How Good Can You Be at No Gi Jiu-Jitsu without a High Level Leg Lock Game?

How Good Can You Be at No Gi Jiu-Jitsu without a High Level Leg Lock Game?

The majority of No Gi Jiu-Jitsu competitors have likely invested countless hours mastering the intricacies of leg locks to gain an advantage over their opponents. However, you may be surprised to learn that you do not necessarily need to have a high level knowledge in the leg lock game to have competition success or reach a high level of skill in No Gi grappling.

In fact, some of No Gi Jiu-Jitsu top competitors have built their careers around other submission holds and positions. If you’re looking to expand your game beyond just attacking the legs, focus on honing your fundamental Jiu-Jitsu skills like arm locks, chokes, pins, and transitions. The key is to stick to the basics, developing a rock hard posture to shut down any leg lock attempt, and execute each technique with high precision. Before you know it, you’ll be tapping out the competition left and right using nothing but your arms and chest.

The Fundamentals of No-Gi Grappling

First of all, to just plainly ignore leg locks and focus solely on upper body submissions is a stupid strategy. As Dean Lister once said: “Why would you ignore 50% of the body?”. o be a complete grappler, you should a solid knowledge of the leg lock game, both offense and defense. You don’t need to have a leg lock centric game to be able to win. Just look at Gordon Ryan, who is arguably the current #1 No Gi grappler in the world. His  fundamental Jiu-Jitsu knowledge is a truly high level, yet his his leg lock game is also world class. He is well rounded.

If you look at the long list of No Gi ADCC world champions, not many of them were leg lock specialists.

For ex:

Marcelo Garcia known for back attacks, guillotines, north south choke, butterfly guard.

Roberto Cyborg, with wrestling , tornado guard.

Andre Galvao, guard passing, wrestling, submissions.

Kron Gracie, back takes and guillotines.

The last two ADCC have seen a heavy shift towards leg lockers but who has been training in Jiu-Jitsu for more than 5 years knows that there are trends, and leg locks is just another one in a long lists of styles and techniques. Remember arm drags, rubber guard, buggy chokes, darces, anacondas, guillotines etc…. have all had their phases in Jiu-Jitsu.

To become proficient in No-Gi grappling without overly relying on leg locks, you must first develop a solid foundation in the fundamentals.

Focus on:

Control Positions and Pins




How to Develop a Strong No-Gi Game Without depending too much on Leg Locks

To develop a formidable no-gi grappling game without relying on leg locks, you must focus on other

areas of submission grappling.

Develop a Strong Guard Game

Focus on Top Control and Passing

Master the Rear Naked Choke

You can reach a very high level in grappling even if you are not obsessed with leg locks. You need to focus on sharpening your fundamentals, building a crushing top game, and being a menace by hunting chokes and joint locks from every position. Drill your techniques relentlessly and visualize executing them in live rolls. Compete as much as possible to gain invaluable experience.

With time and practice, you will gain a reputation for your relentless pressure, precise technique, and Jiu-Jitsu IQ. Your training partners will dread being caught in your web of back takes, kimuras, guillotines, and armbars. Before you know it, you’ll be tapping out higher belts, dominating competitions, and realizing your potential as a No Gi grappler – all without needing to just rely on  leg locks.