Monday, March 11, 2013

Examining The Leg Locks

Another guest post from leg lock extraordinaire Dan Faggella.



One of the corner stones of mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the use of locks and holds to achieve a tap. Everyone knows that there is a multitude of kinds, styles and variations of locks and anywhere this is a joint on the human frame, it can be pressured and locked up for a tap. This article is going to examine the application of the leg lock and explore ways to escape the leg lock.

The easiest way to conduct a leg lock is from a standing position while your opponent is on their back in a variation of the open guard position. From the standing position, a leg lock tap out is as simple as grabbing one of the legs of your opponent and then sitting “around” the leg (with both thighs clamping on either side). Notice the detail of having the outside foot on the hip of the opponent to brace him away and ensure that he can’t pull you in to prevent the lock.

What makes this particular variation of the leg lock so effective is that it allows the dominant the ability to implement this technique from an easy, familiar position and any time rotational force is being applied to a joint or ligament that move laterally not rotationally, any kind of rotational force imparted is going to automatically cause tension and in turn pressure.

Once the opponent’s leg is wrapped up - or in “position” - the options that are available to you are near endless and they will all lead to a situation all the more uncomfortable for your opponent. Toe hold, ankle hold, a shift into a Figure 4 lock, or an Achilles Heel lock are just some of the options that are all possible from a well executed leg lock. All of which - if you’ll notice, involve staying the same general leg lock orientation of having both of your thighs around the opponent’s thigh.

Now that your leg is tied up, the obvious question would be how do I get out of this lock? The beginning of the answer is surprisingly simple: Straighten your leg!

By straightening your leg and placing your body in a position that alleviates the pressure will do just that: alleviate the pressure on the leg and effectively undo your opponent’s attempt to get a tap. The thing to remember is that if your opponent is persistent, they will continue to try to get the lock on you. When this happens, it helps to be able to quickly know which way you will need to go to alleviate the pressure. Leg locks often a dangerous game where you are both at risk, so being aware of counters and escapes is as important as knowing your attacks!

Do you know the counters to your favorite leg locks, and the best ways you can counter those counters? Homework for ya!

All the best.

-Daniel Faggella

No Gi Pan Am Champion, a BJJ school owner, and writer for Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style (UK), and more. Dan is giving away a free heel hook DVD (with breakdowns of “Toquinho’s” awesome matches) with his Leg Lock Mastery Program at www.BJJLegLocks.com/Mastery

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