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Dean Lister Shares Leg Lock Advice: “Don’t Focus Specifically On Heel Hooks”

Dean Lister Shares Leg Lock Advice: “Don’t Focus Specifically On Heel Hooks”

As per the most recent news shared by the ADCC, Dean Lister has been inducted into the ADCC Hall Of Fame! And no wonder; he’s a 3x champion and an athlete with the highest submission rate in the Championship.
Among other things, Dean is famous for the saying: “Why would you ignore 50% of the human body?” That is to say, he’s one of the people who are most responsible for the popularization of Leg Locks in modern-day Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

However, his advice about Leg Locks might come as a surprise to you; as he doesn’t recommend focusing specifically (and only) on Heel Hooks.
Here’s the advice he shared in a conversation with BJJ Eastern Europe:

First of all, I wouldn’t focus specifically on heel hooks, because they are something that must be done responsibly; in order not to hurt yourself or your training partners. You should study all leglock variants and you should learn how to combine them with sweeps from the bottom and with guard passing from the top.
I also wouldn’t „suggest“ to become only a foot lock specialist, because a real submission fighter cannot neglect the other 50% of the human body; the neck and the arms. You need to remain open-minded at all times, because there is always something to learn.

Lister also emphasizes the importance of positional sparring:

One of the best tips that I have for leglocks or other submissions is to do much more positional sparring. This is so that you can take a chance, and if you make a mistake then you can simply restart. This will help with your confidence.
For example, let’s say that  I am starting on top with open guard – if I pass, then good, I will restart. If I get a leglock, good, I shall restart. If I fall over and lose the leglock, ok – restart. Then if I am swept, well, okay, let’s restart… This is how much training repetition should be done in order to develop skills.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your BJJ skills, as well as about the history behind the “50% of the human body” saying, then feel free to read our entire interview with Dean Lister.