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Powerful Straight Ankle Lock Details with Craig Jones and Lachlan Giles
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Powerful Straight Ankle Lock Details with Craig Jones and Lachlan Giles

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Applied properly, the straight ankle or foot lock, can be just as devastating and painful as any other lower body submission. When it comes to breaking mechanics, just like any lower body attack, the straight ankle lock has its own unique set of properties that make it a force to be reckoned with. 

I’ve heard many BJJ players remark that they don’t tap to the straight ankle lock. Maybe they have flexible feet, or maybe they’ve never been in a legitimate straight ankle lock during their time in BJJ. Whatever the case may be, the straight ankle lock is still an important part of the leg game, and having one that’s efficient and respected can lead to lots of other avenues, especially where the leg lock game is concerned. 

Another important reason to have a good straight ankle lock, is that for some time, this may be the only lower body attack you’re allowed to attempt in competition. Most rulesets do not allow twisting leg locks for lower belts. You may have to wait until purple belt to begin attempting these kinds of attacks. This gives us time to perfect and understand the straight ankle lock at the lower ranks. If we develop this submission early, it will set us up for success later, when we’re trying to add heel hooks and other lower body submissions to the arsenal. 

The straight ankle comes in many forms, and it transcends rulesets. You’ll see this submission in no gi as well as gi settings and things can get pretty creative. Let’s take a look at a couple of different ways to apply the straight ankle lock from two of the best BJJ players on the planet. See if you notice some common themes. 

In this first video, you’ll get a lot more than you bargained for, as there are three techniques here from three of the best BJJ figures on the planet. But what were looking for is some info on the straight ankle and Craig Jones provides us with some incredible details at the opening of the video. Jones is a leg locking machine and this particular variation of his straight ankle lock hurts just to watch it. Take a look!

Jones begins with a common misconception that many of us may be guilty of. Sometimes we feel that to achieve braking pressure, we need to lay flat on our backs and arch into the foot in the style of an armbar. This may get a rise out of a novice player and a possible tap from fear, but a seasoned practitioner will not tap to this particular application. This type of attempt at getting the tap doesn’t apply the right kind of breaking pressure.

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Jones recommends instead that we perform the technique in a way that applies pressure more in the style of a tor hold to command the tap. First, jones sets up in an ashi garami position. He’s sure to suck up all the space between him and his partner to make sure there are no openings. Next, He positions his thumb near the achilles tendon and takes a shallow grip, wrapping his arm around the ankle. 

This is where the magic happens. Jones begins to walk in a circle on his elbow, so that his partners ankle starts to curve underneath his body. As Jones arrives at the furthest point, he can travel to with this circling method he can now begin put his chest down, look behind him, and ad din some hip extension to load up what looks to be an incredible amount of pressure on to the ankle. 

You’ll notice here that Jones is only applying this submission with one hand. Certainly, a second hand could be added to the mix but with the mechanics Craig is using, its simply not necessary. This is incredibly information for the finish of the straight ankle lock. Great stuff!

This next bit of instruction comes from Lachlan Giles. Here we’ll get a great comprehensive breakdown on the straight ankle lock from start to finish. Have a look!

Giles begins with a very common technique that can lead us in to straight ankle lock territory. He gets shin to shin and enters in to a single leg x guard position. Here he executes a sweep and makes sure to fall to his left side, so that he ends up in proper position to attack the ankle. You should recognize this position from the previous video. 

Giles first addresses a few ways that your opponent may want to escape and how to maintain the position. The first being your partner getting to their opposite side hip and back to their feet. To prevent this, Giles keeps his initial hold on both feet and leans hard in to the left side making this type of escape nearly impossible. 

Another way for Giles’s partner to dismantle the position is to close the gap between them during the exchange and also working to “put on the boot’. To stop this Giles uses hi top knee to keep his partner at a distance and hand fights and attempts at securing his collar. 

Probably the most common form of defense that we see here, is for the opposing party to push the outside foot off of their hip and being to jump that leg. This allows them to remove themselves from the entanglement and begin dismantling the position. Giles answers this by replacing the removed leg with his opposite leg. As the leg gets removed, he steps on the hip with this opposite foot. Giles reminds us here that if your partner removes the foot but does not move, then we keep fighting to put it back on the hip. Don’t forget that. We don’t want to do more work than we have to here. As he plants his foot on the hip, Giles now being to turn in to a belly down position, placing his knees on the floor and flaring them out wide. This secures the tap for Giles. For this variation to work, you MUST have the foot tight from the inception of the technique. Once your belly down it will be too late to begin trying to tighten up your lock. 

With all of his defensive bases covered, Giles now begins to attack the ankle. He secures a grip almost identical to Jones’s but adds his second hand. Giles then tucks his elbow under as he begins to flatten his chest, arching in to the submission. Something important to note here is that Giles is hiking his hands up as high as possible towards his head. This adds some extra pressure to the lock and some security as well. 

There are enough great details here to build the strongest straight ankle lock on the mat. From set up to finishing mechanics, every base is covered. Develop an incredibly powerful straight ankle lock early and you’ll be on your way to being a leg attacking machine! Good luck!

Lachlan Giles is one of the BEST teachers around. His YouTube channel has helped grapplers across the globe. The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard By Lachlan Giles is easily one of the best resources available ANYWHERE. Giles has world class technique matched with UNPARALLELED teaching ability!

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