Starting Jan 1st 2021 adult brown and black belts will be able to use heel hooks and leg reaping entanglements at the brown and black belt adult divisions in no gi competition.
Long banned, heel hooks are rotational leglocks where the hip and/or the knee is held in place while the foot is bent and rotated. They are incredibly efficient because they attack the smaller ligaments of the foot and knee instead of the much larger muscles of the leg.
Reaping leg entanglements used to be legal when I started jiu-jitsu but then were banned for more than 10 years. A ‘reap’ typically occurs when you’re entangling your opponent’s legs with your own and you bring your outside leg over his leg and past his centerline.
They were supposedly banned because they endangered the knee, but many grapplers (myself included) believe that this was an over-reaction. In 35 years of grappling I’ve never seen a single knee injured from a knee reap.
Well, both are legal now and together these are the biggest rule change e in BJJ in decades!
Allowing people to use these more effective leglocks will have major trickledown consequences for the sport at all levels.
Given how effective heel heel hooks are compared to other submissions you’ll obviously start seeing a LOT of them in competition and on the sparring mat.
Even if you don’t compete yourself then be prepared for your sparring partners to start using a lot more leglock entanglements on you.
These rule changes will also change guard passing because now people will be able to start chaining together guard pass attempts with leglock threats, a very effective two-pronged strategy.
It’ll also change how people use the guard because all of a sudden leaving your legs danging out will become much more dangerous.
Finally people will have to get serious about training leglocks much earlier in their jiu-jitsu careers. That’s because it takes time to become familiar and get comfortable with these techniques
(Imagine if you hadn’t ever trained with armbars until you became a brown belt – how long do you think you’d last in your first brown belt tournament?)
WHERE TO START…
If you want to get better at leglocks then start by learning how to get into, maintain, and transition between the leg entanglements that allow you to actually apply the heel hook!
Leg entanglements are where it’s at!
Unless your opponent is really skilled at leglock defense once you’ve clamped yourself into one of these positions finishing the other guy is actually quite simple.
Even if you’re a lower belt you’ve got to start becoming familiar with the 12 basic leg entanglements so that you’re not a deer in the headlights when you start climbing the ranks.
To help you out with all this I’ve got a free resource for you…
P.S. Two other great resources are The Modern Leglock Formula with Rob Biernacki and No Gi Leglocks with Oliver Taza. I’m biassed since I produced both of them but honestly, taken together, these instructionals are all you need to get to black belt level leglocking.