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Three Devastating Leg Locks in the Gi

Three Devastating Leg Locks in the Gi


Leg locks are becoming increasingly popular with the growth of nogi, submission only and tournaments like EBI.  Many people assume leg locks are only effective nogi because you can’t reap in many gi divisions and you can’t utilize the heel hook.

There are several leg locks that are extremely devastating in the gi.   Three of the most devastating leg locks in the gi are the strait foot lock, the knee bar, and the toe hold.  These three leg attacks are extremely good in the gi, some may even say they are better because you have the pants which make escapes harder for your opponent.

The Strait Foot Lock in the Gi (Ankle Lock)

The strait foot lock is one of the best submissions and is an extremely great leg lock in the gi.  The strait foot lock can either attack the metatarsals, the ankle, or the Achilles tendon.  Depending on the application, any of those areas could be damaged. 

The strait foot lock allows you to have a great sense of control and can be a legitimate break if applied properly.  We have seen many people even snap their fibula or tibia by not tapping to a strait ankle lock.  UFC fighter Hector Lombard famously snapped some one’s shin in a strait ankle lock. Check out our article, “Strait Foot Lock, a Dangerous Weapon” to learn more on the strait foot lock.  Also, check out this video from Luiz Panza breaking down a foot lock in the gi.

The Kneebar in the Gi

The knee bar is one of the best submissions in the gi.  It is also the most devastating leg lock if finished.  You can break your opponent’s knee, fibula, and dislocate all their ligaments in the knee.  This is not a submission you want to hold out on.

Many people have utilized the knee bar in the highest levels of gi competitions.  Braulio Estima has an infamous set up for his knee bar that can only be applied in the gi.  He sets it up from spider guard, it is an extremely powerful entry and very grip dependent. Check out the video below of Braulio Estima finishing his knee bar from spider guard.

The Toe Hold in the Gi

There is a common misconception with the toe hold.  Many people assume that it is only a pain move and that there is no real break that can occur if a toe hold is finished.  This is incorrect.  People assume this because in the lower weigh categories at the black belt world championships, nobody taps to toe holds.  Bruno Malfacine, Caio Terra, the Mendes Bros, and the Miyao Bro’s are all infamous for having “rubber feet” and not tapping to toe holds.  These guys are all world class black belts and they always stretch their feet for these submissions, they sustain damage but they know subtle defenses that allow them to minimize the damage from toe holds.

The toe hold will break your ankle if applied properly and not defended well.  The toe hold can also tear ligaments and joints in your foot and knee.  This submission is not something to mess around with.  At this year’s 2017 Black Belt World Championships, World Champion Romulo Barral had his ankle brutally broken from a toe hold.  This submission is constantly used at high level gi competitions and constantly finished.  Check out this toe hold entry from single leg X with Felipe Pena below.

If you want to work on your leg locks and add some new attacks to your arsenal that will work in the gi, check out “IBJJF Legal Leg Locks” DVD by Jose Varella. This is a great resource and contains some awesome instructional videos that really break down the mechanics of the leg locks. Also, check out our article on calf slicers as a bonus here. 


IBJJF Legal Leg Locks
Find out more techniques in Leg Locks From The East by Kamil Wilk.



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