My Toeholds suck

Ok, I've been working some transitions from the omaplata to toe holds and when they defend the toe hold by steping over my head I get the reversal. The only problem in this chain is that my toe holds suck. Even from regular setups they are not good. Anyone got any tips?


keep practicing

Nah....that will never work. Any other tips?

Mine kinda suck as well. In my highlight clip at

I was toeholding someone as hard as I could for like 15 seconds with no tap. A few things that I didn't do:

1) Grab at his toes at the absolute end of his foot, not at the knuckles. This is the most common mistake. You can apply a toehold to yourself and feel the difference, which is very big.

2) Pull his foot very tight to your chest and turn with your whole body. If his foot is away from your body, you're using arm strength.

3) Bend his leg as much as possible. Try to put his toes on his butt. The straighter his leg, the less it works.

4) Let's say I'm toeholding his left foot. My right hand is on his toes and my left hand is under his achilles, grabbing my right wrist. My left hand lets go of my wrist, makes a fist, and I turn my left forearm so the inside of my wrist is cutting into his achilles, or depending on my position, into his shin near the ankle. Either way it still hurts a lot. I pin his ankle tight between my chest and my wrist. I make a fishhooking motion inwards towards my chest with my wrist as I twist my whole body left.

also as far as using the toe hold out of the omoplata, I like a modified omoplata for attempting the toe hold. When you do it the normal way a lot of the times, they are able to stay up on all fours. But if you hook your free foot under their chin or over their head you can then put both your hands on the ground and lift yourself off your butt. When you do this, lift yourself up and away from them dragging them into the mat, so now they're broken down. Then you can reach for the toe hold while using your legs to keep them flattened. It's also important to not use a straight toe hold, instead take their foot outward or inward. If doing it off the omoplata, go outward from their body. If you're wrapped around their leg, going inward is usually best. Also off the omoplata, you can do a heel hook as well. Yank their foot off the ground at the ankle so their knee bends and you're pulling their leg outward, then tuck their toes under your far armpit from their body. Then you can wrap your forearm around their heel and crank the lock.

Thanks guys. I'll work on that.

Nice clips Andrew! You were moving pretty good and Who do you train with and what belt are you? The clips were a little grainy.


B, I train with Kirik who runs this site during the school year, and in summer I train with Ricardo Almeida. I am a blue belt.

I worked my toe holds last night with my friend Terren. One of the things he does that I was missing was really getting the ankle in the crook of your elbow. This makes it easier to get tight to your check and to be able to grab your own wrist. He also showed me some transitional stuff off the failed knee bar attempt. Watch your toes guys...I'm coming after them. :)

I think there are a couple of keys to a good toe hold: isolating and stretching out the leg, getting your hand over the little toe and being inverted relative to the guy, i.e., your head down by the guys feet and your ass toward the guys face. It's easier if you're on top, but it works like you say coming of the omoplata. But off the omoplata, you've got to somehow control the guy. I like to basically put the guy in an inverted guard.

You can get toe holds from any position...that what sure to keep your oppnents hands in check...only way to defend the toe hold.


Another REALLY important aspect is to straighten the foot out. I love leglocks, and thats one of the key parts everyone misses. When you grab the toes, try to make their foot go straight, hold it there, and THEN twist it. Try it next time, its a huge detail that most dont think about.

man, EVERYbody has been trying to grab my toes lately, all on my right foot. i got out of a few, but then got caught by a big guy who was wise enough to catch it under his body (i was on his back, about to reverse triangle) and use the weight of his shoulders to finish it.

time to work on some counters!


most torque occurrs when you try to place their big toe in their sphincter. trust me. Grip the toes, apply hold and turn into them and towards teh asshole. Vulgar words, but that is the truth.

I use the toehold a LOT and was going to add my $0.02 to this discussion, but I think that Andrew pretty much summed up all my best advice.

What I always tell people is that they should try to drive their opponent's big toe towards his own bum. Also controlling his legs, usually by really pinching/triangling your own legs together, really helps.

Stephan Kesting

Some great advice. Thanks guys. One of my favorite subs!


It is too bad that there is no one around who can help you with that. Best of luck!

Yeah, well maybe if some of the blackbelts from the day class would stop by the night class then my toeholds wouldn't suck so bad. :)

Also make sure you grab his foot strongly, with the edge of his foot pressed into the place where your fingers meet your hand, where you have calluses. Don't put the edge of his foot in your finger joints; that will make it much easier for him to kick out.