The Lockdown

Eddie Bravo’s campaign in ADCC is his shining glory during his competitive years. Though he never won the prestigious ADCC title, he was able to defeat Royler Gracie during the semis. And apart from defeating a legend using an unorthodox approach in BJJ that will later become popular in MMA, he was able to showcase the use of lockdown again years after during the inaugural Metamoris event.

The lockdown is a distinct feature of Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu system. It’s a control that Eddie Bravo developed whenever he is playing half guard. Its purpose is to relieve the shoulder pressure and allow the half guard player to formulate better attacks by using techniques such as the Electric Chair.

What is the Lockdown in BJJ?

If you are somewhat new to BJJ, the lockdown is a half guard configuration. But unlike your regular half guard where you are stuck with your hips flat and your face getting crushed, things are different when you use the lockdown. These are things that the lockdown addressed. What it does is make it easier to fight for the under hook.

How do you do the lockdown? Once you have the half guard, you want to triangle your legs (the inside leg is bent). The outside leg’s instep will then be in contact with the controlled leg’s instep allowing the half guard player to have better leverage whenever playing in this position.

Advantages of the lockdown

There are a lot of perks to this configuration. It allows you better control of the top player stopping his pressure to move forward. It means that even if he or she has the cross face, it becomes easier to remove the pressure allowing you to create space or even formulate your attacks by doing underhooks or overhooks.

Another pass that the lockdown prevents is the ability of the top player to do a long step pass. Long step pass is a great way to “cut” the half guard by shifting the hip and whipping the trapped leg out. However, with the lockdown, this scenario can be prevented. You can even get to torque the opponent’s knee if he or she is insistent on doing a regular long step pass.

And of course, the more that you tend to pull the lockdown, the harder it becomes to get rid of the control.

Sweep from Lockdown

Whenever someone starts to play a heavy half guard, it is possible to control their leg and go for a lockdown. When do you go for a lockdown? The moment the knee (on the side of the trapped leg) hits the mat, that’s the time that you should go for a lockdown. Next, you want to manipulate the knee in such a way that it becomes uncomfortable for the person on top. You can torque the inward or simply extend to get rid of the pressure. Sometimes, you can do both.

To be able to get the sweep, the moment you feel that there is no more pressure on your face it is possible to frame with your arms and fight for the underhook. Once you have the underhook, you can stay low and move towards the opponent’s side. You can now start to either shrug to get the back or simply move towards a simpler single leg.

It is also possible to get a sweep when having an overhook. What you have to do is to ensure that you keep on manipulating the knee to the point that your opponent can’t put his or her weight on your jaw. The overhook typically happens when your opponent is actively fighting for the underhook as well.

Once you have the overhook, just make sure that the arm of your opponent is folded and stays close to his or her body. From here, you can simply barrel roll towards your half guard side and finish the sweep. 

How to address the Lockdown?

There are different approaches on how to get rid of this type of half guard. One of the most effective ways on how to deal with this kind of control is by simply folding the trapped leg. Getting the heel to the opposite butt will get rid of the half guard. From here, the top guy can circle and recompose a heavier half guard against the person on the bottom.

Another effective means of unlocking the lockdown is by sitting on one side of the butt as if you are doing a long step. However, by keeping the knee pointed up and the foot moving closer to your opponent’s center, it becomes easier to get rid of the lockdown. Here, you can resume a long step pass or even transition to another sequence such as a knee slice.

Lockdown and Gym Injuries

Because you get to torque the knee, this move can also cause injuries against your opponent. If you are going to practice the lockdown in your gym, be sure to not do it abruptly especially when up against a beginner. Most of the injuries incurred in this position are due to the lack of knowledge of the lockdown.

Lockdown Against Pressure Passers

The lockdown is not exactly that popular compared to other guards. However, it should be studied since it can be used as an equalizer against someone who plays a heavy top game. A lot of guys with good open guards tend to forget about their half guard. And when they lose their open guard, a lot of them tend to panic.

The lockdown is a half guard position that can help you recover your guard or even go for a sweep. It also becomes a good strategy especially if you are up against someone with good top pressure. However, you also have to remember that the lockdown is easy to get rid of if you are facing a good opponent. Be sure to use small windows of opportunities to advance your position. You will find yourself to also switch from regular half guard to a lockdown if up against someone who is more experienced.

About the author

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Richard Presley

A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Richard is the owner and primary writer of Attack The back. Check out my About Me Page to learn more!