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The Classic Toe Hold
A Classic Attack
The toe hold. It is a classic foot lock attack, but oft forgotten about. It is prominent in the Catch Wrestling style and is also present in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The toe hold is a gray area of grappling. In IBJJF tournaments, people tend to favor the straight foot lock, while in the submission only tournaments, heel hooks are the beloved leg attack. But attacking with the technique can be easy as other foot locks, but as painful as a heel hook. Here is a nice intro into the toe hold if you are not familiar with this effective technique.
What Exactly is the Toe Hold?
First, let’s talk about what a toe hold is. Depending on the tournament, this technique can be legal or illegal. If a tournament allows it, use it to its full ability. The toe hold is technically a twisting style foot lock. It involves grabbing the foot by the ball of the foot and the toes with a thumb-less grip, and using your other arm as a brace against the opponent’s shin, and connecting your arms by another thumb-less grip. The grip is similar to that of a rear naked choke. You can attack with it from leg entanglements such as ashi garami, inside sankaku and 50/50. You can also use it as a way of passing guard. It is this reason why the toe hold deserves some love. It’s versatile. Here is Dean Lister describing the basics of the technique.
Effective Uses of the Toe Hold
Possibly my favorite way of using the toe hold, is to use it from half guard top. While passing guard works, there is nothing like hitting a leg lock instead of hitting the pass, if available. While you sit in your opponent’s half guard, you can roll over your far shoulder and control his feet. As you roll, you’ll be able to break the half guard and the opponent’s foot will be right on your shoulder. From there, you can lock up a toe hold right then and there. It will not only take the opponent by surprise, but at worst case scenario, it will create a scramble. You will not be any worse for the wear. The video below shows this same set up and attack.
An Advantageous Skill
Being able to use the toe hold technique will give you an advantage over those who do not train it. It is a painful technique that gets the tap the majority of the time when it is used. Dean Lister, who is one of the best leg lockers in the art of BJJ, had a whole DVD dedicated to the toe hold. Check out Dean’s K.A.T.C.H Leg Attack System at BJJ Fanatics. The DVD set goes over a variety of leg attacks, including the toe hold.