Toeholds: Jiu Jitsu’s Forgotten (And Extremely Useful) Submission

Toeholds: Jiu Jitsu’s Forgotten (And Extremely Useful) Submission

Toeholds! How often do you practice them, how often do you go for them when you roll; be it in training or competition? Chances are that the answer is: „Honestly, not so often.“
And you’re not alone. A lot of Jiujiteiros – perhaps even a vast quantity of them – fail to resort to Toeholds regularly enough. Alas, this is a big mistake on your behalf; because this submission could grant you a lot more wins than you are getting at the moment!



Truth be told, however, practicing Toeholds isn’t exactly encouraged in a lot of BJJ academies. There are three reasons for this.

The first reason is that generally speaking, Toeholds aren’t as high percentage as other submissions are; more specifically, as other types of Leglocks (such as Heelhooks). So the coach is going to be more inclined to demonstrate Heelhooks, Straight Ankle Locks, and other submissions rather than this one… Pretty much in the same manner as with Wristlocks; your coach will much rather demonstrate and fine-tune your Armbar than teach you the nuances of Wristlocks for class upon class on end.
Secondly, Toeholds aren’t allowed in competition up to the brown and black belt. This is true for the IBJJF ruleset at least, the rules of which most academies side with and opt to compete in (unlike the ADCC, where they’re completely allowed). So, it doesn’t make sense for coaches to push forth more Toehold practice! It’s not going to be of any use in competition, so why waste time practicing it.

And thirdly, Toeholds are dangerous. They can lead to some rather gruesome injuries; first and foremost of the foot and its numerous ligaments, the ankle… But also, in some cases (when there’s a LOT of twisting action going about), the knee gets injured as well. In other words, it’s quite easy to pop a foot with the Toehold.
For this reason, coaches stay away from teaching it to lower belts, out of fear of them injuring each other.



All of the above-mentioned points are valid… But they aren’t valid enough for you to forego Toeholds completely! Because, no matter if your coach wants to show them to you or not, you can still use them to your advantage.
Use them to your advantage – despite the reasons why you shouldn’t use them!

So what if they aren’t as high percentage as other submissions are? The Ezekiel Choke isn’t too high on the effectiveness list either, but that doesn’t stop you from going for it here and there, does it? When you see an opportunity for a Toehold, go for it. Because your training partners and opponents aren’t too used to defending it, you’ll have a lot more opportunities for a finish.
And who cares that they aren’t allowed until brown and black belt in competition? BJJ is a complete martial art, and you shouldn’t limit yourself only to the submissions which are allowed in competition. Instead, explore the entirety of Jiu Jitsu, and learn as much of its techniques that you can.

Finally, just because a submission is dangerous, that shouldn’t deter you from drilling it and using it while you roll. Heck, every submission is a dangerous one; the Kimura can screw your shoulder up! But you still use it, because you and your opponent understand the value of tapping out.
Responsibly go for Toeholds and make sure that your training partner understands the danger of this submission… And it’ll become your weapon of choice in competition.

In this video, from his new instructionalson Estima locks and toe holds, Braulio starts the position from the single leg X. He controls the knee and then grabs the foot. From there, he locks his legs so that the opponent can’t roll, and he traps the opponent’s foot placing a toe hold with various finishes:

Learn And Master The Most Unique Footlocks From The Multiple ADCC And World Champion Who Invented Them.

Braulio Estima Is Here To Walk You Through Developing A Lethal, Simple, And Devastating Lower Body Submission Game
Braulio Estima is a multiple time ADCC Champion and multiple time Black Belt World Champion who has wins over some of the best in the world including Marcelo Garcia.
Braulio has spent years refining this technique and has been able to utilize it successfully at the highest levels of competition.