Thrashing Escapes

As you may know already, I like leglocks a lot.I have applied hundreds upon hundreds of leglocks to training partners without injuring them.This week I am going to tell you about the ONLY person I have ever injured using a leglock.

I was grappling at a class once, in a bit of a lazy mood.I was playing light and easy, not really going for the kill very often or with very much intensity.Eventually I found myself paired up with a big, macho weightlifter that had made up his mind that he WASN’T going to tap to me no matter what. As we wrestled I went for a few submissions that he escaped using large explosive movements.

In the second round of wrestling this guy I attacked with the basic ankle lock.I sat back, holding his ankle tightly but otherwise not applying the ankle lock at all.He didn’t really know what to do, and tried to escape by spinning wildly, first to the left, then to the right.I just sat there looking at him, holding his foot.

Suddenly there was a ‘pop’ as his ACL tore, and he screamed and started dry-heaving.We got him to the hospital quickly and I heard that he later underwent reconstructive surgery.I felt terrible, but in retrospect it wasn’t really my fault. It was as if he had been walking across a field, gotten his foot trapped in a hole, and then started trying to do full pirouettes to free his foot.

I think that this story illustrates a number of points: first that if your sparring partner is being an idiot and doing unsafe things to escape a submission just let him go and start again.My second point is about the dangers of thrashing wildly to escape a submission, regardless of whether it is a footlock, kneebar, Kimura or armlock.If you are caught in a submission in training either escape technically or tap out.Surgery, whether it is to repair an ACL or a rotator cuff is a pretty severe consequence of being too proud to tap out.

Train safe!

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