leg locks in bjj

Are Leg Locks in BJJ More Dangerous Than Other Submissions?

Are Leg Locks in BJJ really that Dangerous? Some people avoid them like the plague citing that leg locks are so destructive that they shouldn’t almost not be practiced at all. As if they are some evil section of grappling that should be avoided at all costs.


But in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, as I think we all know, all submissions are dangerous and have the potential to alter someone’s life in a very profound way. I’ve met people who have had permanent caused by things like armbars or rear naked chokes (improperly applied), which many unanimously agree are “safe” submissions to use in BJJ training.

Rolling is a Serious Game

Because of this inherent danger in everything we do on the mats. I think it’s always important to remind ourselves of just how serious the game of Rolling can actually be. We have a blast and it’s so much fun. But when it comes time to finish our training partners in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. We have to be smart.

Accidents happen in BJJ and people get injured. It’s just how it is and there is no way around it completely. But one goal we should always keep close to home as a training partner is to do everything in our power to ensure our partners leave in the same shape they came in. So if they were healthy and uninjured walked into the gym. They should be that way walking out.

Aversion to Leg Locks in BJJ

Many people have a certain aversion to Leg Locks in BJJ. I know that during my first few years of BJJ. A lot of coaches at this time talked about the techniques as if they were evil and just bad! It reminded me of the Dark Arts of Harry Potter or something.

But overtime they’ve become more and more prominent in BJJ and because of this more and more people are practicing them as part of their Brazilian Jiujitsu. I believe their prominence was caused by the gaping hole that was created by the lack of people in Brazilian Jiujitsu actually focusing on the lower body submissions.

I personally had to let go of the consistent idea that I had about leg locks in BJJ. That idea was mainly that they were too dangerous.

I’ve actually found through years of coaching that with proper knowledge they’re just about as safe as anything else. In fact, inside our gym over the last 3 years I’ve seen less injuries related to Leg Locks since we started practicing them on a weekly basis.

People are more sensitive to them now, they know how to escape and they know how to apply them with control. They know when to tap and how to adjust their body through the technique.

I know you may not agree. But I hope you at least consider the way you think about Leg Locks. Are they you’re own thoughts based on your own experiences, or are they the beliefs of another person?

Because through my experience as a BJJ Black Belt and Coach. Whether we are talking about an Armbar, Kimura or a Heel Hook in BJJ. . . they are all dangerous.


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Guillotine Choke Defense Using Front Head Lock Counter From Wrestling

Guillotine Choke Defense Using Front Head Lock Counter From Wrestling


Getting caught in a guillotine choke can be really frustrating. Me being a former wrestler, having a good guillotine choke defense was a must. One of the most frustrating things for me is getting caught while I’m going in for a takedown. This technique is one of the reasons why I don’t get caught very often. It’s simple but it allows so many options.

Luckily over the years I’ve had several training partners with really good guillotine chokes. Several of them set their guillotines up from the feet. Using a snap down style setup (similar to a front head lock). This had the benefit of forcing me to adjust and improve my defense against them.



Simple, But Effective, Guillotine Choke Defense Technique

In this video I show a guillotine choke defense that can be used. It’s very similar to a front headlock counter I learned years ago and has worked really well for me. I know the technique is incredibly simple and maybe seems like it’s not enough. But trust me. If you utilize the head up, stepping forward movement of this guillotine choke defense. People will have an incredibly hard time setting up their guillotine chokes from the feet on you. 

This standing defense is really good against people who try and snap your head down and go for the choke. But even the principle of getting two hands on 1 of theirs is going to be useful in almost any position that the chokes comes up.

With this guillotine choke defense video what I hoped to pass along was to continue moving and not freeze. Even if you decide to use a different technique for your goto guillotine choke defense. It’s so important to make sure that you don’t freeze up. Continue to adjust. I’ve seen so many younger guys get caught in a guillotine and just freeze up. You’ll see their hand getting ready to tap before the technique is full sunk in.

So give the technique a try, I hope it helps.

If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot them over to me.



How To Escape Side Control Against A 300lbs Wrestler

How To Escape Side Control Against A 300lbs Wrestler

How to escape side control against a 300lbs wrestler. This was the question I got recently. It’s a good question too.

As I’ve said previously on other posts. Wrestlers naturally favor side control. It’s very similar to a pinning position and it’s where they feel comfortable, especially early on. I say this from personal experience and those of many people I’ve trained or trained with over the years.

I’ve seen several wrestlers over the years able to pin black belts to the mat to the point where they couldn’t move. So telling someone how to escape side control against a good wrestler is tough. But I think it can be done easier than you think.


I Had To Find A Side Control Escape

When I start BJJ I had the “pleasure” of having my face smashed into the by several D1 wrestlers daily. We had a bunch of wrestlers who trained BJJ at my original gym, and back in the day there weren’t a lot of training partners. So, I was stuck against guys like this a lot. It was a blessing though because it forced me to deal with the situation and find a way to solve it. Over the years I was able to fine tune my sort of “anti-wrestler” game plan.

