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Today, I am here with Dean Lister to learn how to do the heel hook and leg locks. In my opinion, Dean is the best leg lock and foot lock grappler in the history of jiu-jitsu. Dean has proven that leg locks and foot locks work in competitions. I have seen Dean tapping out the toughest guys on the planet with leg locks and foot locks. Dean has won the ADCC 3 times, pretty much using leg locks and foot locks against everybody. Dean won his division once, the open division once and the super-fight once at ADCC. The ADCC for me, is the World Championship for No-gi. It’s the most important competition for No-gi grappling.
Many times, when I go for the heel hook, I always miss it. I think I have everything set-up but I still miss finishing the submission. So, my main question for Dean is what he does and how he finishes this submission.

Let’s take a look at how Dean Lister does it:

This technique comes from the Russian knee knot, which is a Sambo position. Sambo is a Russian martial art which utilizes various types of leg locks. When Dean fights he goes into the heel hook position with 1 leg thrown over his opponent’s leg. He wants to hook that same leg under his opponent’s opposite leg, and he wants to turn his knees and hips to face his opponent. If he hooks his other leg under his foot that is thrown over and under his opponent’s leg, then the lock is very tight.
Once he gets into this position, he looks for his opponent’s heel. A common mistake is that many people will reach for the heel with their forearm muscle. The problem with that is that the forearm often slips over the heel, especially in No-gi when your opponent is sweaty.
So, he doesn’t want to reach for the heel and turn, instead he wants to turn and fall. It’s very important that he turns and locks his hands near his opponent’s heel. Then, he falls back away and turns to his opposite shoulder. The goal is to bring the opponent’s heel to the middle of his chest as he turns to his opposite shoulder and he will get the submission.

Here is the breakdown of the of the key points on how to do the heel hook by Dean Lister:

  1. Dean always turns his hips facing his opponent once he’s in the heel hook position.
  2. Dean wants to connect his grip on his opponent’s heel using his wrist. The most common mistake is to use the forearm, which often slips over the opponent’s heel and you lose the submission.
  3.  When Dean has his grip on his opponent’s heel he turns and falls back to his opposite shoulder.
  4. If you have long legs, then you need to close the space so your opponent won’t be able to roll out and escape. If you have shorter legs, then you don’t need to worry as much about your opponent rolling out and escaping.

It was a great pleasure learning from and training with Dean Lister, who I consider the best leg lock and foot lock practitioner in jiu-jitsu history. I hope you enjoyed the video. Oss.

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