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3 Reasons Only Fools Don’t Train Leg Locks

bjj jiu jitsu leg locks kneebar heel hook

There is no doubt that Jiu-Jitsu has changed so much since its inception there are a few disturbing trends that have remained since day one and at least one of these needs to change.

Although many academies do actively practice and use leg locks/foot locks ; many do not train these techniques. Not only do many gyms not teach or encourage the use of lower body attacks some even discourage them. While there is no reason you have to always be pursuing these attacks, there is also no reason you should not know how to use them. Here are the top 3 reasons you should be training leg locks.

They Are an Integral Part of Jiu Jitsu

First I want to establish the most basic premise of Jiu-Jitsu which is to absorb as much knowledge as we can. Since day one we are on a mission to keep learning and improving. Even black belts are always learning and improving their game. So I have to ask, how can we keep learning and how can we work for a complete Jiu-Jitsu knowledge if we don’t acknowledge leg locks. In my own opinion if you don’t learn leg locks you are seriously holding yourself back.


If you don’t train leg locks then not only can you not attack from certain positions, but you are liable to be attacked. One of the easiest counters to many leg locks are attacks of your own which if you don’t know the attacks can make it very hard to escape. One of the common arguments is that if we train the defense then will  be fine , but as you can see this isn’t always the case and there are lots of unorthodox positions that cannot necessarily be replicated in practice very well.

You Have to be Able to Teach Them

The ultimate goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to be able to eventually teach and pass on your knowledge. However If you don’t learn leg locks yourself then you can never teach them and are effectively removing a whole move set from an entire generation of lineage. This may be ok with some people, but if a student asks you to show a simple knee bar and your unable to it reflects on you as a teacher and practitioner. So if you are not interested in these moves yourself ; you should at least recognize that many others would actually like to learn them and they are an integral part of Jiu-Jitsu.

So if you want to learn the real and full version of Jiu Jitsu these are some great reasons to make sure you don’t neglect your leg lock game . Now go out and break a leg (…tap).

About the author: Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt under Anibal Lobo and Pedro Sauer.

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