Heel Hooks from Combat Base (a BJJ Tutorial)

Updated on March 28, 2017
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

Students Working Leglocks

Source

Combat Base

Combat base arises when you've gotten your opponent's guard open, and you have your knee up in the middle, keeping them from closing their guard. This is one of the best positions to attack with some very basic leglocks (and, of course, to pass the guard). You may have a great deal of success with either the basic straight ankle lock or the basic heel hook, but once you start refining your attacks and hitting some more advanced setups like the over/hunder heel hook, you'll really open a ton of doors.

This article will explore some options that are easy to get into, and it'll work well with other combinations you're likely to explore. If you're not sure if you're allowed to use heel hooks at your gym, be sure to speak with your instructor before attempting any of this stuff, even in drilling, as the positions are inherently more dangerous than many more commonly familiar ones! For How to Open the Closed Guard, see the related tutorial.

Bread and Butter Heel Hook

Ah, the old classic: the heel hook from inside the guard. This opportunity often arises as soon as your partner's guard comes open, and they hip out to the side, just like they're going to try for a scissor sweep, just as an example. Nevertheless, this is far from a "gimme", as you need to be sure to first isolate their bottom leg with a "shin staple" or knee drive of your own. Once the bottom leg is isolated, then you can go about reaping the crap out of your opponent's knee, trapping the top leg, and ultimately, finishing a tight submission. Obviously, the heel hook is a devastating leglock attack, so please be sure to only ever use this under proper supervision, and with partners you trust completely. The heel hook can injure the ankle and the knee, and knee injuries can be cataclysmic.

The Over/Under

When you set up the heel hook above, one issue is that, as you're setting it up, the person can roll out to escape. Although there are things you can do in combination if you anticipate their escape, or prevent it outright, it's still something that's much easier not to deal with in the first place, if at all possible.

Enter the over/under heel hook. This versatile attack can be hit from a wide variety of positions, but the combat base entry is the easiest to understand and start working with. Once your legs are locked into place, be sure not to let your opponent try to roll to escape, as this can actually cause your opponent's leg to blow out! With the over/under, you should have sufficient control to perform the submission extremely slowly and carefully.

Coaching Students Through the Over/Under Position

Source

Inverted Heel Hook

The inverted heel hook is a very natural follow up to the basic over/under heel hook (which is an "outside heel hook" attack). When the person attempts to straighten their leg in order to prevent the initial over/under set up, you can easily switch the leg across to the inverted heel hook, perhaps the most devastating of all leg attacks. For more detail, see How to Do an Inverted Heel Hook.

Note: this same inverted heel hook can also lead to numerous other attacks and combinations as outlined in the tutorial on leglock attacks from the knee cut position, and even (in some cases) the same as the attacks from the bottom. Understanding the combinations and possibilities that will arise as your partner defends your initial attack is absolutely paramount.

Which of these moves is your favorite?

See results

Final Thoughts

I've used all of these setups and finishes numerous times in competition over the last 15 years or so. I was thrust into using heel hooks rather early on, as many of the rule sets of BJJ competitions did not outlaw heel hooks, for better or worse. As a result, I had many, many trials by fire, figuring out through injury, luck, and experience what worked and what didn't.

Note that the selfsame "fancy and funky leglocks" involve many of the exact same transitions and entries, albeit perhaps a bit more complex. The over/under position is the over/under position, no matter how you slice it. As previously mentioned, always use extreme caution any time you're performing leglocks, particularly heel hooks and other twisting leg lock attacks. Enjoy the moves, but be sure to use them in the right situations. As always, let me know if these work for you!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)