Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.
One great thing about this complex system we call "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu" is that the pieces are, in fact, modular in nature. This means that you can learn one technique, then apply it across a wide variety of different scenarios.
The "yogafoot" move is just such a move, involving a relatively simple concept that can facilitate dozens of different techniques in various situations. Let's take a look at a few examples, along with the basic mechanics of the move.
The Mechanics of Yogafoot and One Example
One vivid example of when the yogafoot technique can be used arises from the top of Reverse De La Riva guard.
Start standing, with your partner hooking your right knee with their right shin and foot, creating a "hook" of sorts. Establish grips, first blocking their left leg from being able to interfere or maintain their guard, and then grip outside of their pants at the knee with your left hand. Next, apply pressure outward by rotating your right knee to your left, and use counter-pressure from your left hand by pushing inward.
Here comes the yogafoot motion: "hop" over your partner's shin with your foot by kicking yourself in the butt without moving your knee at all. It is this key detail—the idea that you can swivel your foot free of entanglements without moving your knee at all—that allows the yogafoot to function.
A Second Example
This second example shows the versatility of the position.
This time, try freeing butterfly hooks (simple hooks behind your knees) while standing, by applying the same principles. Start with some downward pressure into your partner, ultimately seeking to pin your partner's heels to their butt.
Once you have this consistent, inward pressure applied, use the same yogafoot mechanics from before to swivel free of their hook. This time, when you "kick yourself in the butt" and keep your knee stationary, you'll free yourself from one hook only to find yourself in Reverse De La Riva guard. So you will need to replicate the X-pass described above in some fashion.
A Half Guard Example
In this fundamentally simple half guard example, you can clearly see a wider range of applications for the technique.
Start in your partner's half guard, smashing them with an underhook and crossface. Next, work to free your trapped leg with a simple swivel motion (the same motion described above in some detail).
They key difference here is that your knee will stay on the ground during this portion of the technique; otherwise, the movement is essentially the same. Use this new "hook" to help free your trapped leg during the pass.
A Scissor Half Pass Example
This slightly more complex version, also from the half guard, is again the same essential movement, but with a slightly different application.
Like the X-pass, the ultimate goal is to help free the trapped leg. But this time, you're once again keeping your knee on the ground during the yogafoot maneuver.
The mechanics of passing scissor half guard can be somewhat more complex. But once you have the arm threaded through and your partner's hips smashed, the yogafoot is, once again, your good friend in completing the pass.
One More Approach
Here is one more application that hearkens back to our earlier example of clearing the butterfly hooks while standing.
This time, however, the ultimate goal is actually to step into the person's half guard. This unexpected approach will catch a lot of folks off guard, as they will no doubt expect you to approach with an X-pass or something similar. Stepping into the half guard, as shown in the video above, can often be a great approach to attacking the feet.
In summary, the yogafoot is an incredibly useful technique to use in order to free a trapped leg in BJJ, across a wide range of applications.
However, the bigger picture is that jiu jitsu is modular. You can combine bits and pieces of the techniques, like words making up different sentences, to make up your own moves. As always, let me know how these techniques are working for you!