Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Defense: How to Defend a Heel Hook From the Standing Position

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Defense: How to Defend a Heel Hook From the Standing Position

The heel hook is a very common submission done in the martial arts of Brazilian jiu jitsu. It is a move taught early on and used from white belts up to black belts. It is a very effective yet rather simple move to finish. This article is a review of how to defend the heel hook from the standing position.

Defending the heel hook from a standing position over an opponent:

Many times when you are standing over top of an opponent, they will choose to go for a leg lock. The two main leg lock submissions that are attempted in this position are knee bars and heel hooks. In the case in which an opponent goes for a heel hook, we will discuss how to defend that attack.

Before we discuss how to defend the leg lock attack, we must mention the proper stance and posture one should be in when over top of an opponent. With improper stance or poor balance, one can easily lose the dominant position and be forced into a weak position leading to a submission or sweep. When standing over an opponent, one should first try to control the opponent’s legs as much as possible. Keeping control of the legs will help prevent the opponent from sweep attempts and leg submissions.

While we are attempting to control our opponent, we must assure we are in good posture and balance. Our feet should never be too close. When are feet are close together, it is easy to complete a sweep or leg trip. Our feet should also never be squared either. Having a staggered stance will assure our feet are far enough apart and we have optimal balance.

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Now that we have quickly covered proper stance while over an opponent, we will get into the steps to defend the heel hook. We will assume for sake of clarity that the opponent is attacking your lead left leg. We will also assume that you are in an orthodox stance. When the opponent is attacking your lead left leg for a heel hook, he will bring his right leg under and back over. The opponents objective is to get you light on your left leg in order to manipulate your ankle/heel. They will start turning their body to their left turning you away exposing your heel. So to defend the attack we need to not allow them to achieve their intermediary objectives. We need to stay heavy on our lead leg, stay facing the opponent and not allowing them to get under our heel. In order to achieve this, we will be peeling the opponents right leg off as well.