For me, the traditional frame and hip escape just didn’t seem like an option. As much as I tried it, it just never worked. I’m definitely not the most flexible guy in the hips so twisting my body around just isn’t on the table for me, at least not at the moment. Maybe as I keep doing Yoga I’ll have some options open up with new found flexibility.

So going back to the question. How to escape side control against a wrestler. In my opinion the most effective way to do this is to sneak out the back door and get a solid under hook. I’ve used this escape countless times against high level wrestlers and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitors in matches and just in training.


Using The Escape In the Absolute Divisions

I always seem to end up against big wrestlers in the absolute divisions of tournaments. One time in particular when I was a brown belt was against a 315lbs ( I know because I asked him) wrestler in the finals of the Arnold classic in no gi. He was fresh out of college wrestling and was incredibly fast. The beginning of the match started with me having to just survive. He powered through my guard and was able to pass the legs, but by using good body and hand positioning I was able to deny him the control of the position. This happened several times. Then right around the 4 minute mark he slowed down and I was able to take the match to him and use my half guard to sweep.

I ended up winning the match by submission. But using the under hook to escape side control saved me.

So if you’re up against a bigger, stronger person and keep getting stuck. Try this escape.

Remember though, if possible, be first. If you feel yourself losing the passing battle. Abandon it and setup your defenses against their side control.

Anyways, enjoy the video, and I hope it helps!



Lapel Choke Defense From Back (A Simple Grip Break)


Lapel Choke Defense From Back (A Simple Grip Break)

Some of you are going to watch this video and say, I know that move. Others might see it and think, “eh that’s too easy.”

But either way, this is grip break technique that is stupid simple and works incredibly well when used as a lapel choke defense. We never intend for someone to have our back in BJJ but it happens.

Likewise, we never intend to let our opponent have a tight lapel grip, but it happens.

When it does happen you have to have a solid defense and an ability to break grips.

One of the toughest parts about removing a lapel choke grip from back mount is that we cannot generate much power. So, instead we have to make the grip weaker once we attempt to break it.

One of the ways I do this is by wedging my fingers into the person’s grip. This creates space and makes it easier to remove the lapel grip. I do this from several positions. Essentially whenever you’re fighting the person’s grips if you can make space in their hand somehow you can weaken their grip. I have several variations for basic armbars too.

Anyways, here’s the video. If you have any questions. Let me know if the lapel choke defense techniques help you.


Breaking Grips In BJJ : 2 Ways To Break Collar Grips In Guard


Breaking Grips In BJJ : 2 Ways To Break Collar Grips In Guard

So one of the readers of the blog sent an email to me recently. He asked if I had any tips about breaking grips from inside the full guard. After class I went ahead and did a short video on 2 techniques you can try in order to break the collar grips. They’re two that I use often and have plenty of success with.

Breaking grips is such an important part of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. In BJJ if you control the grips you more than likely control the match. Think of it this way. What do your instructors say whenever you’re working on a technique? It’s usually instructions for where your hands are to be placed.

Thinking of it that way. If you control where you’re opponent’s hands can be, then you control the match. Make sure that you’re putting forth time in your training for breaking grips.

Hope the video helps!






D’arce Choke Defense : Counter Sweep From Half Guard And Bottom Of Side


D’arce Choke Defense : Counter Sweep From Half Guard And Bottom Of Side

The Darce or D’arce choke is a super effective and somewhat painful choke. People can attack with the Darce choke from top of Half Guard as well as Side Control. Knowing how to defend against the technique in BJJ is important, as it can happen quickly.

In this video I show a way to defend against and shut down the Darce choke and counter it with a sweep.

I’ve used this move a lot since I play from half guard a lot. It’s all about developing the sensitivity with your under hook.

So if the Darce or D’arce choke (however you prefer to spell it) is giving you trouble. Try this counter.

If it works for you, I’d love to hear about it.



Kimura Counter (Turn Their Submission Into A Back Take)

Recently I was at a Dean Lister seminar and he was describing a situation where he was using a leg attack to submit one of his training partners. His training partner then came back months later with a counter to that technique and this forced Dean to develop a response to that counter, which he did. The kimura counter technique shown in this video was forged under the same circumstances. My over under pass was working great and then people started taking advantage of a mistake I made. After being submitted lots of times and continuing to try and use the over under position I picked up this cool little trick. It may not look like much, but try it at the gym and your partner will definitely tell you how much torque it puts on their arm. Use it as a submission, back take, counter or bait and counter technique.
Hope you like it!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz7QmyiQNAI&w=560&h=315]

Mount Escape To X Guard

When I first started competing as a black belt I had this funny problem. I would go into the match flat, and it wasn’t till being swept to mount that I would “wake” up. In fact, my first 3 wins as a black belt in competition started with me 6 points in the hole after a sweep to the mount. Here’s a mount escape that I, unfortunately, got pretty good with.