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Reverse Figure Four Lock with Neil Melanson

Reverse Figure Four Lock with Neil Melanson


The figure four grip is one of the most widely used methods of control in grappling. Its uses are endless, and its efficiency is second to none. If you understand the mechanics and how well you can manipulate an opposing party with the figure 4, the chances are, you’ve had endless amounts of success with the lock. Because of the high level of control of the figure four, once a tight figure four has been secured, you can easily follow your opponent through transitional periods and scrambles. Often times using the lock to eventually submit or transition to a favorable position.

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You’re probably well versed in the traditional figure four lock. We’re introduced to it early and often in our BJJ studies. But there are other ways to secure a figure four lock that you may not be familiar with. Let’s have a look at one of these options. In this video Neil Melanson gives us a look at his version of a reverse figure four lock. This looks to be super powerful and effective, and your opponents may not see this one coming.

Melanson begins in the closed guard. His first objective is to acquire a cross grip on his partners arm. He lifts his hips to create a flat surface out of his body and guides the arm across his mid-section. He’s now able to secure a two one at the elbow and wrist of his partner. As his partner resists the movement, and brings his arm back across, Melanson feeds his right hand through the loop in his partners arm and secures his partners shoulder. He’s careful here to leave his arm a bit shallow and not fully commit to threading his arm all the way through. With the arm now in a chicken wing like scenario, Melanson is able to manipulate his partners body in a variety of ways. He can create and take away space as he sees fit to assist him in advancing.

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Melanson now hips out toward the trapped arm and steps on his partners hip, clamping his leg tight against the locked arm. His left arm then comes over the top, and a rear naked choke style lock is applied. To finish the submission with the reverse figure four, Melanson simply drops his weight down into his partners shoulder for what appears to be a very tight shoulder lock.

Neil learned his skills from the Hayastan Grappling system, developed by Gokor Chivechyan and Gene LeBell.  He is considered one of the foremost experts on Catch Wrestling.  For more information about Neil’s impressive grappling style, pick up his DVD set in which he covers some of his coveted techniques.  You can get it here at BJJ Fanatics!






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