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Tom DeBlass Shows a Sneaky Calf Slicer from Lockdown

Tom DeBlass Shows a Sneaky Calf Slicer from Lockdown


What Exactly is a “Lockdown” Again?

Today’s technique trick is a little advanced. If you haven’t played with these positions before, then I hope this is an enticing first look. The move I want to highlight is built off of a pretty specific position called the lockdown. While the lockdown isn’t our main focus, it’s probably worth discussing for those who may not have seen it in the past.

The lockdown is a specific type of half guard that locks your partner’s hips down into yours. It’s a valuable way to control distance from the bottom of half guard allowing you to play a clinch game and begin attacking from underneath your partner. It can also help to relieve top pressure and, if you have a height advantage, can even prevent you from receiving crossface pressure.

In order to get a lockdown from half guard, triangle your opponent’s leg by bringing your outside leg over the top of theirs and making a figure-four with your legs. Finally, scoop the opponent’s leg up with your inside foot and extend out to apply pressure. You can see Tom DeBlass demonstrate a solid example of this lockdown position 50 seconds into the video below.


Going Up!

As you saw in the clip above, after we lock our partner down, the next move is sling them back up in order to get underneath them in a particular way. From such a locked down position it might feel impossible to get out from underneath your opponent but Tom DeBlass demonstrates the proper mechanics to help make the other player light.

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When it’s time to initiate the move, you can put your hands to your partner’s armpit or bicep and push them north as you bring your knees forcefully towards your chin. The combination of your arms and the lockdown both pressuring them forward will force your partner to elevate. Once underneath your partner, bring the arm opposite your lockdown across your partner’s center line and create a wedge to drop their weight to the side as you sit up.

As you sit up, reach with your wedge hand and control the opponent’s shin in order to secure it in place. At the same time, your legs that were locked down will now naturally and easily slide into a triangle on your opponent’s leg, exposing it. Some minor adjustments will help us finish the move but this position is fairly secure for you, even on the bottom.

To finish the calf slicer, first adjust the angle of the leg that is your fulcrum so that it is as perpendicular as possible to your partner’s leg. You want to place your shin at 90 degrees from, and directly into, the other player’s calf. Once this lever is in place for the break, it’s time to maximize the pressure. Since we want to control the shin, it may seem natural to grab the leg. In fact, we actually want to grab the toes if possible because applying force to the end of a lever always yields more power than the same force applied at any other point along the lever. Bring both of your hands to your partner’s toes and pull them back towards you in order to create maximum breaking force. 

Breaking it Down

  • Get a lockdown from half guard by triangling your partner’s leg and scooping it up
  • Elevate your partner by bringing your knees to your chest
  • Use your arms to push your partner north
  • Bring the arm opposite your lockdown across your center like a wedge
  • Sit out to the side as your partner slides off the side down the wedge
  • Slide your legs from a lockdown to a triangle
  • Adjust the angle of your shin to maximize pressure
  • Grab the toes and pull back slowly for the submission

Final Thoughts on Rolling Courtesy 

Remember that this move goes on quickly and painfully, and be aware that many people will be caught off guard by something this slick from the bottom. From their perspective in top half guard, they may have no idea that the tap is coming. Competition is one thing, but be sure to go easy with your training partners out of mutual respect.

A Master Class From Tom DeBlass

Not many instructors are as prolific as Tom DeBlass, who has been teaching Jiu Jitsu since his early twenties and recently released the aptly named instructional Middle Aged BJJ. That kind of longevity comes with an impressive breadth of experience and valuable knowledge. A black belt under Ricardo Almeida, DeBlass has coached many successful competitors and boasts an impressive grappling record himself, including ADCC and No Gi World Championships in both his weight class and absolutes.

The source of this clip, The Lockdown Blueprint, has been a fantastic introduction to the lockdown game for me. For the longest time I used lockdown as an emergency position to hold my opponent when I’d begun to lose guard. After spending some time learning these concepts, I see lockdown as a valuable tool for taking the back, sweeping, leg lock entries, and a path to deep half guard. Check this one out and start building your lockdown game.



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