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Leg Locks: Submission Stars or Injury Threats?

The past decade has witnessed a revolution in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) - the rise of leg locks. Once relegated to the fringes of competition, these submission holds have taken center stage, forcing grapplers to completely rethink their approach to the sport. But is this influence a positive development, or a potential pitfall?

There's no denying the impact leg locks have had on BJJ.  For starters, they've injected a much-needed dose of dynamism into the guard passing game. No longer can a passer simply rely on brute force or static pressure. The threat of a leg lock entry from almost any guard position forces them to be more strategic, constantly aware of leg positioning and potential submissions. This, in turn, elevates the overall technical level of BJJ.

Furthermore, leg locks have added a new dimension to guard retention. Guards that were once considered "weak" - like the 50/50 guard (which I remember at its inception was deemed as a stalling guard) - have become powerful tools, offering numerous opportunities for leg lock entries. This expanded offensive repertoire empowers grapplers, regardless of body type or strength.

However, the rise of leg locks has also sparked concerns about injuries. The complex nature of leg locks, coupled with the potential for serious injury if applied incorrectly, has some worried about the safety of the sport.

Here's the key takeaway: Integrating leg locks safely requires proper instruction and a strong foundation in fundamental BJJ techniques.  Reputable academies prioritize drilling techniques with a focus on control and tap awareness. This ensures students understand the mechanics of leg locks before attempting them live.

Ultimately, the influence of leg locks is a positive development for BJJ. It has made the sport more dynamic, strategic, and accessible. By prioritizing safety through proper instruction, BJJ practitioners can reap the benefits of this exciting new frontier in grappling, without compromising their well-being. So next time you step on the mats, embrace the leg lock revolution – it might just elevate your BJJ game to a whole new level.

Check out the video below for some amazing leglock footage


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