The ‘Saddle’ – also known as the Inside Sangaku, the Honeyhole, and the 411 position – is probably the most powerful leglock position in all of grappling.
This position gives you powerful control over your opponent’s ability to move, counter and escape. It also lets you apply a devastating inside heel hook, which twists the leg in a much worse angle than a regular heel hook.
(Here are some thoughts on how to train the hook safely.)
Now you can get to the Saddle many different ways – from the top, from your feet, from guard, during scrambles, etc.
In modern leglocking one of the most powerful ways to get to the Saddle is from butterfly guard. Typically this involves elevating your opponent above you, spinning beneath him to entangle his legs, and then apply the leglock.
But savvy opponents will have answers to this. One common solution will be to establish a crossface and sprawl back, which can be very uncomfortable for you. And worse yet, you’ll lose your leglock.
You’ll. Be. Screwed!
But just as every move has a counter, every counter also has its own counter (or ‘recounter’).
In this video no gi grappling phenom Oliver Taza shows you how to go from butterfly guard to an intermediate position known as ‘Kani Basami’ (named after the now-banned Judo throw).
At this point good opponent will try flatten you out at this point, but if you frame and briefly invert you can quickly turn the table on him and finish the match from the Saddle.
This move resembles a tornado sweep from inverted guard but is a lot easier because you’re just lifting his leg, not his full weight, into the air.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to enter into the Kani Basami and then finish in the full Saddle…
A Breakdown of the Most Powerful Leglock Positions
If all this talk of Saddles, the 411, Kani Basami, Inside Sankaku, etc is confusing then I don’t blame you.
In fact the whole leglocking game can look like a big giant bowl of leg spaghetti
But once someone breaks it down for you and you learn what the core leglocking positions are then it all becomes a LOT clearer.
Help is on the way…
I’ve put together a completely free PDF book for you with a checklist of the 12 main leglock positions.
If you study the positions in this book you’ll have a vocabulary to understand the leglock exchanges you’re seeing in the highest levels of no gi competition (including ADCC coming up!).
For each position you’ll get an idea of how to do it, what your options are, other names for that position and more. This is material taken from “The Modern Leglock Formula” that we (Rob Biernacki and Stephan Kesting) released at Grapplearts.com/leglocks
Grab this book to get started, then go about learning the finer details of control, the gripfighting, entries, transitions, attacks, defenses, and escapes for each position.
Let’s get this leglocking stuff figured out for you…