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Is the Footlock the Most Dangerous Weapon in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Martial Arts in General?

Is the Footlock the Most Dangerous Weapon in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Martial Arts in General?


Does footlock experience make you a better BJJ player?

The foot lock is one of the most underrated submissions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Many people assume that the foot lock does not actually threaten a break, but is a “pain” submission.  This is a common misconception, if applied properly, the foot lock can very easily break your opponent’s metatarsals.

Why do people think that the foot lock is a “pain” submission?  It could be the fact that in the Black Belt matches at the IBJJF worlds, you will rarely see a foot lock finish. You have some people that don’t tap to it.  For instance, the Miyao Brothers are notorious for never tapping to foot locks.  They are the exception, not the rule. All the people that don’t tap to foot locks also have an immense amount of defensive knowledge.  Although it may seem they just have a high pain threshold, they are also applying the proper defensive techniques.  This allows them to inhibit a high pain tolerance, the Miyao Bro’s know their limits.

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None the less, the foot lock is a dangerous weapon for various reasons.  It presents itself very often, it is a good control position, and it is an extremely versatile submission.  You can apply it just as well in nogi as you could in the gi.

The Foot Lock Entries

The foot lock is an incredible submission because of how often it presents itself.  What does this mean?  It means that you can apply this submission prior to passing someone’s guard, prior to sweeping them, and from bottom or top.

Basically, it is not one of the submissions where it is necessary to emphasize the “position before submission” philosophy, at least in the sense of finding the submission.  If you want to sharpen your foot lock check out our post, “Dean Listers sneaky leg attack.”  Also check out this detailed foot lock instructional from Luiz Panza below.

The Foot Lock for Control

The foot lock is also a dangerous weapon because of the control you have over your opponent.  It is a relatively safe positon because your opponent can’t create much offense once they are in a foot lock, they should defend.

The foot lock is traditionally set up from the single leg X guard, or Ashi Garami.  There are other guards you can apply it from such as 50/50, while passing, or from half guard.  These positions that enable you to attack a foot lock have excellent control.  The most popular guard to attack foot locks from is the single leg x guard.

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 Marcelo Garcia was infamous for innovating the single leg X guard and he never even used foot locks. He used the position to control and sweep his opponents, so when attacking foot locks, you have a good sense of control.  Check out this video of a sneaky foot lock set up while attempting to pass your opponent’s guard.

The Versatility of the Footlock

The foot lock is one of the most versatile submissions.  You can apply just as well nogi as you can in the gi.  This makes the foot lock an extremely dangerous weapon, and an important submission to be familiar with.  If you want to see a cool foot lock check out our article, “The Luiz Panza Lock.”

The foot lock is a great addition to any bjj practitioner’s arsenal because whether you do gi or nogi, if you have a good foot lock, you will have a good submission in any form of grappling. 

We spoke of the control element to a foot lock above, this also transcends to the versatility of the foot lock.  Marcelo Garcia won ADCC 4x and the Worlds 5x because his game was the same nogi as it was gi.  He used single leg x often, so If you work the single leg X you can develop a devastating foot lock and guard for gi and nogi.  Check out this killer outside foot lock from Dean Lister below.

If you want to develop your foot lock, this DVD “Hidden bjj Secrets” by black belt, Luiz Panza is an excellent resource.  He discusses the foot lock in depth.


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