In Jiu-Jitsu there are many controversial topics with practitioners getting petty heated in their debates. One of the most controversial topics is when should practitioners begin leg locks, ankle locks and heel hooks. While all of these fall into one category of attacks “below the belt” they are viewed very different. In general most schools are ok with foot locks/ankle locks by blue belt , but why are knee bars, calf crushers and toe holds not permitted till brown belt and why do so many schools frown on them. The Heel Hook is banned in almost all gi competitions, restricted to elite nogi competitions and most academies do not permit the use of this move in training at all. Lets dive into the arguments for and against leg locks.
The main school of thought against the leg lock game is that they are dangerous and lower belts can’t be trusted with them in training. The other argument against them is that instructors feel practitioners should focus on the basic moves before moving onto the leg lock game.
The counter argument is that Leg locks are only deemed dangerous because people are not taught how to counter and defend them. Another common counter argument is that Leg Locks are an important part of Jiu Jitsu and why would we neglect this until we are almost at black belt.
Personally, I feel leg locks should be practiced throughout the journey, although I am not sure when they should be legal in tournaments. This is mainly due to the fact that I have actually seen far more injuries in competition via arm locks. People tend to fight arm locks a lot longer than leg locks and thus in most cases result in more injuries. What do you guys think about leg locks and when should they be legal in competition?