Hunting legs from bottom position

Hunting legs from bottom position: When I began studying leg locks many years ago in the early 2000’s, they were seen almost entirely as an attack from top position against an opponents guard. Essentially they were seen as an alternative to guard passing when on top. Indeed, the main criticism of leg locks in those days was that if they failed, you would lose top position. When I began studying them, it soon became apparent that there were MANY ways to enter from bottom position. This immediately destroyed the old criticism that if you attempted them you would lose position – if you started on bottom there was no issue with ending on bottom. Furthermore, there were good reasons to FAVOR bottom entries into leg locks. The top athlete uses his legs as his primary base of support. This means any time he is taken off balance, he must spread his feet/knees wider to stay on top – and every time he does this he surrenders inside position to your feet or knees – the precursor of ashi garami variations leading to leg locks. There is more. When in top position the legs not only provide your BASE, they also bear your WEIGHT. As a result, it is more difficult to move them defensively (as opposed to the bottom player where his legs bear zero weight and thus can be moved very rapidly to evade top leg lock attacks). Heavy legs spread wide apart for base are easy targets for leg lock attacks. Time soon showed that the bottom leg lock game was even better than top leg lock game – it fit very well into the smaller athletes arsenal. It is very difficult to fully sweep a skilled opponent, but quite easy to simply disturb their balance – and that’s all that is required for a sharp leg lock attack. Nowadays the leg lock game has changed greatly from those early days. The vast majority of attacks now are done FROM guard position – not AGAINST guard position. Leg locks now don’t have to be opposed to the traditional positional game – they can be a part of it by greatly adding to the submission arsenal of the basis of the bottom positional game – guard position. Here, Garry Tonon works for another of his entries into ashi garami from open guard.

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