WARNING: This is exhaustive. This discussion contains no walkthroughs or tutorials on leg locks. It serves as a contextual reference for the orientations and nuances used by the best grapplers to secure leg locks. It may be best studied in sections so as not to seem overbearing.
Here at wrestlejitsu we’ve seen that individuals with prior wrestling experience often incorporate leg locks into their game. This is due to a number of reasons. First, many leg lock positions allow equal opportunity for both individuals in the position and thus the individual who is more aggressive in attacking them often secures one first. Second, although many of the positions seem neutral, positional dominance can be achieved. Those who wrestled are often more aggressive and prioritize positional dominance.
Now that we’ve grossly overgeneralized the reasons why the wrestlers we’ve studied use leg locks we’re going to delve more deeply. Having spent an inordinate amount of time researching jiu jitsu one niche remains largely unfilled: the theory of leg locks. Although most leg locking positions have a designated nomenclature (many of which in fact have multiple names), to my knowledge no one has assessed positional dominance coupled with entries in to those positions and options from them using the games of the most predominant current leg lockers. This includes Masakazu Imanari, Rousimar Palhares in MMA, Davi Ramos, Joao Assis, Dean Lister, Eddie Cummings, and Gary Tonon in nogi, and Luiz Panza, Renato Cardoso, Edwin Najmi, and Hunter Ewald in gi.
A myriad of leg locking walk-throughs and tutorials can be found in instructionals and online, but finding realistically effective patterns requires the analysis of footage coupled with basic principles in physics and knowledge of the human skeleton.
Using leg locks effectively requires two things: control and risk reduction. The geometry of the human body allows for both players to attack each other’s lower limbs with their upper ones when the lower face each other. Controlling the position allows you to attack your opponent’s legs and prevent their escape while staving their ability to attack your legs and reducing your risk of being leg locked.
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