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September 6, 2011

Roll With The Pro... September: Heel Hook

What is a Heel Hook???
a leg lock affecting multiple joints, is applied by twisting the foot, which applies force on the ankle and knee. The heel hook can cause severe injury, especially to the knee ligaments. ...

A submission in which the heel of the foot is caught and turned causing the knee to twist. Due to potentially serious damage that can be done to the knee, this submission is often banned in sparring and competition.

Please practice this move with extreme caution. Know your partner and the limits that exist between you. 

 Gladiator demonstrates this technique starting from the standing clinch position.  In BJJ there are many ways to engage an opponent so please use this article as a guide and not as a strict process for obtaining the final submission...

From the clinch Gladiator uses many positional games to begin his attack on the opponent.  Here we see that he has his head in tight, his left hand (further away and almost unseen) is grasping the back of the neck at the base of the spine, his right hand (closer to the lens) grasps his opponents bicep above the muscle and below the shoulder, and his elbow (note that this is often overlooked, but an extremely useful tool) is under his opponents elbow.  These positional aspects are going to keep you in control and uses the least amount of energy.  Space between yourself and your opponent are vulnerabilities and should be eliminated from your game.
The elbow is the key here to moving forward.  With an explosive movement of up and out Gladiator creates space for his body to move around the side and advance to the back of his opponent.  See the following images.

 See how Gladiator keeps his body tight to his opponent.  If Jeremy were to react in any number of ways Gladiator is still in a great position for many other offensive movements such as a single or double leg take-down, a slam, or simply to return to standing with a good chance of maintaining double under-hooks.  Obviously this is a demonstration, but we have all seen ourselves and our teammates in this situation.  Gladiator continues his forward progress.  As he does try and locate the points of contact he makes through out his journey.
 Here he has passed to Jeremy's back and now we see that his head is firmly positioned in the center of his opponent's back.  His hands are in a gable grip at Jeremy's diaphragm exerting huge pressure and we see that the posture is suffering as a result.  Gladiator is now in position to begin executing his take down attempt.
 As Jeremy attempts to free himself from the grip of his attacker Gladiator reaches with his right hand into the right inner thigh and anchors himself to create a point of contact that will continue to pressure his target.
 Isolating the right leg as he ascends to the mat Gladiator is above his right hip, left hand grasping Jeremy's left hip, right hand, forearm, and armpit squeezing the right shin and calf keeping Jeremy's right foot planted on the mat.
Gladiator is now in position to take-down his opponent.  As you can see there are a few more steps in order to get to the position photographed above, but the main idea is to maintain that lock down on your opponents leg until you have moved your legs into this position.  Everyone will make the movement as they feel comfortable, but Gladiator achieved this by posting his left leg and extending it passing his right hip (closest to the floor) through to the inside of Jeremy's right leg.  Simultaneously extending his right leg planting his right heel on the right hip of his opponent.  The left leg follows this upward movement along the outside of Jeremy's right leg.  He squeezes both legs together all while re-positioning his right elbow to come into contact with Jeremy's right instep (the inside of his foot's arch).  

By explosively rolling to his left Gladiator now has his opponent's leg trapped and is able to bring him down to the mat with his heel in the perfect position for hooking.  Gladiator has maintained his body position closing the distance to his target while creating an extreme amount of space between himself and any threat from Jeremy's hands.  Gladiator maintains constant pressure on Jeremy's hips and thigh.  He is closing the distance between his upper body and his opponent's heel.

Because he maintained the positions described above he now only has to move his elbow a few inches to secure the heel.  Notice the position of Jeremy's foot, Gladiator's knees, his elbow, and his right forearm.

He is free to reach for his right hand grasping it in a gable grip and while he keeps everything tight to his body the heel is his to submit.  
 Jesus Christ - King of Kings
My friend Gabriel "Gladiator" Santos wishes to express his thanks in your interest and God's Blessings to all.  Gladiator is a veteran fighter, BJJ student, and a skilled instructor.  Jeremy Ross is also a skilled instructor and a proud student of Gabriel Gladiator Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Check out Gladiator's website to learn more about him, and his training opportunities by clicking on his advertisement in the upper left hand corner of our site.

Joe Leonard is a writer and photographer for as well as a student of Team Ravenous MMA located at ATA in South Deerfield, MA.  Please leave your comments, questions, criticism, or suggestions on our Face Book page or our site by clicking the radio buttons below.