Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jean Cousteau-Leg Lock Defense & Knowing When to Tap to Leg Locks Part II

“Hello, dear viewers and welcome to the amazing and exotic world of leg locks. I am your host, Jean Cousteau. I will be your guide and companion, and together we will explore places beyond your wildest imagination”. 

Welcome to part II, episode two in our series The Joys of the Leg Lock.  In part I we explored ze' defensive positions of ze' leg lock.

In zese'....wait a minute.  Let's just cut the crap, okay?

This post is partly inspired by something I read on another blogger's website (an excellent blog by the way. I suggest you check it out).

In this entry Julia Johansen talks about tapping:

Towards the end, she mentions that she is not experienced with leg locks and doesn't really know when to tap to them.  Julia brings up a really good topic, and this is actually an excellent subject to touch on.  Earlier during the week I discussed some basic guidelines for training leg locks safely:
1.  Don't crank leg locks, apply pressure slowly
2.  If someone is not tapping, let go or move on to something else
3.  If you are caught in a leg lock, tap and tap early

Now as I mentioned before, leg locks are not any more dangerous than other kind of submission.  When you are caught you know it (if you have been taught properly).  The stigma around them is largely based on people not being educated about them.

So, when should you tap to a leg lock?  A valid question and one that I myself wanted to know when I first started them.  First, think about this.  When you first started BJJ, what did your instructor tell you?  Well, my instructor told me to tap when I was caught in a submission.  He educated me on what to do and what to look for.  He also taught me some defensive positions, and finally drilled it into my head that I shouldn't wait until my arm or shoulder is cracking, popping, or in excruciating pain to tap.  Hence, I rarely get injured during training.  I tap and I don't wait until something is about to be ripped off or I am about to pass out.  I tap, plain and simple. 

Leg locks are not different.  Not getting hurt first starts with a competent instructor or teammate.  If you are interested in leg locks and are just beginning, ask a more experienced teammate (if there is one in your gym) to go over the basics with you.  The key is having a training partner that isn't going to crank them on you, as well as you knowing when you are caught.

So, when do I know when I am caught?  I think the best way to go about this is to first roll with an upper level teammate who is competent with them, so you can start to get a feel for them.  As you progress, you will become more aware of leg positions, leg placement, and how you should defend.  Sort of like when you first started sparring, remember?  Not much different.  I was lucky enough to also have a couple of teammates who were into leg locks, that I fully trusted not to crank things on me.  If you are starting out you can also grab a teammate you know you can trust, who isn't going to spaz out on you and hurt you. 

Remember, if you think you are caught you probably are.  When you become experienced you can play around a little more.  Better safe than sorry. 

Also, try to start out simple.  I started out with just two basic foot locks:  the ankle lock and the toe hold.  After I felt comfortable with setting up, executing, defending, and escaping these two foot locks I moved on to other stuff. 

Learn from someone more experienced and knowledgeable who is willing to help you, tap early, be smart, gain some experience, and you will be fine.

Happy leg hunting!

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