Footlock myths in BJJ (vid series)

Footlocks scare a lot of BJJ players, and have resulted in a number of rules in competition which only end up preventing the continuing evolution of BJJ as a martial art.

It's often claimed that footlocks are too dangerous for beginners to learn.

In this Disciple Dojo video series (see posts below), we take a look at the controversy surrounding footlocks in the BJJ community with footlock aficionado Derek "TC" Richardson (owner and head instructor at Leadership Martial Arts in Charlotte, NC and Renzo Gracie brown belt). If you like it, share it. If you have comments or disagree with anything in the vids, feel free to post those as well.

Blessings from the Dojo,


Here is part 1:

  • Should footlocks be taught to beginners?

  • Should reaping the knee be legal?

  • Is reaping the knee in gi pants really more dangerous for those trained in properly executing and defending footlocks?

  • What is the ideal position for hitting a footlock?

And here's the link to Jason Scully's petition to the IBJJF mentioned in the vid:


Here is part 2 featuring some footlock and knee-reap counters as well as a big shoutout to the UG and #FranksFight


"but I feel footlocks that twist are too dangerous for beginners, simply because of the risk of debilatating injury from the knee that can occur for no reason."

I disagree. The lineage that I came up under teaches all footlocks (including heel hooks), starting at white belt, and no one ever got their knees screwed up. The key is good instruction. We were taught to secure the position, take the slack out, then "pose for the camera". And we were taught that if someone footlocks you (especially the heel hook), and you haven't learned how to escape safely, that you better tap. If you do something stupid, like try to twist out, and you hurt yourself, it's your fault. I trained for years under that methodology and no one had any problem with it, and no one got hurt.

Then, later I moved and ended up at an academy that doesn't teach footlocks until purple. What I discovered is that we had purple belt and above level players with white belt level footlock game. It allowed me to footlock guys with impunity. I started being known as the footlock guy, even though I don't consider footlocks to be my specialty.

The footlock game is just like any other game in BJJ in that it takes a long time to master, and in that you have to play it as a position with control. If you wait until purple belt to head down that road you'll have a beginner leg game as an otherwise advanced player. All knowledge should be shared from day one if the goal is to be a complete fighter.

CodeGeek, I couldn't agree more. I would hate to be at a point where as a purple belt I was just learning the basics of footlocks...mainly because I would have no clue how to defend them!

It comes down to good instruction and a watchful eye on the part of the teacher. TC has been footlocking me since day one and while I don't go for footlocks often (I prefer kimuras and armbars), it's a good tool to have in my toolbox and has saved me a few times against guys who were stronger and faster than me.

The worst thing competition BJJ did to stagnate the sport's development was almost totally eliminate the footlock game, IMO.

PrisonMattressPuncher, when you have a chance, watch the vids and see if some of your concerns are not addressed by TC. Thanks for commenting and hopefully we can at the very least remove a bit of the stigma from footlocks, even if people remain unconvinced in the end.  :)

Part 3 - details on finishing Achilles & Heel Hook

excellent TTT. i agree!!

Just learnt more in 10mins about footlocks than the last 6 or 7yrs. Many thanks.


JonnySweats - Just learnt more in 10mins about footlocks than the last 6 or 7yrs. Many thanks.

Dang! That's awesome to hear. I'll try to get the final few clips posted today.

Part 4 - what to do when your opponent stands as you're going for a footlock

Part 5 - using fear of footlock to set up guard pass

Final segment - Scissor sweep counter and concluding thoughts...



In Phone Post


Thanks for watching. All the videos can be seen on one page at for future reference or if you want to share them with non-UG folk.

Quite a few foot/leglock attempts on the Invicta card last night... I was hoping someone would catch one.

4l8r!! Phone Post

I'd love to hear feedback from some of foot/leglock lurkers, btw.

I know you're out there...  :)