Estima Lock – The Fastest, Most Brutal Leglock In BJJ

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The Estima Lock is one of those submissions that are in the grey area of legality under IBJJF rules. It is a devastating twisting leg lock that is legal at all belt levels. The Estima lock is a fairly new move, one courtesy of the Estima brothers.  the best setup is from the top, although there are numerous setups and variations. The beauty of the move is that it works in both Gi and No-Gi and is highly effective at all levels.

Along with the first rising starts of the modern leg lock game in BJJ, two grapplers of the old school came up with a move to rival even the tightest heel hook. What’s even more impressive, they devised such a cunning move, that it is legal. Yup, white belts can also do it, despite it clearly being a very dangerous twisting submission. An Estima lock is close to the toehold in mechanics, but far more powerful.

The Estima Lock is the very brutal foot lock developed by two fo the most famous competitors in Jiu-Jitsu. The Estima brothers are Gracie Barra black belts and standouts of the organization, both as competitors and coaches. Their names are Victor and Braulio, the latter being the older of the two. The Estima lock is mostly attributed to Victor, although Braulio had a lot to do with it as well. They brought it to the attention fo the grappling world in 2011. Victor won all his fights via the Estima lock at the No-Gi worlds that year. After that, it was fair game, especially as competitors discovered the IBJJF rules loophole.

The Birth Of The Estima Lock

During the late 2000’s Victor and Braulio Estima somehow ended up discovering the Estima lock. They’re not really famous for their love of leg locks, so this one came as a surprise to everyone. The manner in which they came up with the move though, is a very interesting one. Namely, during Braulio’s ADCC preparations, he annoyed his younger brother regularly with his inverted guard.

During one of their rolls, one of Braulio’s feet ended up stuck in in Victor’s midsection. Instinct guided Victor to wrap a figure four with his arms around the trapped foot. It turned out to be a painful submission, one that was hiding in plain sight until then.  From that moment on it was all about perfecting their newfound submission. They did so marvelously, as proven at the 2011 No-Gi Worlds.

Apart from Victor’s success, Braulio also put the Estima lock to good use. He actually won the ADCC while relaying a lot on the Estima lock. he found particular success in his batted with another modern BJJ legend – Rafel Lovato Jr. This proved the position worked at the highest level in grappling. Nobody gave it much thought then leaving he brothers with enough time to battle test it and polish it. After Victor’s success at the Worlds, though, everyone saw the potential effectiveness and brutality of the Estima lock.

The Mechanics Of The Estima Lock

The Estima lock is basically a very quick and just as painful foot lock. The basic position is just like the one we described before. The foot of the opponent needs to be on your belly. Imagine that your opponent has you in a lasso guard, but their foot is across your belly, fingers pointing to one side. What you need to do is grab the foot with a figure four grip, just like in a rear naked choke. The first arm needs to go under the inside of the opponent’s ankle and grab the inside of the elbow on your other arm. The second arm completes the figure four.

Estima LockFinishing the movie has an unexpected detail to it. When you have everything set up, you’ll need to squeeze your arms and turn your body. You’ll need to turn towards the inside of the leg you are attacking. The fine detail here is to also engage your belly as you twist. Try and extend your belly into the opponent’s foot as much as possible while squeezing and twisting. The break is fast and brutal, so be careful when training.

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The Estima lock is a great option to quickly deal with a lasso guard or a reverse De la Riva guard, for example. In scenarios like these, your opponent’s are going to place their feet on your belly by themselves. All you need to do is know how to get the most out of it.

Estima Lock Attacks

Estima LockThe Estima lock is arguably the best foot lock to go for from the top position. That said, one very common setup for it is the reverse De La Riva Guard. Whenever you’re attempting to pass this guard, just make sure your center of gravity is low. As soon s you feel the outside foot of the opponent on your hi, it’s time to pounce.  Lock up the figure four grip as tight as possible and engage your abdomen. This traps the foot without any manner of escaping.  To finish, turn your body inwards and compress the ankle by raising the opponent’s heel upwards. The tap is going to come lightning quick.

As with all other submissions, the entry is more than half of the puzzle. Also, despite to offering extreme control, there’s is a positional value to the Estima lock. The lack of control though is not as important because of the speed of the submission. However, attempting to submit from a distance is going to be pointless. That’s why you need the correct entry. This means getting as close to your opponent as possible so that your twist and crunch have maximal effect.

Estima LockOn a different note, the Estima lock is ten perfect way to finish off an opponent’s reaction. One of the most basic guards passes counters it swings the opposite leg over. This is especially the case when the opponent is defending a half guard pass. What this provides is a perfect opportunity to go for the Estima lock. Once the leg touches your hips it all about getting the grip. Why even bother passing when you can get a brutal foot lock right then and there and stay fresh for your next match.

Is There A Defense To The Estima Lock?

In terms of defense and counters to the Estima lock, there are some options out there. The trouble is, that contrary to most submissions, this foot lock comes on really fast! That means that you’ll barely have time to react if the opponent knows how to perform the Estima lock. A logical way to defend is to try and push with your trapped foot and attempt to invert in between the opponent’s legs. This is going to work if the lock is not tight since it unravels the grip mechanics.  However, the reaction time you’ll need is close to impossible, in the case of a properly set lock.

In summary, there’s no counter or defense that works 100%. Actually, there’s no option that goes even near that number. The Estima brothers have a true gem here, one that they proved works at the highest levels. So, if you’re ever caught in a tight Estima lock, make sure you go for the only 100 % defense there is – tap. Anyway, continue reading to find out how to defend, escape and prevent getting caught by Estima Lock.

