Dean Lister’s Heel Hook Escape
Who is Dean Lister? Dean is one of the great pioneers of Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts in America. He is an ADCC Champion. He fought in some of the biggest MMA organizations: Pride FC and Ultimate Fighting Championships. His teaching has had significant impact in both MMA and Jiu Jitsu.
Dean Lister was born in San Diego, California. However, with his family in the military he spent most of his youth abroad in South American countries. Like a lot of military kids, he faced constant bullying as the perpetual new kid. He sought martial arts as a way to defend himself. When he returned to the states, he found wrestling, then Sambo and eventually Jiu Jitsu. He spent over a decade training at Fabio Santos’ academy in San Diego where he earned his brown belt. Eventually Dean would earn his black belt from fellow Santos student Jeffery Higgs.
Lister’s grappling accomplishments are significant. He competed in ADCC tournament 6 times and is the ADCC Open Weight Champion (2003) and ADCC Super Fight Champion (2005) and ADCC Champion (2011). Additionally, he a two-time national (US) sambo champion, four-time Machado National (US) BJJ champion and National (US) Gracie BJJ champion. He has notable victories over Jean Jacques Machado, Iiir Latifi, Nathan Marquardt, Saulo Ribeiro, Marcio ‘Pe De Pano’ Cruz, Alexandre Ferreira ‘Cacareco’, Masutatsu Yano, Augusto Ferrari, Radek Turek, Rodolfo Vieira, Joao Assis, and Ricardo “Demente” Abreu.
Dean’s grappling skills served him well in MMA. He has had over 20 fights in some of the most prestigious organizations. Lister was a King of the Cage Middleweight Champion. He has also fought in Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Dean Lister has devastating submissions and amazing escapes. Click Learn More!
Lister is well known for his teaching abilities and has been sought all over the world for his combat knowledge. He was a grappling coach for Tito Ortiz on Ultimate Fighter Series 7 (TUF 7). He teaches at Victory Mixed Martial Arts in San Diego with fellow black belts and Jiu Jitsu legends Jeff Glover and Jocko Willink. It is also worth noting that Dean served as the catalyst that introduced the great John Danaher to leg locks. John tells the story of Dean training at Renzo’s. Danaher asked Dean a question about a leg lock. Lister replied, “Why would you ignore 50% of the human body?” It was Dean’s simple statement that started Danaher on the path to create his legendary leg lock system that would shift the paradigm of Jiu Jitsu.
In this video Dean Lister explores a heel hook escape. It is the same escape that he showed Alan Belcher in preparation for his fight with Rousimar Palhares. Lister starts with the principle that for a foot lock escape sooner is always better than later. This is true for all submissions but seems to be particularly applicable for leg entanglements. He starts off in outside ashi. There are several names for this position but essentially both legs are on the outside of the leg being attacked. His leg is not across his opponent’s center line and his opponent is attacking an outside heel hook. To counter this attack Dean has both feet behind his opponent. He puts the toes of the foot not being attacked inside the crook of his opponents elbow. This buys him time until his opponent becomes frustrated. Lister then crosses his feet behind his opponent. Depending on his opponent’s reaction there are several options. If his opponent reaches back with his arm to uncross his legs he can catch his opponents elbow for a tap. Otherwise, he can stack his opponent and take his back.
This video is a wonderful example of Dean’s ability to communicate technique to even novice grapplers. Like all of Lister’s instructional videos, there is a lot of detail. I know that I often gain new insights every time I re-watch one of his videos. Dean Lister’s instructional videos have a powerful impact on anyone who makes a careful study of them. Certainly, the Jiu Jitsu community is lucky to have him.
Imagine how different you would feel on the mat if you knew you could defend any submission? How would you feel if you were under side control just knowing you were about to take their back? Learn Dean’s sneaky escapes in this series from BJJ Fanatics!