Everyone loves to Heel Hook! With the rise in popularity of BJJ in recent years, the popularity of Heel Hooks rose as well, with professional athletes using them to win not just matches but entire tournaments. It’s needless to say that if this Leglock isn’t a part of your BJJ skill-set, then it’s about time that it does.
However, what are some of the concrete reasons why you should incorporate Heel Hooks into your game?
THEY AREN’T PREPARED FOR IT
Truth be told, if you’re just at the beginning of your Jiu-Jitsu journey – that is, if you’re a white or a blue belt – you’ll find the Heel Hook useful as a surprise factor! That is, at your belt level, there isn’t a lot of Jiujiteiros who practice the Heel Hook… Neither the submission itself nor the defense and escape from it!
In other words, it will often work simply because your opponents aren’t prepared for it. They won’t know how to react and will, therefore, be easily tapped out.
This is the case even with the higher level belts! Especially if you understand the Heel Hook game better than they do.
Focus on the fundamentals! This is important as it is the base on which you can build a great game. Some instructors do not consider leg locks to be placed in the category of beginner or fundamental techniques, but guess what! If you start practicing heel hooks at brown belt, you will be a novice just like you are now, and just imagine what your level will be in 5-8 years from now if you start learning and applying heel hooks – TODAY!
Secondly, Heel Hook is an extremely powerful submission. Regardless of the type you choose (either outside or inside Heel Hook), its breaking mechanism is quick and destructive. Perhaps one of the most notorious for his swift and vicious application of the heel hook is Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares. See video below:
That’s why you have to apply it with care in training, understanding that you could quite easily injure your training partners with it. Especially if you don’t let go quickly. But, at the same time, when you get your technique to an excellent level, you’ll be putting a lot of your opponents in danger when you’re on the competition mats.
THE FEAR FACTOR
When something’s powerful, it often makes people scared! And such is the case with the Heel Hook as well. Because of the breaking mechanism it possesses, it’s feared by a lot of BJJ athletes. So, when the word gets around that you’re good at Heel Hooks, you’re going to have that fear factor going for you!
People will be reluctant to engage with you because they know very well that you’ll take advantage of any Heel Hook opportunity that presents itself. In turn, you can use their fear and lack of defense knowledge to get them on the defensive and prevent them from using their A-game.
OPENS DOORS TO OTHER SUBMISSIONS
You can use your opponent’s fear of Heel Hooks for setting up other submissions as well – both leglocks and other submissions alike! But, it’s not only due to fear that you’ll be able to take advantage of Heel Hooks like this. If you learn the most common defenses against them, as well as how to chain them up with other submission setups – you’ll reap even more benefits!
In conclusion, it’s needless to say that Heel Hooks need to become a part of your Jiu-Jitsu arsenal. Drill them regularly, and use them when you roll as often (and as safely) as you can.
Plus, if you need a little “boost” to get you started with your leg lock journey, you should look up this instructional by the feared Heel Hook hunter – Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares! Watch the video below:
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