Okay, 2018 is officially the craziest year in BJJ. We saw championships change hands, we saw the rise of new promising promotions like Quintet and we saw a boatload of DVDs we never thought would come out! First, Craig Jones came out with a masterpiece on leg locks and went on to release content on all his favorite moves. The biggest bang of them all was the release of the long-awaited John Danaher leg locks instructional. Not only did it come out, but did so twice, due to technical difficulties. Now, as we await Danaher’s back takes masterclass something else popped up out of the blue. It is an Ashi Garami Seminar, coming to us in the format of an Eddie Cummings DVD! Yes, the Wolverine, just like his mentor, has finally produced a BJJ video instructional!
My personal exposure to leg locks apart from a visiting grappler that destroyed my legs on a couple of occasions was EBI. The now premiere (apart from ADCC) No-Gi promotion featured a little-known grappler by the name of Eddie Cummings during its first events. What took me by surprise was the sheer amount of leg lock attempts I saw at those first few tournaments. Not only attempts but very fast and seemingly inescapable submissions. Suddenly, even though I was a purple belt at the time, I was looking at BJJ not understanding a thing. A whole new area of the sport suddenly opened up and I became obsessed with finding out more. The trouble was, there was no Eddie Cummings DVD then. No Ashi Garami Seminar to explain everything, not even a Youtube video to get me going.
For someone who spent all of his time grappling in the Gi and competing under IBJJF rules, the leg lock game was a world apart for me. It was like a whole new grappling martial art, actually. From there on there was no stopping. A few years forward and a bunch of slow-motion analysis of Eddie Cummings matches, I can proudly call myself a leg-locker. By no means an accomplished one, I’m just fascinated by this aspect of BJJ that was “locked” for me up until a while ago. So, imagine my joy when I found out about an Eddie Cummings DVD. At this point, I’d take anything from the Wolverine, let alone a full-blown, in-depth Ashi Garami Seminar! Let’s travel together into the world of leg locks, led by the Wolverine himself and re-discover the finer points of the Ashi Garami positions.
Eddie “The Wolverine” Cummings:
Eddie Cummigns is a charismatic grappler who is a BJJ black belt under the now legendary Joh Danaher. He used to train at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York until a short while ago. Lately, he’s been trying to make a Jiu-Jitsu brand of his own. The Wolverine is one of the most accomplished No-Gi grapplers from the submission only scene featuring at events like Kasai, EBI, Polaris, Fight to Win etc.
Cummings is born and bred in New York. He started training Jiu-Jitsu fairly late in life, at the ripe age of 26 during his Stony Brook University days. Cummings was a physics student who found out there was a No-Gi grappling class in the basement. That led to him falling in love with the gentle Art and quickly getting his blue belt. 3 years later Eddie joined Renzo’s gym when he moved and the rest is history.
It was at the “blue basement” that Eddie’s fascination with leg locks met its other half – Danaher’s knowledge of them. This potent combination resulted in Cummigns smashing the highest level grapplers with ease and ultimately, gave birth to the Danaher Death Squad. Cummings got his black belt in a record 5 years which is just another testament to the Wolverine’s grappling prowess.
The Modern Leg Lock Game
The Danaher Death Squad emerged quite literally, wit ha bang. Out of nowhere, a group of few grapplers, led by Cummins started claiming limbs and championships left and right. The IBJJF Gi scene didn’t really take notice early on since heel hooks are not allowed. However, the submission only community was taken aback. Along with the astonishment at the Wolverine’s submission method of choice came challenges.
The old “leg locks don’t work” mantra came to the surface again. Any and all top-level grapplers tried to prove that leg locks were shunned for a reason. It didn’t really work out for them, as the Wolverine and the squad went unbeaten under the tutelage of Danaher. As Eddie’s success with leg locks grew, so did interest in these long forgotten techniques. People started digging up all kinds of material, but something was lacking. No matter how many old Sambo instructionals they went through, nobody outside of the Squad got even close to their heel hook prowess.
