Other Ankle Lock Mistakes

In a recent article I talked about the most common mistake novice leglockers make when trying to use the ankle lock. Here are a few more common errors:

  1. Telegraphing the attack. I often see someone decide to use an ankle lock to counter the open guard: this person then wraps his arm around the ankle, pauses, considers whether to proceed, and only then falls back into an ankle lock. This is way too telegraphic to work on a skilled opponent: there should be no pause when you decide to proceed with this attack.
  2. Lack of leg control. To successfully attack the ankle joint you need to control the rest of his leg (i.e. the knee, thigh and hip). If you want to become disillusioned about leglocks try this: wrap your arm around your opponent’s ankle, flop back without a plan of how to control his legs, and hope for a miracle. Leg control is very important in maintaining and applying ankle locks.
  3. Attacking significantly longer legs. Generally speaking, if two people are trying to ankle lock each other the person with the longer legs has the advantage. It IS possible to leglock people with longer legs, but you need to have a higher level of technique than your opponent.
  4. Not having a plan for opponents who stand up. It is very common for someone defending an ankle lock to stand up in an attempt to counter your ankle lock. To become an ankle lock expert you need to have several reliable solutions to this particular counter.
  5. Not having a “Plan B” if the ankle lock fails. Not every submission will work on every opponent. There are some hyper-flexible and super-tough people out there who just will not tap to an ankle lock. Does your leglocking strategy include a “Plan B” for this type of situation?
  6. Using the ankle lock too often. Some people fall in love with ankle locks and never learn to pass the guard. Leglocks are not a substitute for guard passing skills: leglock and guard passing complement each other and set each other up. Learn and use both.

Photo: Laura vs Jennifer Gibbons (closest to camera). Taken at the Defence Unlimited Submission League, August 17th, 2003 in Manchester, England. Courtesy of “Doctor Octagon” Formerly a featured Grappling and MMA Photo of the Week

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