Kneebarring the Top or Bottom Leg?

Someone recently asked me if they should attack the top or the bottom leg when doing a kneebar. This is actually the second or third time I’ve been asked this question, so I think it is worthwhile to address it here in writing.

When you are doing a kneebar, 90% of the time you will be on your side, attacking either the top or the bottom leg. Say you are attacking your opponent’s right leg with a kneebar: if you are lying on your right side then his leg is in the BOTTOM position, if you are on your left side then his leg is in the TOP position.

To see pictures of what it looks like to attack the bottom leg look at the very first picture in the Kneebar Mastery article or this picture of the week.

To see photos of someone attacking the top leg check out the “Basic Leg Position #2 about halfway down the Kneebar Mastery article, OR the front cover of *ahem* my Dynamic Kneebars DVD.

Sometimes you have a choice about placing the attacked leg on top or on bottom, and sometimes the position is forced upon you. So let’s cut to the chase: which side is better?

A lot comes down to personal choice: my coach, Marcus Soares, prefers to attack the TOP leg because he feels it is harder to counter. Personally I feel that attacking the BOTTOM leg is preferable, because it is more secure and allows your opponent less wiggle-room.

The answer, therefore, is that both sides are good, so long as you are comfortable there. Regardless of which side you prefer you should try to develop skill attacking both the bottom AND the top leg, because you might start out with the leg being on the bottom and then have that change as your opponent rolls around.

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