This is when the nerdy BJJ community went into overdrive trying to reverse engineer it all. As a part of that community, I can tell you that the process was slow, frustrating and barely worth it. However, with no clear sight of an Eddie Cummings DVD, his material and a couple of short YouTube clips were all we had to go on. It took this long to actually get unrestricted access to Eddie’s leg locking methodology. As much as the Squad’s grappling success molded the modern leg lock game, expect the Ashi Garami Seminar to re-shape it once again. I guess it’s not a coincidence that the master of the dark side and his most prized pupil both produced amazing leg locking content within months of each other.
Ashi Garami – What We “Know” So Far
So, before we actually take a look at Cummings’ Ashi Garami Seminar, let’s see what we think we know about Ashi Garami. The term itself translates as “leg entanglement” from Japanese. It used to be a part of Judo, although not one that really took on in competitive formats.
Basically, what the BJJ community thought to be Ashi Garami was a prone single leg x guard. The position offers a way of hip control that exposes the foot of submissions. Both heel hooks and ankle locks work great here. However, what Eddie Cummings’ matches demonstrated is that there are way better Ashi Garami variations out there. For instance, having both feet on the outside of an opponent’s hips offers much better control and finishing options. This is the Outside Ashi Garami.
Getting even further up the leg locking hierarchy was a classic of BJJ, the 50/50 guard. The only trouble with this one is that the opponent has equal attacking opportunities, turning everything into a race. The ultimate checkmate positions came from old Sambo positions. The Inside Senkaku and Game Over are positions that offer immense control and very easy, very brutal submissions. These positions open up inside heel hook submissions and are notoriously difficult to escape. At least when Cummings does them.
What soon became apparent is that reverse-engineering left a lot of space for improvement. Even people who took privates were unable to grasp the complete leg locking concept of the Wolverine. The finer points of control, finishing details, as well as counter leg locking concepts all, feature heavily in this Eddie Cummings DVD. Which is why every grappler, and especially aspiring leg lockers, need to get a hold of it.
The “Ashi Garami Seminar” Eddie Cummings DVD
Danaher’s take on Ashi Garami is one of control. Nobody put all his teachings to practice better than Eddie Cummings. The general principle of leg entanglement is all about control. This is the main feature of the Ashi Garami Seminar Eddie Cummings DVD. The hierarchy goes like this: First, you need to understand the position and the mechanics of the submission. In the case of the Ashi Garami Seminar, it’s the heel hook. From there on, you have to learn how to enter the positions and retain control over your opponent as you dig for a submission. Finally, you need to understand how all Ashi Garami variations tie together in a system of effortless transitions.
This Eddie Cummings DVD offers up a complete and systematic approach to Ashi Garami leg locks. He kicks the Ashi Garami Seminar off with outside heel hook setups and progresses through the hierarchy towards the dreaded inside heel hook from the Inside Senkaku. The material structured as a digital download, divided into 4 major volumes. Each volume, in turn, has several chapters, each addressing a specific subject in a systematic manner.
Eddie Cummings is a great coach that has the ability to hold your attention awhile transferring only the knowledge that’s actually important for a given technique. This is unsurprising, as Cummings did spend a while teaching university-level physics. The technical aspect of the release is flawless, with perfect camera work and nothing to criticize about the audio.
Outside Heel Hooks
The outside heel hook is the first aspect of leg locking that Eddie Cummings addresses. He likes to attack from the outside Ashi Garami position and focuses on it a lot. Forget what you think you know about the outside heel hook. There are details in here that’ll change your heel hooking game forever! The pinky toe tendon concept is unbelievable. it’ll ensure you never lose another outside heel hook again!
A very key chapter of this volume is also the one on maintaining control of the knee line. Losing the knee line means you lose both the position and submission opportunity. Keeping your opponent under control allows you to set up the outside heel hook perfectly and without having to rush things.
What I particularly like is that he circles back to summarize everything before moving on to the next chapter.
Inside Heel Hooks
On the subject of inside heel hooks, the Ashi Grami Seminar is all about the Inside Senkaku. The first issue of the position is controlled. Everybody who has ever attempted it against a top-level black belt knows that staying in it is no easy feat. Cummings goes over the inside heel hook in amazing detail. Even the most proficient leg lockers are going to benefit from the way the Wolverine likes to set up this submission. In case you think you’re just going to hear Danaher’s advice all over again, you’re much mistaken. Even though Cummigns learned the secrets from him, he sprinkles a lot of experience-based details into the mix.
