Leg locks and leg positions have become much more popular over the last several years. Likely since the statement was made “Why would you ignore 50 percent of the human body”, we have been woken up and forced to engage in the leg lock training that we may have pushed to the side in previous years. Much like playing any other Jiu Jitsu game, there are many positions to learn, and all of them are unique in their own way with some being more efficient than others. One of the most common and likely the most basic is the 50 / 50 guard.
The 50 / 50 guard is, as it may lead you to believe a position where you and your opponent are equal parts dominate, essentially meaning that which ever one is able to advance into a more dominate position more quickly will secure the advantage. A common error from 50 / 50 is to try to finish the heel hook while remaining flat on your back. Craig Jones breaks down why that does not work and how to do a better finish from 50 / 50 in his video clip titled “Finishing from 50 /50”.
First let’s take a look at the problem. The problem with finishing from your back in 50 / 50 is that the opponent can easily lift their hips and follow you, or even sit up and easily start to attack your grip on their heel, if nothing else just complicating the finish and making it more difficult, if not impossible to finish.
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One of the first ways Craig shows to finish the heel hook from the 50 / 50 guard is to trap the opponent’s knee in such a way it is pointed at the ceiling. He then turns his body towards the opponent’s leg putting his inside knee on the floor while applying pressure to the heel and bridging his hips into the opponent and looking away from the opponent to ensure his posture is correct.
Another option is to take our outside leg and put it across the opponent’s belt line. From here we can use the opponent to push against with our leg and repeat the process above to get the finish, inside knee to the floor and hips in as we look up and away pushing off of the opponent with out leg.
You will hear Craig say in the video clip “this will produce a clean break”. It’s important to note that while we are obviously not trying to break our training partners leg at our academy, this is the true power of the technique. This may be why some schools choose not to teach these techniques to white belts, out of fear that the lack of control will accidently cause harm to someone. I feel confident in saying this is why white belts are very limited in which leg lock submissions they are allowed to use in competition as well. The reality is when you are training leg locks you must be careful, you must listen to your body, and also listen to your partner. If you are the training partner, make sure you are ready to tap, and tap early and often when it comes to leg locks. Remember, no one is winning any trophies or getting paid any prize money for being the toughest drilling partner that didn’t tap and got their ankle snapped. Be smart, train smart.
Craig let us in on a few of his tips and tricks in this free video clip, however, it was far from everything he has up his sleeve. To get inside Craig’s head and pull all of the details from his leg lock game check out “Battle Tested Down Under Leg Locks” by Craig Jones. This 4 part video instructional is sure to have you feeling confident about your leg lock game. Craig is known to be one of the best no-gi practitioners in the world who is packing battle tested heel hooks that are down right devastating to his opponents.