Saturday, January 30, 2010

Putting Yourself Out There

Putting yourself out there isn't always a good thing. Especially when you're dealing with leg-locks. And, seeing as I love working open guard, that's a problem for me. I was noticing that I was getting leg-locked a lot. So, I got a private lesson with Ben to learn about how to avoid putting my legs in danger in the first place.

Long story short: Anytime you don't have your legs tucked in close to your body, they're at risk. But there are some basic things you can do to avoid getting leg-locked or to escape if you do.

Rule #1: Don't Let them move for free. Always keep hold of something above the waist. The wrist/sleeve is preferable, but at the very least, grab neck/lapel. Keeping their base broken down and their center of balance forward prevents them from going back for a leg lock in the first place.

Rule #2: Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. In other words, don't wait until someone has already gotten tight into position to start your escape. This goes back to being able to discern when you've lost a position or when someone is setting up for a submission. The time to defend a heel hook is not when someone already has your heel in the crook of their elbow and starts cranking. It's when you see them go back to take the leg.

Rule #3: Know your escape routes. There are three basic escapes that I know and that have worked relatively well for me. As per rule two, there's a certain "point of no return" in which the only way out of a leg-lock is to tap. Here are my favorite escapes (a.k.a. only escapes I know at this point): The Twisting Roll Out, The Alligator Crawl and Coming Up On Top. I'll have to do another post on the particulars of those. I will say, as much as I like these escapes, I am a quick tapper when it comes to leg locks.

Rule #4: Hold on Tight. Similar to rule number one, except more imperative once someone has your leg, always, always, ALWAYS grab one of their arms. You can't finish a heel hook with one arm. It might still hurt, but I don't care how hard someone cranks it, you just can't finish the submission with only one arm. There have been times where I had to survive the last two part of a grapple holding on to someone's sleeve for dear life while they're rabidly trying to get my leg.

Rule #5: Know when to tap. If the person is still fumbling around with the leg-lock or if they don't have it tight, then try escaping. But if someone has a tight knee bar/ankle lock, it's not the time to test your threshold for pain or be stubborn. That's how you get your ankle or knee popped or broken. The ankle and knee don't have as much "bending room" as your elbows, wrists and shoulders. And a badly broken ankle can put you out of BJJ forever. Better to eat a little humble pie and still be able to walk.

Leg-locks are still scary to me and I will probably still tap early, but at least now I feel like I have an understandingBut, if the person is still fumbling around with the leg-lock or if they don't have it tight, then try escaping. of how to protect my legs from getting compromised in the first place. Woohoo!


Liam H Wandi said...

That's an excellent breakdown Allie. You just inspired me to a post :)

A.D. McClish said...

Yay! Thanks!! :)

Liam H Wandi said...

I hope you like it :)