Indian Death Lock – The Ultimate BJJ Lockdown Killer

Andrew Wiltse FREE Instructional

As a smaller grappler, I love being as technical as possible. OKay, it is something I had to learn to love, as it was the only avenue of grappling success for me. This means I like to do everything as neat as possible and usually like to cook people before inevitably tapping them. However, every once in a while I also enjoy hitting one of those sneaky, surprise, “one-ff” moves to catch people off their guard. Since strength isn’t really on my side, I have to go sneaky. And hitting a submission on someone from a position they think they control completely is as sneaky as it gets. Especially when that position is the dreaded lockdown half guard. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Indian Death Lock. 

Once again, this move is nothing new to old school grapplers. It is one of those “crazy” wrestling moves that people think won’t ever work in a real grappling setting. Well, news flash, it does. And it can work against high-level opponents too, as long as you know how, and more importantly, when, to go for it. The Indian Death Lock is essentially a leg lock, or a combination of two, to be more precise. It is a calf slicer-ankle lock combination that’ll have even the toughest opponent tap. The best thing about it is that you can do it freely against everyone, as it doesn’t fall under the “illegal category”. It is more of an ankle lock against crossed legs from back control type of situation.

Lockdown Trouble 

The lockdown position is a half guard variation that is a staple of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. It is highly effective, makes guard passing next to impossible and opens up a plethora of attacking options. It is a position that works against everyone, as Eddie Bravo proved in his second match against Royler Gracie. That said, every grappling move is beatable if you know what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The Indian Death Lock is the only way to submit straight from the position, though.

Indian Death Lock (the Lockdown) The lockdown position has the opponent’s legs tangled in figure four around one of your leg. The outside leg of the opponent goes over your calf and locks under the inside leg, which is hooked on your ankle. This gives the opponent full control over both your knee and ankle. The battle here is for your hip, and if the opponent gets control of it. You’ll go flying no questions about it. So, in order to make sure you get out of the lockdown you need to make sure your hips stay low.

Once you make sure you won’t go flying straight away, you’re up against the main lockdown problem – unlocking it. Putting forward pressure from a tripod position might work against unskilled opponents, but if they know what they’re doing you’re doomed. So, since the hips are safe when they’re low, why not take them back all the way? This is a logical direction to take, if not for one problem – upper body ties. Most likely, when in the lockdown, your opponent will have an underhook on at least one side. Well, guess what? When you go for the Indian Death Lock, an udnerhook actually helps you.

Indian Death Lock

The Indian death lock is one of those moves that is going to catch everyone at first. As you go for I, later on, people are going to scramble out of position in order to avoid it, giving you the option to get a better position or another submission. And if you really dial it in, it’ll catch everyone most of the time.

Indian Death Lock Lockdown Pass SubmissionIn a modern grappling context, you’ve seen this move on TV, but not in a BJJ context. If you like to watch the WWE (which I highly doubt), you’ve seen this moves a hundred times. What you haven’t seen is the lockdown, along with any sense that it’s a legit move. However, when you’re up against the lockdown, the Indian Death Lock will soon become your best friend. remember the tripod passing position we talked about. Well, it is safe enough if you’re not going forward, so it’ll be your starting point. What you want to do is simply place your shoulders on their belly. Aiming for just below the diaphragm is the best.

The main difference here is that you won’t be going forward. Instead, you want to head back. How much back? Until you’re standing on your feet. Here, you have both of the opponent’s feet trapped as a result of figure four. In order to get the lock, the first thing you want is to start kneeling down. AS you do, place your arms on the inside of their knees and press downward. make sure you don’t do it forcefully or you’ll injure your opponent quite seriously. The lock places immense pressure on both the ankle and calf of the outside leg and

Key Points

Some key points to remember when you’re going for the Indian Death Lock. First of all, when you’re training the lock at first, try to go completely up. The further back you are, the safer you are from the lockdown. You could also go in a combat base type position, with the lockdown leg on your foot. Keep in mind that going low form the start might injure your training partner or opponent really quickly.

Also, if you do not want to end up back in the lockdown, or worse, make sure your head never gets past your opponent’s knee line. This means keeping an upright posture at all times, with your butt under your head.

Finally, remember that people will often let go of the move if you give them too much space. It will result with you out of the lockdown, but you won’t get a tap. Make sure that you do not go upright until you’ve placed a lot of pressure on figure four. For this, going as far back while keeping tripod pressure is key.

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