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Home Grappling 10 Leg Locks to End Fights

leg lock

Today I want to look at a variety of leg lock videos. Leg locks come in plenty of forms from many different arts – I don’t want to get focused on one art, but instead on the area being attacked. A successful leg lock has the potential to painfully debilitate your opponent’s leg. Ankle, knee, and hip locks all attack the soft tissue supporting the joints, damaging and even tearing tendons and ligaments. You will see examples like the knee bar and ankle locks, but you can also directly attack the muscle using your forearm or shin for the calf crusher type moves, so I’ll show you some of those too.

Ankle Lock From Open Guard

Ankle and toe holds have to be some of the most painful leg locks to be in. It really doesn’t take much pressure to completely blow out someone’s ankle. Foot or ankle control can be a little harder to get than wrist control, but if you secure it this is a nice way to lock up your opponent’s legs and finish with the ankle lock.

Standard Heel Hook

Heel hooks are a great high percentage submission. You will ideally control both the hip and the knee before you hook and rotate the heel – it’s incredibly painful and comes on quickly. The tighter you trap the knee, the more pressure you will be able to apply, and eventually the knee will give way.

In this video, Bas Rutten gives a great breakdown of the standard heel hook; he has some great tips on securing the position for this leg lock.

Inverted Heel Hook

With the inverted heel hook, you must first take the target leg across your body. This allows you to control the knee from the opposite side, inverting the leg and allowing you to hook the heel from the other side. There are a number of reasons for doing this, including available space around you or even using it as a counter-attack.

Here we have Bas Rutten again, this time showing us how to set up and apply the inverted heel hook.

Hip Lock

If you can hyper-extend and damage the hips of your opponent, they are in all kinds of trouble. You can take away their mobility in pretty much every position; by taking out the hip flexors, for instance, they will not be able to kick. You don’t see as many people going for hip locks compared to knee and ankle, but it’s a great way to get a submission.

Don’t blink or you may miss this catch wrestling hip lock! Catch the leg with both arms and torque it to the side as you switch position. Snake your inside arm over the lower leg, catching outside the thigh. Your outside arm should reach to control the neck, giving you the leverage needed to attack the hip.

Hip Lock From Side Control

A really nice way to attack the hip is from side control. I like to make out like I’m trying to pass into guard and if the near leg comes up to defend, I can switch under and go into a hip lock.

This video shows you a great entry to a hip lock from side control. Switch into side mount, trap the near side of the hip and catch the opposite leg, pulling it towards you. As you get leverage from your legs, you also trap the upper body and hyper-extend the hip.

Calf Crusher Leg Lock

Calf crushing or compression can be a very painful and somewhat satisfying submission to score – just make sure you are on the right side of it! Essentially, you need to secure a position where you can place your shin across the top of your opposition’s calf. When you have the position, you can apply pressure with your body weight or even use their own leg to get leverage.

This video gives you a nice breakdown of the calf crusher, showing you how to use it as an alternative attack for someone who is turtling on their knees.

Calf Crusher Using Your Forearm

I want to show you how to attack with your forearm in order to get a submission from a calf crusher. In this video you see it being shown as a counter to a standard ankle lock. Secure the position and apply pressure.

Knee Bars From Guard and Half-Guard

Out of all leg locks, knee bars are my personal favourite. Even if you cannot finish the fight you can really damage the joint. With a damaged knee your opponent will be less of a problem, and they will lose striking power and speed in their shoot for any takedowns.

This video starring Chuck Liddell gives a nice breakdown of a knee bar from guard and half-guard. In guard make sure to open their feet first, and in half-guard create a channel by blocking their body. The tighter you hold that leg, the easier you can pop that knee.

Rolling Knee Bar

I would be lying if I said I didn’t try for this move a few hundred times after I was first shown it. I remember rolling with friends and letting them start to take my back so I could go for this. I found it helpful to catch their leg with a firm grip as you roll, and to fully commit to it – you can’t half-roll and expect to come out winning.

I love the demonstration here – multiple angles and some great pointers. It’s one of those techniques that looks more complicated than it actually is. It’s super useful in a pinch!

Sambo Leg Lock

What I love about this move is the way you can easily redirect your attack from up high and go straight for the legs. When someone is on their back in a standard guard position, their legs bent and feet down, you can fake for the arm lock or even pin your opponents upper body, then rotate your hips and use your controlling leg to lift the ankle and apply the lock.

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