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Luiz Panza Footlock Breakdown

Luiz Panza Footlock Breakdown


The straight foot lock is one of the best submissions to learn when someone is just getting started with the leg attack game.  Though like most techniques, there are many nuances that can make it extremely complicated to perfect, the overarching principles can be understood rather quickly and put into practice allowing one to see moderate success without endless drilling or needless complex movements and adjustments.  This leg attack is one that is legal in most techniques for the majority of belt levels, so it's definitely a great way to start early and practice often to ensure that you perfect the technique.

In this article, we will breakdown one of competitive BJJ's rising stars, Luiz Panza's unique gi foot lock.  We will look at all of the key elements of the position to help you digest and implement it as efficiently into your game plan as you can and begin to terrorize your training partners and opponents in competition with this fundamental technique with some added flair brought to it by Panza.

Luiz Panza is well-known amongst competitors for his excellent leg locks, but may be a little less well-known to the casual BJJ fan.  One would serve themselves well to check out many of the matches available on YouTube featuring Panza competing at the highest level of the sport with a who's who of competitive grappling.

In the video below, Panza demonstrates his famous 'botinha' leg lock.  Pay attention to the details and we'll break it down after the video. 

 Here are some of the key points of the movement that should be studied and applied to be able to properly execute the technique.

Perfect Placement of Forearm Bone 

In the video, Panza explains that a relatively shallow grip, keeping the blade of one's forearm on the shin is crucial to finish the technique.  One important detail is to watch how the lapel is secured on the same side of the arm locking the shin as opposed to the far lapel.  By maintaining a grip on the near lapel, the mobility of the torso is maintained and allows for maximum torque at the end of the technique.  This also guarantees that the grip doesn't go too deep and put the forearm bone out of the proper alignment or range from the opponent's calf muscle.

Control Foot and Toes in Armpit

The elbow is crucial to keep pressure on the foot and toes, keeping the package tight while legs and torso are adjusted to finish the move.  This is a principle that can never be reiterated enough.  As we transition through different techniques, the very movement of our body parts creates space and it is our job when on the hunt for the submission to keep the escape routes to a very minimum and one of the best ways to do this is to keep all things extremely tight.

Maintain Feet Together Against Opponent's Ribs

The feet must be kept together to yield the most power and to protect each other.  Once split, they can more easily be attacked.  By keeping them together and pressing them into the opponent's torso, you prevent them sitting up and nullifying your lock.  Together we stand, divided we fall has been given new meaning when considering how to control their hips and utilize the leverage your feet provide.

Utilize Entire Upper Body When Going Belly Down

To maximize the pressure on the shin, Panza urges to keep your chin open and use the whole upper body in concert to apply the pressure.  As the rotation of the body begins, the opponent will see and feel the end coming.  Posture and puffing one's chest out or opening oneself up and extending one's body is an underrated piece of this puzzle.  Our human tendency is to shorten or compress ourselves rather than to elongate and extend.  Again, we must constantly remind ourselves until it becomes second nature.

Finish with a pushup

It is in the final push up from the belly down position, that the opponent will feel the excruciating, insescapable pain and pressure of the last moments of the botinha.

For additional information on Luiz Panza and his philosophy of leg attacks and foot lock approach, check out this BJJ Fanatics article here.  This article will help you further understand the philosophy and mindset that Luiz Panza brings to his BJJ and especially his submission game with regards to leg attacks.

By now it's easy to see that Luiz Panza is not just your average black belt competitor and a former model's pretty face.  He is a well-rounded competitor with his best successes still to be had in the future.  Known primarily for his gi leg attacks and dynamic finishes, his will be a career to watch in the coming years.

Now that you've seen multiple time Black Belt Pan American champion Luiz Panza break down his footlock techniques, it's time to take advantage of all of his "Hidden BJJ Secrets" 4 DVD instructional series. He's got a DVD focused on footlocks, a DVD focused on sweeps and one on submissions.  Lastly, the fourth DVD in the series focuses on passing the X Guard, one of the more tricky guards to pass.  So in one power packed instructional series, he has a little bit for every taste and every style of BJJ player.  By having a variety of focus areas, you will also be more likely to quickly add techniques to your game that fill in different holes you may see in your own game.




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