kano Judo Leglocks

by M. Kawaishi

General Observations

The leglocks serve naturally to extort the opponent’s surrender, for once favourable contact has been acquired, their result is almost immediate.

But it is often quite difficult to obtain this contact. That is why the essential role of the leglocks–as also that of the Dislocation Necklocks–consists above all in determining defensive reactions which can be exploited in order to apply Strangulations and Armlocks.

The object of the leglocks is to bring about sprain or dislocation of the knee or ankle which compels the opponent to surrender. The Sprain is a rent of the ligaments of the joint; the Dislocation defines a durable displacement of the articular extremities, properly speaking.


(Single Leg Crush or Dislocation)

image002 Judo Leglocks Uke is on his back. Tori is standing in front of him slightly to the right.

Tori has trapped under his right armpit uke’s right ankle which he keeps tightly pinned in the following manner: This ankle is blocked above, on the instep, by the armpit, properly speaking; to the left by the inner surface of tori’s arm; to the right by the ribs; and below, above the heel, by the radial edge of tori’s right forearm which he lifts as much as possible while strongly contracting his biceps and both his hands in the fundamental hold.

In order better to ensure these contacts tori, legs separated and a little bent, is at first bent forward. Then he bends backwards at the same time taking care not to relax his grip on uke’s foot which is made to support the entire weight of uke’s body on the ankle-joint at one and the same time in torsion (twisting) and elongation.


The same hold, but tori, instead of bending himself backwards, is seated supported on his right leg, and places his left leg diagonally across uke’s abdomen.

image004 Judo Leglocks Tori’s left foot should take the point of support with the heel on the outer surface of uke’s left hip.

At this moment only, tori bends himself backwards with an effort of his abdominal muscles, which produces the same effect on uke’s ankle as previously uke’s weight did, but it is more difficult for uke to extricate himself from it.

Remark: The leglock can be completed with a torsion of uke’s right knee. For that purpose tori must strongly tighten his knees so as to wedge uke’s knee between them, and bend not directly backwards but on his left and press more particularly the inner surface of his left knee towards the right against the outer surface of uke’s right knee.

Attention: Never use force, in this last movement above all.


image006 Judo Leglocks Tori, instead of being seated on the ground as in the 1st leglock: A, pivots on his right leg describing with the left, above uke, a big semicircle forward and towards the right.

Uke is obliged to follow the movement and pivots on his left flank to find himself again on his stomach. Tori, legs bent, bends backwards without going so far as to seat himself on uke’s loins. He must not at any moment be unbalanced forward since he would then risk being pushed back by uke.

Remark: The 1st leglock: A may be regarded as emanating from the fundamental method because tori links up from this style when uke resists by bending himself backwards, supported only on his shoulders.

In the same way for the 1st Leglock: B, when uke pivots in order to escape the fundamental method or the 1st leglock: A.

image008 Judo Leglocks 2nd LEGLOCK: 2nd A and B

(Double Leg Crush or Dislocation)

Exactly the same hold is involved as in the 1st Leglock but applied to both legs instead of to one only. Therefore the same principle and the same analysis of the movement.

You pass from the 2nd leglock to the 2nd Leglock: A or to the 2nd Leglock: B, exactly as from the 1st leglock to its derivatives.

Remark: In the 2nd leglock: A, tori crosses his feet on uke’s abdomen. The essential point in the three cases for tori is always to have rather a tendency to lose equilibrium backwards since he has uke who affords a counterpoise.


(Entangled Leg Dislocation)

image010 Judo Leglocks Uke is on his back and tori on the right of uke’s right leg (facing in the same direction) with his left knee on the ground and the right one raised.

Tori slips his right wrist under uke’s right ankle which he raises. He places the palm of his left hand on uke’s right instep and the palm of his right hand on his own left wrist.

Tori then effects with his wrists the same flexion downwards as for the 2nd Armlock which brings about the sprain by torsion of uke’s ankle.

Remark: Uke’s right knee may be pinned under tori’s left arm. But tori runs the risk, if he raises uke’s leg too much, of allowing uke to pivot to his left. It is in spite of everything pretty difficult, and tori can still “link up” in a manner somewhat similar to the 1st leglock: B, i.e. by turning himself towards the back this time and straddling uke with his right leg.


(Knee Crush or Dislocation)

image012 Judo Leglocks Uke is on his stomach. Tori is on the left of uke’s left leg, his right knee on the ground and his left knee raised.

With his left hand tori grasps uke’s right heel by the outer edge and pulls on it so as to place uke’s right instep in the popliteal hollow of his own left knee.

Immediately tori with his right hand, which has just taken hold of uke’s left instep from below, bends back uke’s leg on uke’s thigh as he strongly presses uke’s right foot by the heel in the fold of his left knee which strains the joint.

Remark: This leglock can also serve as a sequence to the preceding method. Thus executed it is fundamental, but certain judoka finish it (as also its “A” and the 6th and 7th leglocks) by seizing uke’s belt with their left hand as point of support and of traction, but only when the foot is definitely blocked in the fold of the knee.

image014 Judo Leglocks 4th LEGLOCK: A

Instead of placing uke’s right ankle in the popliteal hollow of his knee, tori puts therein his own left ankle, the instep against the inner surface of the thigh and finishes as before.

