Rolling out of Heel Hooks (Craig Jones and Lachlan Giles)

Last updated on 05.05.2020 by

The submission itself carries a lot of notoriety. Probably because of the fact that the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation chose to ban it from competition; In addition, it’s not really an instinctive submission. Rather, the mechanic isn’t. Grabbing a leg and yanking on it like a madman is not it. We’ll take a stab and guess that it had come to be as a botched version of the footlock. In fact, given the right leg lace positioning you can use the Achilles lock grip to attack the knee. That’s why the turning-to-the-inside footlock is banned from competition.

Danger of knee injury notwithstanding, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t apply it in a safe and controlled manner. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First thing that anyone new to leg locks should do is focus on defense. You’re never going to really be able to attack if you’re afraid of having your knee torn apart.


After you’ve accumulated a couple of years’ worth of experience believing that the only way out is the tap becomes a rather defeatist attitude. Don’t get us wrong. Beginners should tap. Safety above all else; However, most experienced players see escape plan A or escape plan B first before the tap. After all, we train to test our skills against people who will use the same skills against us. Fact is: you’ll eventually be caught with something.

Any and all positions have strong and weak positioning. Let’s call it something simple: an angle. The triangle, for example, is most effective if you get an angle to the head-trapped side. If someone starts circling to their locked-shoulder side, the submission grows weaker. The trick is figuring out where leverage is weakest. When it comes to heelhooks, the most common and instinctive defense is rolling the way your partner’s grip is turning you. Don’t. You’ve got a more preemptive and safer option.

Recognize What You Are Being Attacked with:

You find yourself in standard Ashi, right foot in your opponents left armpit area. Don’t roll. Deny the grip. Turn your foot to the outside, and tuck it into your partner’s hip. You might feel exposed, thinking you’re giving him the inside heelhook. You’re not. Try locking in an inside heelhook with your partner’s foot on the outside and you’ll see why. You find yourself with your right foot in your partner’s right armpit area, turn your foot inside. Be careful though, if the grip is on, you’ll turn right into the submission.

If two wordy, look at what Mr. Giles and Mr. Jones demonstrate in their short and informative video.