Changing the leg lock game

Leg Lock

Probably the single biggest influence on the leg lock game that myself and my students had was to promote the idea that the leg lock TECHNIQUES employed by an athlete were not as important as the overall SYSTEM of tactics, supporting techniques and mechanical details that actually make the basic techniques work repeatedly against skilled opponents; so that the standard leg lock techniques are seen as being only as good as the support system in which they are embedded. They say it takes a village to raise a child - well, similarly, it takes a system to land a heel hook. If that was the biggest influence - there is another that could well be a strong second place. When i first began a serious study of leg locks almost twenty years ago, the overwhelming majority of leg attacks were done from top position as a means of attacking someone who was playing from guard position. Thus leg locking was seen as contrary to spirit of jiu jitsu, which always strongly emphasized passing guard first and submissions second. The few people using leg locks at high level scored all their greatest successes from top position or standing position. What I did was to push the leg locking game from bottom position. Many popular and proven guard positions such as butterfly guard, X guard, half butterfly guard etc are based on inside position that can easily be adapted to ashi garami based leg locks. Using these inside control based guards as a starting point, I added the notion of kuzushi (off balancing) from guard position, rather than the standard idea of sweeping from guard. This forced opponents to base out wide with arms and legs and made entries into leg locks from bottom position very easy. You can clearly see that among all my students, the vast majority of their leg lock entries are from bottom position. This nullified the old criticism that leg locking was a bad idea because it would result in loss of top position if it failed. It also meant that people stopped seeing leg locking as a weapon to be used AGAINST guard position (anti jiu jitsu) and started seeing it as I do, as a weapon used FROM guard position that only makes jiu jitsu stronger.