Open wedges/closed wedges

Open and Close wedges

An important principle of my leg lock system is the closed wedge principle. Ashi garami is essentially a set of wedges around your opponent’s leg and hips. Like most examples of wedging in jiu jitsu, it is designed to INHIBIT MOVEMENT so that you can more easily break your opponent. As a general rule I have a preference for CLOSED wedges over open wedges when it is time to break someone. In practical terms, this means that ONE OF MY LIMBS MUST REINFORCE THE POSITION OF THE OTHER, LOCKING IT IN PLACE SO THAT AN OPPONENT CANNOT EASILY SEPARATE THE WEDGES AND ESCAPE. There are a vast number of ashi garami variations out there, but if you observe my students in operation you will see immediately that whenever they are in a tough match with a skilled opponent, they will go back to the strength and security of closed wedge variations of ashi garami where their legs lock around their opponent with crossed feet or triangled legs. This adds greatly to the tightness of the control. Our two favorite and strongest finishing positions at the top of the breaking hierarchy both feature closed/reinforced wedges - in the case of straight ashi garami variations we favor outside ashi garami. In the case of cross ashi garami variations we favor versions of inside sankaku. Both lock the attacker very securely to the opponent and thus can generate truly intimidating power. Are closed wedges always necessary? No - you can get a lot of success without them up to a certain level. If your opponent is perhaps inexperienced in avoiding heel hooks, then open versions of ashi garami can work just fine- but when you are in a serious struggle against a skilled opponent - work with the security, safety, strength and power of closed wedges when possible.