Estima Lock Escape and Defense

Plenty of BJJ submissions have the potential to be truly devastating. However, it’s those “blitz” moves that usually result in the most damage. The thing is that most of these moves are rarely accompanied by a high degree of control, meaning injuries are not a given. Regardless, here are the few exceptions that can cripple you and your BJJ career. These are the moves that are surprising, work in a flash and leave no space for escapes or counters. Tap or snap is all your left with, and if you hesitate you might even end up too late to tap. Luckily, not many moves feet this exact description. Of those that do, though, one is a real contender for the undisputed inescapable move in Jiu-Jitsu. It is the dreaded Estima lock, the move which you can’t get out of. Up until now. We bring you a couple of Estima lock defense ideas to keep you safe and rolling!

The infective spread of the leg lock game means most people today are aware of the main dangers of these submission holds. In most instances, people know what to expect from any of the Ashi Garami variations. Calf slicer,s especially from the Truck position are still quite a gray area, despite being legal under IBJJF rules. However, blitz-style leg locks are nowhere to be seen in the modern leg locking game. It is all about control and slow methodical work. So, when somebody throws in a surprise blitz leg lock that is extremely painful and tight, you need to be ready. Especially when that move is legal for all levels of adult and master grapplers. To be honest there is not much out there on the subject of Estima Lock defense. The submission is so fast that even tapping out in time can be a problem. However, there are solutions.

The thing to remember with the Estima lock is that it works from a multitude of positions. Probably the biggest problem is that you can’t see it coming. There’s no elaborate setup, nor complicated games to bait you into position. In most cases, you’ll end up opening the attack fro your opponents yourself, not even knowing where you went wrong. This is precisely the spot where you need to focus your Estima lock defense strategy. Understand the lock so you do not give it away for free. Next up are the usual steps in escaping submissions- prevention, a last-ditch defense and tapping out. Yes, tapping does qualify as a defensive move.

Primary Estima Lock Defense: Prevention

As you can see, there’s not much to the Estima lock as a move. The trouble is that the figure four grip sticks your foot to their torso. besides the huge power of the torso, the position of the foot is a very awkward one resulting in an exceptionally painful submission. Which is where the first layer of Estima Lock defense comes in.

As with every defense in Jiu-Jitsu, and especially leg lock escapes, you need to make sure you’re never actually in trouble. A key problem is that the Estima is available against most open guard variations. If you can’t use your favorite guard(s) you won’t be able to apply your A game. The first way around is the angle of your foot. If you keep your fingers to the outside, much like with a single leg X guard, you can safely venture into Estima lock territory.

The second key aspect is the grip. For the submission to work the opponent needs to turn into you. While this is leaving it late somewhat, stripping off the near side arm is going to allow for space to wiggle your foot out of danger. The key is to hunt for that arm the moment you notice the grip setting into place. If you reach for the arm after the opponent turns, it will be to tap out. Instead, look to engage one arm if you can. Whenever you think about working from the open guard, rely on a sleeve or writ grip on one arm. There’s no Estima lock without the figure four.

Secondary Estima Lock Defense: A Last-Ditch Effort

This is where things really heat up. This is the one Estima lock defense that can safely get you out of trouble. There’s only one catch – you need to time it absolutely right. The principle of this defense is based on the ground rules for defending a toe hold. Since the Estima lock works pretty much like a toe hold, the same principle applies. IN order to relieve pressure off a toe hold, you need to turn in the direction of the force your opponent is applying.

Estima Lock Defense spinThis is the essence of this Estima lock defense. When your opponent goes for the lock, you have to immediately turn towards the opposite side of the trapped leg. The goal is to go for an inversion, but you must not stop where usual inversions do. Instead of simply inverting you’ll need to do a full circle on your back. If you remain inverted, the lock can still work, so you need to complete a full 360. However, remain wary of timing. If you start turning too late, your opponent can simply drop abase and you’ll be stuck for good. So, learn to recognize the Estima lock dangers and use prevention first and foremost. If you see the grip coming together, go for the roll under to relieve pressure and immediately look to grip an arm.

Since most people think they know and understand Ashi Garami and leg locks, it is time to throw them a curve ball. Check out the Ashi Garami Seminar” DVD by the man who caught everybody by surprise, Eddie Cummings. “The Wolverine” does not only offer you key leg locking tips but also defensive concepts to escape even the most dreaded positions in Jiu-Jitsu. Get it while it is on sale! 

The Tap Out Defense

If you pass the point of no return of the Estima lock, which is the moment your opponent settles into base after turning their torso, you have just one option left for a defense. It is the one defense that universally works 100% of the time. COnsider tapping out as a defense instead of a defeat and you’ll discover a whole new level of Jiu-Jitsu. Plus, you’ll keep your feet together to train more and try a different defense.

More About Estima Lock

The Estima lock is the brainchild of a pair of BJJ’s most famous brothers. Braulio and Victor Estima are legends of the sport. Both are highly rated black belts that fight and teach under the Gracie Barra banner. They both have contributed to the spot immensely, in plenty of technical aspects. However, there’s one move that is probably the move of their careers – the Estima lock.

It was Victor who actually came up with the move by accident, during an ADCC training camp. Braulio, who has a wicked guard game ended up with a foot stuck on Victors hip/belly. His brother just slapped a figure four grip out of habit but ended up with as devastating a foot lock as there is in all of grappling martial arts. Further experimentation led to the move that brought Braulio an ADCC title.

Estima LockThe Estima lock is quite simple from a mechanical standpoint. The basic set up is against an open or half guard. The moment your opponent places the outer edge of their foot on your belly, you’re ready to submit them. One of your arms goes around and the other locks it in place via a figure four grip. From there you take space away by crouching and you finish by turning towards space in between your opponent’s legs.

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