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Roy Harris >> toehold woes


1/16/08 6:49 PM
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chickenfeet
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Edited: 16-Jan-08
Member Since: 10/03/2004
Posts: 1711
 
Hi Roy, Many times while sparring BJJ I get caught in the figure-four toehold. (I think that's the correct terminology but I'm not sure). It's the lock where you grab his toes, get a figure-four grip, then bend his toes down towards his butt. Now, I know and have drilled and can sometimes apply in sparring some simple counters to other footlocks such as the straight-ankle lock and the kneebar. (I will usually tap to a heel-hook position rather than attempting to escape). But I don't know any counters to the toe hold and I don't know how to position my feet to protect myself from the toehold. The toehold seems to be a submission that a guy can catch from many different positions and especially during scrambles. It doesn't seem to require a lot of positional control, either. So whereas I know the openings for, say, the straight-ankle lock (and so I know NOT to leave those openings myself), and I also know the positions where my partner is most likely to take a straight-ankle lock, and I also know some counters to the straight-ankle lock -- the toehold seems to have infinite openings from tons of different positions (both established positions and "scramble" type positions) and I don't know how to counter it once it's on. Add to that the fact that I will tap early to twisting-type lower-body submissions, and you've got me tapping to 10 toeholds in five minutes. I don't care about tapping to the toehold THAT much, but when I'm so busy tapping, I don't even get a chance to practice the other positions of the BJJ game. Can you offer any advice? Thanks!
1/16/08 7:07 PM
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Roy Harris
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Edited: 16-Jan-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1976
chickenfeet, All techniques are not the same. Some techniques are easier than others. Some techniques are more injurious than others. The figure four toe-hold falls into both of these categories. When it comes to countering the figure four toe-hold, it takes a simply concept to guide you: Keep your forehead glued to the top of their chest (next to the collar bone) ! While this concept is simple, it WILL take some time for you to develop it. This concept applies to ALL leg locks. So, whenever you grapple against someone who likes leg locks, especially the figure four toe-hold, you need to apply this concept for most of your match. When Professor Moreira asked me to come to his school and help him train Kimo Leopoldo for a match against a Japanese fighter (who was very good at leg locks), he specifically asked me to train Kimo to guard against leg locks. I taught Kimo this principle.............but it was too simple for him. He wanted to HIT so much that he forgot about his legs! Don't let this happen to you. Glue your forehead to his clavicle. Make them inseparable. Do this and you will tap less often! Good training to you, Roy Harris
1/16/08 9:42 PM
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twinkletoesCT
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Edited: 16-Jan-08
Member Since: 12/26/2002
Posts: 6952
Modern Self-Defense Center
I can't help but notice that the level of questions on this forum has really kicked up a notch. Matt - great question! You really framed it well. Roy - I am speechless after your answer. Hope will tell you that I read it once, then sat here on the couch shaking my head for a few minutes. That blew me away. I just got home from a class in which Zack and I drilled and sparred "leglocks only" for an hour. Now that I've read this, I can't wait for the next session ;)
1/18/08 12:26 AM
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Mighty Cthulhu
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Edited: 18-Jan-08
Member Since: 01/23/2007
Posts: 417
Roy, my professor once mentioned that he plays butterfly guard against Japanese fighters because they are usually so good at leglocks. For that reason, I have focused on developing my butterfly guard game, as I find your feet are very well protected when they are inside. I was tired of getting footlocked and toeholding all the time. Do you agree with this approach?
1/18/08 2:39 AM
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Roy Harris
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Edited: 18-Jan-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1981
Mighty Cthulhu, Using the butterfly guard is a great way to prevent the "average" leg locking practitioner from grabbing ahold of your ankle or knee. However, it will not stop the "advanced level fanatic" from taking your ankle home with him. So, if it works for you right now, GREAT! Keep using it. If you encounter "advanced level fanatic" at some point in time in your experience, you'll need to use what I have mentioned above! Good training to you, Roy Harris
1/18/08 9:47 AM
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demandango
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Edited: 18-Jan-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 10187
i love when the answer is so simple and makes so much sense!
1/18/08 4:22 PM
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Mighty Cthulhu
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Edited: 18-Jan-08
Member Since: 01/23/2007
Posts: 419
Thank you for your advice Roy. Very interesting.

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