One of those sprinkles includes a very interesting concept regarding the opponent’s knee. Turns out, the angle of the knee in relation to your hips has a lot to do with how you finish. This is the one thing I never could figure out just from looking at matches. Pay attention to the laces inside heel hook. There are a few chapters dedicated to it at the very end and they bring whole new levels of viciousness to the inside heel hook.
Escapes And Counters
In truth, this is the main focus of the instructional. A good portion o it, more than half, is dedicated purely to getting out of the Ashi Garami. It gives this Eddie Cummings DVD a lot more value, as there’s hardly a better person to teach you leg lock defense than a cream-of-the-crop leg locker.
Just like with attacks, the defensive strategies are organized depending on the submission. Actually, the Ashi Grami seminar begins with ways of escaping the outside heel hook. Cummings refers to escapes as “slips” and offers a lot of them. Once again, it’s all about the details and the basic movement principles of escaping a tight leg lock attempt. He also includes a complete volume dedicated to battling for the grips when in outside Ashi Garami. There are several grip braking strategies, all referring to different outside Ashi positional dynamics.
Inside heel hook slips also get a lot of attention. If there’s one thing only you need to focus on in order to survive the Inside Senkaku, it’s how to turn your toes. Eddie’s method for alleviating heel pressure is unique, based on mechanics and works like a charm. Just like before everything ends up with a summary in case you missed something.
Troubleshooting Leg Locks
This is arguably my most favorite part of the Eddie Cummigns DVD. Apart from attending the Ashi Garami Seminar itself, mastering this portion is enough to bring your leg lock game to new heights. If you’ve been into leg locks for a while now, you already have the basic issues you’re facing on a regular basis.
One thing I often face from the outside Ashi Garami position is getting smashed. It may be because of insufficient control or a very strong opponent. Whatever the reason, you need to know how to stay on track and eventually finish with a heel hook. Leg pummeling and extensive leg positioning details are covered in depth, allowing you to capitalize even on a “fleeting” outside Ashi Garami.
Rounding things off are several key leg locking drills that are going to make you extremely good at both offense and defense! Get the Ashi Garami Seminar Instructional. Get better at leg locks. It is as easy as that. By the way, the price is an absolute bargain for the very first Eddie Cummings DVD.
More About Eddie Cummings:
- Full Name: Edward Cummings
- Age: 34 (Born in October 1984)
- Nickname: “Wolverine” – When Wolverine was asked about his nickname and what’s behind it he answered: “They ask me why people call me Wolverine. It’s because I am small, furry and mean-spirited”
- Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Jr > Renzo Gracie > John Danaher > Eddie Cummings
EBI 4 Champion(2015 – 145lbs)
EBI 7 Champion(2016 – 145lbs)
Polaris 2 Superfight Winner(2015)
ADCC US East Coast Trials Champion(2015)
Grapplers Quest World Series of Grappling Champion(2012)
Grapplers Quest US Nationals (Rough Zen) Champion(2013)
Long Island Pride XVI Champion(2012 purple weight + absolute)
Grapplers Quest World Series of Grappling 3rd Place(2012 absolute)
Grapplers Quest US Nationals 3rd Place(2012)
Why Eddie Cummings Left the Danaher Death Squad?:
There was a lot of fuss on whether Cummings Left the Danaher Death Squad or not. At the beginning of 2018 rumors were spreading around that he’s not attending Danaher’s classes for more than a year. In the end, all of those rumors ended up as a truth.
Danaher himself explained the situation with Eddie in his Instagram post. Danaher explained that Eddie Cummings left due to concerns to train with people with whom he’ll compete with. Danaher also said that some athletes like Gordon Ryan or Garry Tonon and others don’t have any problems with training with people they’ll compete against.
As we can find out Eddie is still active at RGA (Renzo Gracie Academy). He trains there and also teaching classes over the weekends.