Many people outside of the 10th planet system believe the lockdown or the scorpion as they call it in Brazil can cause injury. Many people feel that is too much of a dangerous technique to practice on a regular basis and it can cause very serious injury to the knee. If you are not familiar with the lock down it is a leg weave position where you use both of your legs to inter twine your opponent’s leg from half guard. This technique was made famous by 10th Planet jiu-jitsu founder and Jean Jaques Machado black belt Eddie Bravo. Eddie has written several books which have featured several moves along with the lockdown position and the sweeps and submissions that can come from it. The lockdown name was given by Bravo to make sure everyone in the 10th planet system could talk intelligently about the moves and position but it isn’t a new concept. I have myself seen the same position appear in old judo books and even the Tao of Jeet Kune Do written by non other then Bruce Lee.
What Bravo was able to do is revolutionize the position and add a series of moves from the half guard using the lockdown to gain sweeps and submissions on would be opponents. The lockdown can be used within a sequence of moves called the whip up, whip down and eventually leading to the electric chair submission or sweep. Generally, once you attain the lockdown from half guard you use us leg position and momentum to whip the lockdown and your opponent’s leg into the air, this is called the whip up. You want to have movement in your lockdown and create certain angles to off balance your opponent. Next comes the whip down where you stretch the lockdown out and angle off to the side, at the same time your arms are pushing your opponent’s triceps and under hooking their leg. Once the leg is on the shoulder and the lockdown is stretching out the other leg, this is the electric chair which can be used to submit your opponent or lead to a sweep which provides great control.
Can the lockdown cause injury? Absolutely. If you try and force yourself out of any position in jiu-jitsu including the lockdown you can definitely cause and injury. Most injuries that occur from the lockdown is from lack of knowledge of the position and moves within the lockdown. During the whip up and whip down there is a point where you can definitely injure yourself if you try and rip your leg out. If you understand the position you will know when you have to tap or you have to give up the sweep. Just like any other move you have to learn the ins and outs and how to properly defend it. Moves within jiu-jitsu like heel hooks and kimuras if your unwilling to tap or if you twist or flex the wrong way you can definitely increase the chance of getting injured. The same goes for the electric chair and the moves from the lockdown.
Through many years of exposure to different jiu-jitsu techniques, I believe that the lockdown is no more dangerous, than a heel hook or a kimura. Thus, the importance of all jiu-jitsu players to learn the lockdown and how to defend it. Just like any other move it is essential to learn how to defend the position. At our school and other 10th planet schools, it is a rarity that someone gets hurt in the lockdown. Whether it be drilling or live rolls. To see the lockdown live in a high level match I suggest you go back and watch the Eddie Bravo vs Royler Gracie rematch which happened a few years ago. You can see the lockdown and electric chair sweep used to attempt submissions and sweep to gain dominant positions and guard passes. My advice is to start learning the lockdown as soon as you can and see what you find through proper research and maybe it will become one of your go to half guard techniques.
Zach Maslany and J-M Holland both hold black belts in jiu-jitsu under Eddie Bravo. Zach and JM both have an extensive background in jiu-jitsu and MMA. They currently run Finishers MMA and 10th Planet Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. They also run a highly successful submission only tournament called the Finishers Sub Only and a video streaming site Finishersmma.tv where they break down the 10th planet system and post important updates on advanced techniques.