How to prevent escape from heel hook

Author Comments
tvn Spectator 6 posts
I'm trying to reinforce a move I learned in a recent Brazilian ju-jitsu seminar I attended. It's the heel hook illustrated on this site with the technique shown here .

Trying it out again on a different partner after the seminar, I find that the opponent can easily roll out of the leg lock being applied, since it's easy to roll in the direction of the
pressure I am applying. I can't
reach the sensei (who came from
out of town) and scrutinising
the illustrations on the site
doesn't seem to offer any clues.

What does one do if the opponent tries to twist their leg and roll out? Is this a weakness of the lock or of my technique?

Robsco 1319 posts
In the first instance (as with an Achilles ankle), and as a basic approach, why not roll with them?

Hopefully Andy will jump in here with something a bit more useful.

But obviously be careful with throwing moves around with this, it is an EXTREMELY dangerous move.
The Admin Guy
andy Resident 729 posts
squeeze your knees

"no weapon formed against me shall prosper"
tvn Spectator 6 posts
Thanks for these tips. I've been
browsing this forum and you all seem
generous and helpful with your responses.

I'll try again with the knees tonight
(last night that didn't seem secure
enough, but then I'm a beginner). I'm
also wary of the potential end-results
of rolling, but thanks for the
suggestion! (Also that that seemed
counter-intuitive when we considered it
last night, because then what I am
locking his leg against?)

One other thing I wondered about was
whether the heel lock was possibly
intended to be applied suddenly and
sharply, before the opponent has time to
roll or whatever. If that is the case,
it would obviously be more for real
application where you might get a break,
rather than training situations where
you want a submission. Would you agree
with that or is it all in bracing with
the knees and applying pressure at the
normal slowish pace?

andy Resident 729 posts
you can apply the heel hook suddenly and sharply. this will most likely result in your training partner being off for 6 months with ruptured knee ligaments.

all submissions can be applied suddenly and sharply in a real life situation this is what you would do, training is trainin so go light with the subs, you should be able to secure a position and hold the ub with out cranking it on.

heel hooks are v.dangerous and if you are only a beginner i would stick to straight ankle locks, the positioning is very similar to that of a heel hook but it is safer to train that little bit harder with. once you have mastered the straight ankle lock it is easy to switch to the heel hook.

"no weapon formed against me shall prosper"
andy Resident 729 posts
oh and if they still roll, kneebar them
"no weapon formed against me shall prosper"
tvn Spectator 6 posts
Thanks for the additional comments, Andy.

We tried your advice this evening, to squeeze one's knees while applying the heel lock and that works well.

It seems difficult to roll out of that, but it's good to have the leg bar option to consider.

My background is in karate but some very basic ju-jitsu is being introduced into our standard syllabus in South Africa. Lower karate grades are being expected to apply things like the scarf hold, north-south, side mount and some of the simpler choke holds. I think this is an attempt to counter the gap in ground fighting of the karate system, and rightly so.

We don't have a ju-jitsu teacher in my town, though one visits occasionally. What he teaches has caught my interest. I can see that some of the techniques are dangerous even at a slow learning/demonstration pace, partly
since with some locks it seems easy to cause injury before the opponent realises they should tap out. It seems to me that often the ligaments are stressed without sending pain signals. Still I'm intrigued by the techniques and getting that right at a gentle dojo pace is very stimulating and freshens our karate. I doubt any of us will be trying throws and locks at full speed though as a well-trained ju-jitsu practitioner would.

So thanks for the guidance, and the warnings which I heed. In fact from the little I've seen (including a few demos on YouTube) it seems to me there's a higher risk of injury in ju-jitsu than karate because once it can be more difficult to control the throws and locks with the whole body's weight behind them. But of course that will depend on who is doing it.

I'd be interested in what your impression is of injury rates and just how people get along generally in long ju-jitsu careers should you have any comments on that. In karate we do get lunatics who break people's jaws at non-contact tournaments and so on, but it's usually possible to avoid such injuries if you've learned how to block properly and fight sensibly. With ji-jitsu it seems a greater level of mutual trust and skill is required between sparring partners.

Still, it all seems very effective and stimulating so I'm going to work on it, slowly.


Robsco 1319 posts
My god, sorry, but too much to read in one go.
The Admin Guy
Bryce Doherty Spectator 10 posts
Lol. What a reply tvn! I do think you have to ease your self in to Ju Jitsu at a measured pace as injuries will happen otherwise. The temptation is to move on to big explosive moves that, performed wrong, can cause major trauma.

The Kinaesthetics of a throw (oooh big word) need to be learnt and understood.
"Shear blunt trauma, followed by technical form!"
andy Resident 729 posts
where abouts in SA?

Who's the JJ guy who visits?
"no weapon formed against me shall prosper"
tvn Spectator 6 posts
Yea, cursed with prolixity -- it had already drawn comment before I could go back and cut it down.

E Cape, Sean O' Co nnell. Originally karate background. He still teaches that but I think he went into BJJ to extend his fighting skills. He does cage fighting -- things I'd find too much of a good thing to participate in myself -- but he seems to have got the JJ working pretty well for him. Can't tell you his affiliations etc. -- I don't know what the B/JJ hierarchies are.
andy Resident 729 posts
just curious as i know a few SA BJJ guys
"no weapon formed against me shall prosper"