How to Do the Straight-Ankle Lock for BJJ

Updated on April 2, 2020
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Applying the ankle lock.
Applying the ankle lock.

Straight to the Point

While leglocks were commonly demonized in the late 1990s and on into the early 2000s in some circles, the straight-ankle lock has remained legal in virtually every BJJ competition circuit's rule set. Despite this, and even in today's considerably more leglock-liberal climate, many gyms simply don't address the most fundamental of lower-body submissions: the straight-ankle lock.

Here, we'll break down some fundamentally sound entries, and we'll give some tips on getting the submission on the toughest of feet.

Combat Base

One of the best ways to start working on the straight-ankle lock (also sometimes simply called the "footlock") is to start from combat base, right after having opened their closed guard. This means that you will have both of your legs on the inside, an incredibly important concept for attacking legs. Start with your left knee up, and post with your right hand (make sure your post is far enough away so that your partner can't simply take it away by grabbing at it). Now that your weight is off of your right leg, retract your right foot and place it tightly on your partner's hip, toes turned out. You can also reinforce this movement by cupping your partner's knee with your left hand, helping to ensure that your partner's leg will remain trapped. Before you release your "post," be sure to overhook the ankle, very close to the heel, but not so low as to slip past the heel. In order to finish, make a tight guillotine grip first, and then try to hide your elbow underneath your body, eliminating all space. Push your hips forward and circle your shoulders back to apply the finishing submission.

Belly Down

A more powerful version of the straight-ankle lock is the belly-down version. This is much, much more difficult to escape via traditional boot escapes and the like. Start with the same left leg up in combat base. Like the classic set up, there is a one-two leg movement required here as well: slide your left knee across their left knee, mimicking a knee cut guard pass, and at the same time, prop your right knee up, helping to lift their foot up near your armpit. Envelop the foot the same way as before, but this time, use a figure four grip to get the submission, pushing outward on your partner's shin.

Note: This will likely break the bones in the foot (metatarsal bones, most likely) by stretching them out like spaghetti; the classic version may also do this, but it might break the ankle instead.

From the Bottom

Single Leg X-Guard is an indispensable tool for the straight ankle lock. Start by sitting down while your opponent is standing, paying particular attention to keeping your feet behind their knees, following if they move. Grab their right foot with your left hand, then scoot in much closer by planting your left foot on the floor, executing a reverse boot scoot.

The idea here is to snake your leg around theirs, firmly planting your foot onto their hip, toes out. While overhooking their leg in a similar fashion as before, transfer your right foot to their other leg, then lift your hips up and push their knee outwards. This will call them to fall, allowing you to come forward enough to make any adjustments you'll need in order to finish the classic straight ankle lock.

Side Switch

A very useful drill to get you and your partner working on both attacking and escaping the straight footlock is the side switch drill. As you enter into the straight ankle from the top, your partner can properly defend, and you can simply slide out and slide back in to enter into the footlock on the other side. Practice this movement and you'll certainly get better at both the escape and the finish, but you'll also develop extremely useful movement skills.

Favorite Footlock?

See results


As always, please use extreme caution regarding any submissions that might be new to you or your partner. It is my sincere hope that you are able to practice these on a regular basis with instruction, and this is predominantly designed to be a supplement for the education your instructors give you. Nevertheless, let me know if you are able to have some success with the straight ankle, and if you get stuck, I'd love to hear that as well! Happy training!

© 2017 Andrew Smith


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, 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:

    Show Details
    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 or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    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)
    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.
    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)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)