June 12, 2024

The Importance of Leg Lock Understanding and Defense in Guard Passing

Evolution of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

In recent years, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has evolved significantly, particularly in the realm of guard play. Athletes have developed highly technical and sophisticated guard games, introducing numerous ways to attack their opponent’s legs. As a result, having a good understanding of leg locks and leg lock defense has become essential for effective guard passing.

The Role of Leg Locks in Modern BJJ

Offensive Leg Locks

Leg locks have become an integral part of the modern BJJ landscape. They offer a powerful tool for submitting opponents and can be used to create openings for other attacks. As leg lock techniques have advanced, so too has the necessity for all practitioners to incorporate them into their game.

Defensive Leg Lock Skills

Equally important is the ability to defend against leg locks. Understanding how to escape and counter leg lock attempts can instill confidence in a grappler’s guard passing. Gordon Ryan, a renowned BJJ competitor, emphasizes this point in his instructional "Systematically Attacking the Guard 2.0." He discusses the importance of being able to pass an opponent’s guard without fear, knowing that even if your legs are entangled, you can escape and continue your attack.

Integration of Leg Lock Defense in Guard Passing

Guard Passing Without Fear

Whether you prefer loose passing, pressure passing, or any other style, you will inevitably face opponents who attempt to entangle your legs to sweep or submit you. Having strong leg lock defense skills means you can approach guard passing with confidence, free from the fear of being caught in a leg lock.

Addressing Technical Guards

Modern guard techniques have become highly sophisticated, with numerous entries into leg attacks. Ignoring leg locks would create a significant vulnerability in your game. Competitors who neglect leg lock defense risk being exploited by those who have mastered this aspect of BJJ.

Building a Well-Rounded Game

Incorporating leg lock knowledge and defense into your training ensures that you have a comprehensive approach to BJJ. It eliminates gaps in your skill set and prepares you for a wider range of opponents and situations.


As BJJ continues to evolve, the importance of understanding and defending against leg locks cannot be overstated. Mastery of leg locks and their defenses is crucial for effective guard passing, allowing practitioners to navigate the complexities of modern guard games with confidence and skill. By addressing this aspect of your training, you ensure a more robust and versatile grappling game, ready to handle the challenges posed by the ever-evolving techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.