hip, and reach their under hook deep around the back of their opponent until they secure a grip on their hip. The grip is then switched into a figure four on the wrist, which is known as the Khabib grip, the kimura grip or the handcuff grip. It is important to note that if the practitioner cannot reach the wrist for this figure four grip they can use it on the bicep, before using the leverage to get their opponent onto their shoulder to make it easier to reach the wrist. From this lockdown position the practitioner can release their opposite hand and use it to post off of the mat. Now it becomes an easy switch as the practitioner turns onto their knees sucking the handcuff grip inwards, and putting their opponent onto their back. Now the practitioner can simply unthread their leg, and transition into side control where they still have their opponent's far side arm trapped in a handcuff grip, meaning they can start to look at different submissions like chokes, or kimura arm locks.
LOCKDOWN SUBMISSION ENTRIES
Using the lockdown can create a comprehensive range of submission attempts. The calf slicer bjj submission is one maneuver that is extremely easy to execute, and very common. It involves using the lockdown as a way to elevate an opponent's legs. From here the practitioner will use their shin on the inside of their opponent's knees, as they reach up behind and grab hold of their opponent's foot. To finish the calf slicer it can be as simple as pulling down on the foot, as the shin becomes the fulcrum in which causes a compression lock to the calf muscle of the opponent. Even though this submission causes significant discomfort to the calf, it can also create damage to many of the knee's ligaments.
A common submission from the lockdown is the groin stretch from the electric chair. This submission can also work as a system, which enables the practitioner to land the heel hook submission. From the lockdown the practitioner will go through a series of steps to enter the electric chair position. Once the practitioner has secured this position it can be easy just to maneuver their opponent's leg onto their shoulder, as they simply apply the stretch to the groin. This submission does not always work, especially if the opponent has flexible legs. In this case it is really easy to switch the leg grips, and maneuver onto the opponent’s opposite leg, securing a bjj ashi garami variation to finish a heel hook submission.
There are multiple submissions that can be achieved from the lockdown position. Using this position can be a great way to dominate the legs of an opponent. Calf slicers can be executed from many different angles, including hands free, as they just use their legs to secure the submission. This can also be achieved going for a leg bar jiu jitsu position, as they execute a hands free knee bar. Doing these kinds of submissions do work, but they do involve a practitioner to have good flexibility, and dexterity within their hips, and legs. Calf slicers can also be secured by reaching around and pulling down on the foot. If a practitioner has enough flexibility, and creativity they can also turn a calf slicer position into a toe hold submission. The lockdown can be extremely tough to escape from, so utilising a range of submission attacks can be advantageous, and extremely productive for a practitioner.
HOW TO DEFEND AND COUNTER THE LOCKDOWN POSITION
Like all submissions, or positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there is always a counter move that can help a practitioner escape. Getting stuck in a lockdown from half guard can be extremely frustrating for a practitioner, so they need to create different avenues to escape. No moves in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are one hundred percent effective, because usually there is a counter to the counter, and this can go on and on. The first counter measure to the lockdown is to actively keep an opponent flat on their back, as this will inhibit their ability to access a greater range of movements. Usually the opponent is extending their leg, so the practitioner will look to lift their heel, keeping their toes extended, as they circle their leg out, and place their toes on the mat. Then the practitioner can twist their hips to secure the sole of their foot to the mat. From here it becomes optional for the practitioner to pass, as they may look at the knee cut, the knee slice, or the back step pass.
A good way to counter the lockdown is with a simple technique that is easy to execute. The practitioner will use their forearm into the throat of their opponent, as their other hand grabs the pants of their opponent's lockdown. The next step is for the practitioner to slide their hips lower towards their opponent's feet, and unhook their leg from the lockdown mechanism. Now the practitioner will straight away change their angle, moving forty five degrees to prevent their opponent from regaining a definitive control with their lockdown position. The practitioner will have one of their hands on the mat with their elbow securing their opponent's head, while their head posts off of the mat. Their other hand will grab hold of their opponent's foot, as they kick their leg backwards, and pull the foot forward. This will create a calf slicer with the opponent’s own lockdown as the fulcrum.
IS THE LOCKDOWN A DANGEROUS POSITION
There are many practitioners in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community that think the lockdown is a dangerous move to use. In Brazil the lockdown is known as the scorpion, and it involves using an extensive amount of pressure into the leg, and the knee joint of an opponent. This position can be daunting if the practitioner trying to escape is unfamiliar with the maneuver. If a practitioner tries to rip their leg free, then they can wind up causing significant damage to their knee joint, or their leg bones. This position is an intricate one that involves weaving around an opponent's leg with a practitioner's legs. This can be a recipe for disastrous results, and is why many traditional grapplers within the community don't think this move should be practised often. The traditionalists are more about longevity within the sport, and saving students from suffering from career ending injuries.
The modern day athlete is much more brazen, or perhaps reckless compared to the traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete. The modern game of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has evolved considerably, and involves practitioners using various types of dangerous systems like inverted guard attempts, intricate leg entanglement positions, and systems like Eddie Bravo's 10th Planet rubber guard, and lock down systems. Using the lockdown from the half guard is just another movement to athletes that train under the 10th planet banner. Many of these competitors will defend the use of the lockdown, and say it has its own place within the Brazilian Arts repertoire. Debating whether this move is dangerous or not, will basically come down to each individual's opinion. There are many pros and cons to the validity of the dangers involved with the lockdown, and practitioners know that many of the movements within Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be dangerous, so they need to proceed with caution in order to stay safe to train for longevity within the sport.
If you enjoyed this piece, consider checking: