BJJ Poll: Do You Consider Foot Attacks to be “Cheap” Submissions?

by Caleb on September 15, 2012

I acknowledge that this is a sensitive issue and will likely generate some pretty heated comments, but one cannot deny that there are those in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community who feel like foot locks require less technical knowledge to succeed than other submissions might.

For example, we have all experienced that moment in class when an aspiring, young MMA guy comes to BJJ class for the first time and at every opportunity sits back into a straight foot lock because he saw it on TV and it worked when he tried it at home on his younger brother. Of course in class that night with you and your friends, he goes for it with all his might and multiple people limp out of class on the way home, grumbling.

In the scenario above, does his “success” mean that he has good jiu-jitsu?

Do you and your training partners regularly include foot attacks when you spar, or do you avoid them because you want to focus on “more difficult” attacks, and avoid “low hanging fruit”?

Do You Consider Foot Attacks to be “Cheap” Submissions?

Now that I’ve lit the match and laid it next to a pile of dry twigs, I’ll let you guys discuss in the comment section of this post! Let us know what you think!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave September 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Sometimes. But I shouldn’t.

John L September 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I think that if a BJJ player uses leg locks exclusively because they cannot pass the guard, then this is a bad thing and it will hamper their development. However, leg attacks are both exciting to watch and a devastating means of submission. Look at Imanari or Toquinho, when you see them latch on to a leg, you know something bad is going to happen. Why limit attacks to the top half of the body?

André September 16, 2012 at 5:17 am

No and neither are knee bars, with or without reaping the leg.

Finger attacks, eye gouging, hitting the nose/face would be (and are) cheap, though.

Ross Finlayson September 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

There’s nothing inherently ‘cheap’ about footlocks; any submission that gets a tap is a worthy submission (and as long as it’s not unduly dangerous, it should remain legal). It’s important, however, that any tournament rules that allow footlocks also appropriately recognize their disadvantage: I.e., that, when defended well, they frequently lead to reversals, putting the competitor in a bad position. The IBJJF scoring rules seem to do this: If your opponent defends your footlock by sitting up and reversing you, they will end up with 2 points (and you will end up with just an advantage point, at best).

However, some other tournaments – in particular, ‘submission-only’ tournaments – might not adequately recognize the disadvantage of footlocks. This was in evidence at the recent “Gracie Worlds” submission-only tournament in San Jose. In this tournament, I saw several competitors going for footlocks, knowing that if (as frequently happened) they got reversed, they would not be penalized for this. In a street fight, however, such a reversal could have been disastrous.

PhilQNY September 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I don’t think foot locks are ” a cheap submission ” in the art/sport of Jiu Jitsu.. I don’t play a footlock based offensive game.. I much prefer chokes and armlocks.. I much prefer to have good posture and technique in my guard passing.

I do respect footlock attacks to be prepared to defend them correctly. One issue I do have with footlocks is, it can create bad habits and or an incomplete fundamental Jiu Jitsu game. I believe footlocks can complement someones already fundamentally sound and advanced Jiu Jitsu arsenal..High level purple belts..brown and of course black belts can benefit greatly.

My problem is with that blue belt who is hungry to heel hook students in class..which is not good at all. The same blue belt that may not of spent enough time nailing down the basics.

I am a student of Marcelo Garcia.. I believe in his approach and philosophy of Jiu Jitsu on and off the mats.. I also do not want to give my opponent anything during our match.. We tap hands before the match, then it’s time to roll. Footlocks are the only submission in Jiu Jitsu that both players can attack each other at the same exact time.. Why would I want to give my opponent anything? If I am choking you.. You are not choking me at the same exact time and with armlocks..that can’t happen. It will not happen.. That is why I prefer hunting for the choke/ armlocks.

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