In grappling competitions that permit leg locks, fighters frequently find themselves pursuing the same technique at the same time, and that technique is often the Achilles lock. Achilles lock, also known as the ankle lock, is compression hold that causes severe pain by squeezing the muscle of the foot into its bone over the forearm serving as a fulcrum. Contrary to popular belief, an Achilles lock is not just a pain compliance hold; it is a legit submission move that can cause serious injuries if applied properly.
Depending on the exact grip you’re using, the ankle lock can apply tremendous amount of pressure either by Achilles tendon compression or foot hyperextension. Achilles tendon compression entails pressing the bony blade of the wrist to the heel while foot hyperextension can be done by stretching out the muscles and ligaments on the topside of the foot. It can also be dangerous to the knee if your opponent tries to escape from the hold in an unsafe manner by spinning and scrambling wildly.
This is a very powerful and effective finishing position in any submission grappling and MMA. It is always important to learn the principles behind the lock and how to defend against it. Without further ado, we take a look at the 8 Ways to Defend against Achilles Lock:
1. Foot Pry
Brazilian Jiu jitsu legend Ryron Gracie teaches us how to escape the ankle lock effectively. When your opponent attempts an ankle lock, quickly block the heel from locking in and pry his bottom foot off your hip and down the mat. Pass your hips over that ankle as you hook both of your arms and one of your legs under your opponent’s top leg, robbing him his mobility and his ability to get his base. Start pushing your opponent out with your free foot as you pull the locked foot in.
2. Ride the Momentum
This is a very simple ankle lock escape which might work if your opponent is not quick enough in applying the lock. As your opponent attacks for an Achilles lock, use his momentum to come up and take the top position.
3. Lock Up Defense
Your opponent’s leverage comes from stomping on your hip. Don’t let that happen. Push your opponent’s bottom foot off your hip and down the mat. Pass your hips over the ankle. Scoop your hip-side arm under your opponent’s top leg and lock your other arm under your opponent’s top arm. This will eliminate the leverage and will buy you a lot of time to transition into a better position.
4. Achilles to Foot Lock Counter
Once the opponent secures the ankle lock, twist your ankle into the crook of the opponent’s elbow. Grab his other ankle and slip your left forearm underneath so you can lock you left hand to your right wrist. With this are position, you can now leverage the toes downward for a foot lock.
5. Achilles Lock to Achilles Lock
When the submission hold is locked in, push the opponent’s foot and slip it to the side of your belly. Once his leg is turned sideways, you can apply an Achilles lock of your own. The distance of your lock is shorter than your opponent’s Achilles lock, allowing you to create more intense pain on the ankle.
6. Achilles Lock to Heel Hook Counter
The concept is basically the same as the previous technique. But instead of slipping your forearm inside the opponent’s ankle, you need to transversely twist his foot to apply a heel hook. This lateral force put severe torque on the ankle, which in turn transfer to the knee, making it really painful to the opponent.
7. Calf Crush Counter
This is yet another variation of the previous technique. But here, instead of countering with an Achilles lock or a Heel hook, you just simply put your other foot on top of his leg after you turned it sideways. The blades from his own shin will press to his muscle, creating a lot of pressure to his legs.
8. Scoot and Control
The first thing to immediately do when someone attacks you with an Achilles lock is to put the “boot” on. This means straightening your legs, pointing your knee and your toes towards the ceiling and pushing your foot through. This will alleviate a lot of pressure on your ankle. Next thing to do is to sit on his stomping foot and scoot around to safety.
When your opponent pushes you with their foot, they generate power through their legs and hips, giving them a lot of squeezing pressure. From there on, you can take the top position by grab your opponent behind his head and driving your weight up and into your opponent. Sometimes they might still be holding onto your foot, in which case you can drive your shin into their arm to trap it and eventually settle into a side control or force a reverse knee on belly position.
As long as your knee is pointed in the same direction as your opponent’s knees, you’re in danger. Correct that immediately. Get your hips and your knee to face the ceiling, so that your opponent’s forearm is no longer aligned against your Achilles tendon. Although it takes sufficient amount of force to break the bones of the ankle, the majority of the damage will come from ruptured ligament tendons. A cosmetic surgery may or may not be required, depending on the severity of the tear.