Thread: Leg Locks = White Belt Forever?
6/09/2007 1:29pm, #1
Leg Locks = White Belt Forever?
I first started training BJJ in 2004 at an MMA gym where I never put on a gi. For whatever reason, while there, I developed a love affair with leg locks. I got several months of experience in before the circumstances of my life became such that I could not continue training at that time. During my off time though, I did, however, recieve a catch wrestling DVD, and Bas Rutten's Big DVDs of Combat, neither of which did anything to temper my interest in leg locks.
I've just recently started back up in BJJ, now at a more tradition school where most classes are in the Gi. Because of my experience, I do not fit in neatly anywhere on the skill level totem poll. In the gi, I am probably a mid to high level white belt. I utterly toy with non-wrestlers who have only been doing BJJ for a month or two, but the top level white belts stifle my game pretty well, and I am only a small threat to blue.
Without the gi, matches between me and the top white belts are almost even (normally decided by my inferior conditioning) and I probably win 2-3 out of 10 matches vs our blue belts.
My main tool in this meager level of success is my leg lock game. One of my instructors has advised me that even though he is impressed with the ammount of control I use, he still thinks I might want to downplay them in my game, because "they are easy to go for and catchs guys with, but once you know how to defend them, they are easy to avoid, and you wont catch many guys with them really high up". He feels guys can get obsessed with leg locks in way that trades off with getting good fundamentals and they never progress the way they should.
What do you guys think? Are leg locks a dead end? I've started to try not to go for them, but it is hard to be disciplined about it. If I feel like I am getting dominated for a while, my instincts are to try to start playing to my strengths. If I roll with a purple belt, in the gi, I am completely dead, but in no gi, I can sometimes catch them with leg locks, and it is hard to relinquish that. If it is what I have to do in order to truly advance my game, I am completely willing to go for it, I just want to make sure I am making the right choice and not neglecting what could be my strength.
6/09/2007 1:37pm, #2
You're training to get better, not to stay where you are. Keep your leglocks sharp for comps but work your weak areas during training. Rolling isn't really about winning but about getting better.
The reason a lot of bjj guys don't like seeing the sort of practice you're describing is because a focus on leglocks gets away from the main concept of bjj: position.
6/09/2007 1:42pm, #3
It all comes down to whether you trust in what your instructor says. As long as you don't spend the majority of your time on leg locks you should be OK.
6/09/2007 1:47pm, #4
The obvious answer is that you should do what your coach says or find a new coach.
The perhaps-less-obvious answer is that leg locks can be good subs but, like lots of others, if you use them exclusively your game might not improve.
It's not uncommon to abstain from employing a favored submission to help develop others and/or spot holes in your game.
If you're more interested in subbing the same guys, the same way, rather than learning BJJ, then you may be on the right track. If you want to learn from the guys that you're paying >$100 a month, then it could be a good idea to listen to them...Dave
Originally Posted by jnp
6/09/2007 1:48pm, #5Originally Posted by ClintEQ
6/09/2007 1:48pm, #6
I had/have the same issue. The first places that I really trained at were a sambo and a shootwrestling school, so I learned how to do heal-hooks and toe-holds before I learned chokes. If you're already decent at leglocks, try working on other things that don't involve them. It takes a while to get used to it, I've been doing BJJ for around 3 years now and I still go for leg locks a lot. Also the only time where a leg lock causes you to lose position is if it was a poor attempt to begin with, which is incidentally a lot of times.
6/09/2007 1:52pm, #7Originally Posted by D Dempsey
6/09/2007 1:54pm, #8
As a "high white belt" myself I'll just "ditto" what everyone else has said. I have moved around schools a lot. I trained leglocks before I had a good triangle or armbar. I've been working with leglock obsessed "submission wrestlers" lately.
The restrictions on leglocks at my old school seemed to have loostened and I now have more submission options than I used to, and am now a little more dangerous. However, every time I **** up I have to fight to get my position back. Your instructor's advice is perfect. Use them when you can, don't fight for them at the expense of good position.I'm picturing you drooling onto the keyboard as you type, one eye rotating independent of the other as your hands mash the keys. - Sophist
6/09/2007 1:55pm, #9
If you're going to leglocks because you aren't able to pass an open guard, you have a problem.
6/09/2007 1:58pm, #10
I should clarify that this was a purple belt that was teaching the no gi class at the time who is not my primary instructor. My school is run by a very high level black belt and a brown belt, and I haven't talked to them about it yet.