A few of my teammates recently competed at a local tournament where heel hooks were allowed. While I am all for allowing heel hooks, I did hear that there were some dangerous situations. During the tournament numerous people were quickly applying and twisting heel hooks without any concern for their partner’s leg. In fact a coach was overheard yelling “Crank it! Crank it!” when his student had an inside heel hook applied.
Normally I don’t like to rant and criticize others but I feel like this is an example of a poor coach. In not so nice words, if your instructions are “crank it” when someone applies a submission you are not a real jiu jitsu coach. A real coach should be able to look at the position, quickly analyze, and then provide feedback on what the person can do to finish the submission. It would be like saying “throw faster” to a pitcher in baseball. A real pitching coach would be able to analyze a pitcher’s technique and show them how a different grip, body position, or ball release could improve their pitching. Yelling “crank it” basically just goes to show that the coach does not understand the move and has no regard for either competitor.
Furthermore cranking a heel hook is just a dick move. Heel hooks injure people. Correction…heel hooks can seriously injure people. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below and see what happens when you “Crank it!”
We are finally getting to a point in Jiu Jitsu where leg locks are becoming accepted by the masses. More and more high level competitors and coaches are using and teaching them to their students. With that being said, we do need to remember that leg locks can cause serious and sometimes permanent harm. I know Jiu Jitsu is a full contact sport and injuries occur, but there is no reason to try and injure each other.
So if you plan on playing heel hooks take my advice. Tap quick and often. Respect the heel hook. If you feel like you are in danger then tap. If you feel like you are applying the heel hook and a guy just won’t tap, then let go and transition to something else (a sign of a real leg locker). If you want to test yourself and see how far you can go with heel hooks, make sure you are training with someone you trust. Finally if you are a coach please do not yell “Crank it”. Learn the move, understand why it works, and most of all be safe.