At Gael Force the safety of our students is our primary concern. Leg locks have always been a controversial topic and the rules vary from school to school. While it is very important to me to teach and expose my students to all aspects of Jiu Jitsu it is also important to communicate expectations in order to preserve their safety. Firstly, I would like to explain why leg locks are controversial and why they can be, if done recklessly and improperly, be extremely dangerous.
Attacking legs are different from attacking the arms in that there is less pain involved in several leg attacks especially knee bars and heel hooks. A beginning student could be caught in a submission and struggle to escape when something would pop and the student would be seriously injured. Also beginning students may not have the technical restraint to secure the position while attacking the leg leading to a sudden pull or twist on the joint leading to serious injury.
Leg locks can be divided into two categories:
-Straight (ankle lock & knee bar), &,
-Twisting (heel hook and toe hold).
In comparison to arm locks, the pain of an arm lock will make the student caught tap earlier, before much damage could occur to the joint.
Meanwhile, with a leg lock attack, since there was little comparative pain (especially in the case of a heel hook) the student might struggle against the submission before an audible “Pop!” and the joint has been severely damaged (ex. ACL damage).
Students with lesser experience in jiu-jitsu may not recognize when their leg is in a dangerous position and suffer a knee injury that takes them off of the mats.
Students unfamiliar with the how the submission is applied (‘mechanism of injury’), can become as hazard to THEMSELVES when trying to escape a foot lock or leg lock attempt.
In the interest of reducing risk of potentially serious knee injuries in the academy, guidelines for the use of leg locks will be strictly adhered to.
All students may drill leg lock defense and attacks. This is so students can obtain positional awareness and learn proper defense.
Here are the guidelines per belt:
can attack straight ankle locks in both Gi and No Gi.
can attack straight ankle locks in Gi and No Gi. They can attack Knee bars in No Gi to training partners of their level and above.
Purple belts, Brown Belts and Black Belts
can attack straight ankle locks and knee bars in Gi and No Gi. They can attack heel hooks in No Gi but only to brown and black belts.