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BJJ Instructional Videos
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Ridiculously Simple Knee Compression Defense from Dean Lister

Ridiculously Simple Knee Compression Defense from Dean Lister


One of the first submissions that leg lock ace  Dean Lister learned as a young wrestler was the knee compression or also known as the calf slicer.  In this technique the opponent's leg is pulled across our own shin creating a painful crushing pressure into the muscle of the calf, while also putting extreme pressure on the knee joint that feels like the knee joint is about to explode.

For each new leg lock you add to your lower body submission arsenal, you should also begin exploring the possible escape routes from these positions.  Unlike the dreaded heel hook which can often times require a series of spiraling rolls and lightning fast scrambles, the defense to this compression lock is extremely simple to apply and stops the submission in its tracks.

Check out the video below from BJJ Fanatics in which Dean Lister demonstrates two different entries to the compression lock.  In the first, he enters by sliding his hook between the legs of a turtled opponent.  In the second, he rolls through to attack the position from the standpoint of being caught in the opponent's half guard.

 Whether he is sitting through to grab the foot of the turtled opponent and rolling to his back, or his is rolling through to escape the half guard of his opponent, the first thing Dean looks to do is triangle his legs.  This secures the position and provides the surface with which he will attack the opponent's leg.

Then by reaching for the foot, the submission is secured by pulling the foot back and across the shin driving the shin into the meat of the calf and creating the compression pressure in the knee and the crushing pain of the calf slice.  So now how should one properly defend this technique?  Once you've seen it, it's almost as if you need to see it again to make sure there wasn't more to the technique.

The key to the defense is simply to drive the free foot that is not being attacked against the side of the foot that is being attacked to fortify it and make it extremely difficult for the opponent to pull towards them.  Some instructors will say that the free foot should go behind the heel of the foot, but as Dean points out, it is much stronger to drive the force against the heel.

This is a great example of one of those ultra simple techniques that we would never think of on our own.  That's why the experiences and instruction of leg lock gurus like Dean Lister are so important.  By following the advice of someone who was one of the first American grapplers to begin popularizing the lower body submission and who also helped shaped the history of leg locks with a conversation with John Danaher, you will speed up your leg lock mastery.

To get more amazing techniques from Dean Lister, check out Leg Attacks and Grappling Hacks and begin terrorizing your training partners and opponents in no time!  This is a guy who was crushing opponents with leg attacks at the highest level while most of the Danaher Death Squad was in middle school.  Don't waste another minute.


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