Friday, February 17, 2012

Leg Locks Vs. Armbars


I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
27 December 2008 @ 05:58 pm

I consider myself a bit of a leg lock enthusiast. I don't consider myself an expert yet mainly because my straight ankle is not the greatest. Admittedly it is the hardest attack to get people to tap on, but there are some greats who can tap just about anyone with it.

Right now I am trying to wrap my brain on the idea that an achilles lock and an ankle lock are two different submissions. Tell that to Ken Shamrock right? Grab an ankle and yank. But yes, you can attack the back of the ankle on that tendon and cause serious pain, or you can attack the actual ankle, in particular the instep. I think it's pretty hard to do both at the same time, one will suffer.

Anyhow that's not even my point. My point is that leg locks and upper body submissions are different. I used to say for many years and thought I was on a break through when I thought that a leg lock and an arm attack were the same thing. You pull on a knee bar and armbar the same way, omaplata is just a heel hook on the arm. And actually my attacks on the legs went up thinking this way. But...I guess that was one break through. Now in hindsight I think my thinking was limited.

That it is NOT the same. Here is why. The mechanics of arms and legs are similar but here is where it is different. You can submit an arm because your legs, which are much bigger and stronger than your opponents arms have wrapped around your opponents arms, leaving little room to escape, then your arms and the strength of your back pry that arm loose and you get the tap. Also you can hold onto your opponents leg while armbarring as well. And the arm is attached to their torso not their hip.

Now trying to control your opponents legs with your legs which may be just as strong, and sometimes even weaker than your opponents, luckily slightly stronger, changes the whole dynamics of it. Not only that its not attached to their torso, its attached to their hips! And jiu jitsu is all about hips and hip control, because the hips are so powerful and flexible. So it's your back and arms and legs vs their legs, hips, and arms. That is nothing like an armbar where you have a clear advantage. It's like trying to submit a bucking horse.

So questions arise. How do I give myself the upperhand? How do I pull off a leg lock without blowing out my groin and back and give myself a hernia? How do I pin his hips in place?

You know what, I don't know. But these are good questions at least for me let me know that leg locks are a completely different animal due to the leverages involved. Yes similar fulcrums and levers, put the lengths of the levers, the weight of the counter weight and push points are different. It's like being near the center of the centrifuge and being at the end of it. Same centrifuge, totally different results.

But give me time, I will figure it out.
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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