Remark: In the two cases tori must be particularly careful that the blocking ankle, whether uke’s, as in the previous method, or his own, as in the one under review, is well placed in its longitudinal axis, i.e. the instep on the biceps of the thigh and the Achilles tendon against the top of the calf, and therefore in the direction of the greatest thickness.

Especially in “A”, tori’s left leg should be almost transversal to that of uke, the foot bent, the toes alone resting on the ground.


(Dislocation of Knees in 8th Immobilization)

image016 Judo Leglocks Tori holds uke in the 8th Immobilization (Tate Shiho Gatame).

He extends his legs and engages his feet against the inner surfaces of uke’s heels, very slightly above.

His insteps are thus on both sides in contact with uke’s transversally.

Tori continues to extend his legs, separates them, and raises them as he sticks his abdominal muscles in support on uke’s stomach.

He also raises the upper part of his body as he takes support with his left arm on the ground and with his right arm on the collar of uke whom in this way he keeps on his back. Tori’s head should be in front of uke’s.

Remark: There are thus simultaneously quartering of the thighs and torsion of the knees of uke.


(Inward Winding of Leg)

image018 Judo Leglocks Tori and uke are both standing, with the normal Judo hand-holds, specifically the right natural posture in which the right hand grips the opponent’s left lapel and the left hand his right outer elbow.

Tori attacks uke with the 1st Leg Throw (Osoto-Gari), but uke resists by bending forward or even attempts to counter tori with the same movement.

Tori does not resist but on the contrary lets himself go backwards and clearly towards his left and strongly pulls uke with his right arm which remains well pressed diagonally against uke’s chest whilst his left arm directs uke’s right shoulder to the right of his own.

At the same time tori completes uke’s frontal disequilibrium by hooking his left instep in front of uke’s right ankle, thus subjecting him to a leg scissors but in the normal direction of the bend.

image020 Judo Leglocks At the moment when tori reaches the ground a little in front of uke, he turns himself on to his right side, his left leg is placed in support lateral back and sits down and raises himself on his right arm. His left hand seizes uke’s right instep and bends back his leg in the bend of which tori has left his right calf which is wedged therein.

Therefore the end of the movement is similar to the 4th leglock: A (Hiza-Hishigi).

Remark: This 6th leglock can serve at one and the same time as a sequence and counter-hold to the 1st Leg Throw (Osoto-Gari). But the essential thing for tori is to make uke fall as much as possible flat on his stomach by moving sideways and then turning swiftly to seat himself as soon as he reaches the ground.

image022 Judo Leglocks 7th LEGLOCK

(Crab Entanglement)

Tori tries to throw uke with the 8th Sutemi (Kani-Basami) but the latter resists by leaning forward.

Immediately tori reverses the rotation movement, i.e. the front surface of his left leg presses against uke’s ankles and insteps and it is no longer the front surface of his right leg which blocks uke’s heels but the posterior surface of the same leg which pushes uke’s knees at the level of the popliteal hollows.

Uke falls flat on his stomach and tori then effects exactly the same end of the movement as for the preceding leglock.

image024 Judo Leglocks Remark: The important point in this movement consists for tori in immediately taking advantage of uke’s frontal resistance to the attack with the 8th Sutemi.

Tori, instead of continuing to turn from his right to his left, then effects a complete turn on himself from his left to his right.


(Transversal Blocking of Leg)

image026 Judo Leglocks Position: tori is on his back and uke is flat on top of him with his right leg between tori’s legs.

Contacts: tori places his right leg transversally on uke’s so that his calf bars crosswise the popliteal hollow of uke’s knees; puts his left leg above his right ankle so that the popliteal hollow presses crosswise on the inner surface of that ankle and on the instep and therefore parallel to uke’s leg; slides his left instep hook-wise and toes raised under uke’s right instep.

At this moment tori slips his right leg under uke’s calf as he lowers and stretches his left leg stiffened, with the foot always at a right-angle in order to prevent uke’s from extricating itself.

There are thus at one and the same time very painful compression of the calf and elongation of the ankle.

image028 Judo Leglocks Remark: tori must prevent uke from raising himself and with greater reason from standing up entirely, since it would then be tori who would be victim of his own hold, his legs entangled round uke’s ankle.

The 8th leglock often completes some Strangulations and even some dislocation Necklocks or replaces the 13th Strangulation (Do-jime) in order to maintain contact with uke.


(Knee Entanglement)

Uke is on his back subjecting tori to the beginning of a rear Strangulation completed with a body scissors.

Tori resists by drawing his head into his shoulders and blocking uke’s arms with his own and taking advantage of the position of uke’s feet, which are crossed in front of his stomach, he subjects him to the 8th leglock which is therefore the counter-hold to this kind of attack.

image030 Judo Leglocks Uke has, for example, crossed his left ankle over his right ankle.

Tori in his turn crosses his own right ankle over uke’s left instep, and lastly, his left ankle over his own right instep.

He takes support on his abdominal muscles contracted to resist the double Strangulation, and brings his left leg backwards. Immediate result: very painful double elongation of uke’s ankles.

Remark: The contact of tori’s right leg over uke’s left instep can be localized, according to opportunity, from the knee to the ankle, but it is more advisable that it should be as near as possible to the knee.

Editor’s Note: Because these techniques can be very dangerous they are banned from use in Judo tournaments and free practice (randori) sessions. Do not attempt these techniques outside of class, or even in a Judo class unless supervised and approved by a qualified instructor.

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