Reilly Bodycomb is a name that is not unknown to grapplers, but it is not one of the names that Jiu-Jitsu folks know by heart. As a grappler, Reilly is highly accomplished and has a very well rounded game. The Sambo expert is a well-rounded grappler, also boasting a BJJ black belt since 2017. He comes from a Sambo / Combat Sambo background and also has vast MMA experience. It is precisely his grappling background, both with and without the Gi that makes his knowledge precious to Jiu-Jitsu. While all of his grappling knowledge, particularly that of takedowns is really deep, there’s one aspect of grappling that Reilly specializes in like few others – leg locks. In late 2018, a Reilly Bodycomb DVD named “Mastering Ankle Locks” became available and it is a mandatory instructional for anyone involved in grappling, period.
For those that might be aware of Bodycomb, leg locking is the first thing that comes to mind. Reilly was actually known as one of the best leg lockers on the scene before Danaher’s Death Squad came along. Yet, when he came up against Eddie Cummings, he lost, unsurprisingly via a leg lock. The thing about Reilly is that he is a very smart and well-articulated grappler. The loss to Cummigns came at Polaris 2 in 2015. Since then, Reilly’s game has skyrocketed. he took a lot of the modern leg locking system that revolutionized BJJ and merged it with his own Sambo system. The result is one of the most efficient leg locking systems, particularly when attacking from the top position. “Mastering Ankle Locks” is a Reilly Bodycomb DVD that focuses on only one part of his system, dissecting it to the smallest movement.
Reilly Bodycomb – A Pioneer Leg-Locker
Reilly Bodycomb is a very entertaining grappler, both as a competitor and a teacher. Originally a Sambo competitor, he now has his mind set on submission grappling. Actually, he has been doing it for about a decade now. The Texas native has had a very entertaining journey through the world of martial arts so far and is definitely very different to your garden variety BJJ black belt instructor.
Just like most people passionately involved in grappling today, Reilly started off by training karate at quite a young age. it didn’t really stick too much though, as he discovered Sambo soon, and with it, his true passion. He even has “Sambo” tattooed on his leg in its original Cyrillic form. At 24, Reilly got the chance to compete at the FIAS Sambo World Championship in Russia. This was way back in 2008 and Reilly’s team included Sambo greats like Vladislav Koulikov and Stephen Koepfer. Koepfer was actually the coach, which says a lot about Reilly’s submission background. The Sambo world championship didn’t go as planned for Reilly but it did give him a chance to connect with people like Fedor Emelianenko and Alexander Barakov.
After his Sambo exploits, Reilly decided to give submission grappling more attention. He soon became one of the most fearsome submission grapplers, mainly due to his leg locking prowess. At the time, nobody knew how to defend them, and Reilly’s Sambo experience made him unbeatable. Later on, Reilly got back to Sambo as well for a very successful competitive career. Today, Reilly is a coach at Rdojo as part of Bay Jiu-Jitsu in Berkley, CA. “Mastering Ankle Locks” is just the last in a long list of Reilly Bodycomb DVD instructionals on the subject of Sambo leg locks. It is, however, the most complete one so far.
Sambo Ankle Locks
Sambo is a martial art with Russian roots, originally developed for military needs. In translation, it is an abbreviation of “self-defense without weapons. Modern-day Sambo includes two main branches, plus the military branch that’s not part of civilian classes. The two Sambo styles you can learn and compete in today are combat Sambo and sports Sambo. The first one is much like MMA, with kicks, punches and grappling taking place, while sports Sambo is the pure grappling variation.
Sambo uniforms include wrestling style shoes, shorts, and a Gi jacket. The color of uniforms is either blue or red. In terms of rules, Sambo has a lot of differences to BJJ and other grappling martial arts. Leg locks are allowed, for example, at all levels. On the other hand, chokes are considered much more dangerous and are strictly controlled. Sports Sambo’s greatest contributions to submission grappling lie in takedowns and leg locks, at least at present. It is actually the combination of both that makes Sambo practitioners like Reilly extremely successful in submission grappling. Just to give you a feel for how important Sambo is to the modern leg lock gem consider this: the position we know today as Inside Sankaku or Honeyhole is actually a Sambo position, known there as “The Saddle”.
The beauty about Sambo is that it translates perfectly to both Gi and No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu. The Gi jacket provides grip variations for both takedowns and leg locks that work perfectly for BJJ. On top of that, the gi-less lower body means you can perfect finishing all kinds of leg locks in a No-Gi environment. The best of both world really. Sambo’s leg looking techniques toolbox is so large, the latest Reilly Bodycomb DVD is all about one of them mastering the most basic one- ankle locks.
Reilly Bodycomb DVD Review
On that note, let’s take a look at what this modern day leg looking Reilly Bodycomb DVD has to offer. As it is apparent by the title “Mastering Ankle Locks”, this DVD provides you with an in-depth analysis of ankle locks. The real value of this instructional lies in its simplicity – Reilly delivers extremely effective techniques that are both legal at every level, and work at every level. Another huge thing is that Reilly sets ankle locks up from everywhere, but is really a wizard when it comes to top position entries. You’ll learn a lot of ways to deal with people’s guards via ankle locks in this one.
As a teacher, Reilly Bodycomb is meticulous, well-spoken and has a great way of delivering information. On top of everything, he has not only theoretical knowledge but also vast competitive experience. When it comes to designing and ankle lock-based system, you won’t find anyone better than Reilly. The DVD is technically crisp, with no issues whatsoever. The content is divided into chapters, with a total of 18, each working on a different part of the system. In essence, there are three main parts to this DVD, based on the position of the leg you’re attacking and your goals. The first two are attacking systems, while the last part deals with ways to escape ankle locks.
OUTSIDE POSITION ANKLE LOCKS
The outside position, as Reilly refers to it, is actually what we consider as straight Ashi Garami In BJJ. In order to bring more context to it, we can also explain it as a Single Leg X guard, on the ground. The first portion of this Reilly Bodycomb DVD is all about setting up ankle locks from this outside position, which is something most of us already do. The level of detail here, though, is unbelievable.
It all starts with going over all the possible ways you can stand. This is the core concept as it refers to both ways you can escape, and the moves an opponent defending your ankle locks will look to do. There are three methods that Reilly goes over. They include the technical stand up, the penetration step and the push-up.
From there, Reilly goes straight into the action, demonstrating the low side outside position. HE offers a top position entry and explains the positional mechanics. He also goes over the ankle lock from the low side outside in great detail. The best thing about this is that Reilly doesn’t stop at the ankle lock and explore an unrelated technique as he goes on. After the initial low side outside ankle lock, he offers follow-ups in the form of tripod ankle locks. He even goes as far as offering a way into the Saddle in the “compression to top rock” chapter. Reilly also covers the high side outside position with a bunch of options from there.
INSIDE POSITION ANKLE LOCKS
The inside position in Reilly’s leg locking system is the same as cross Ashi Garami. In essence, it is the Single Leg X guard on the ground, but this time, the opponent’s leg is across our body. The first thing Reilly goes over is what the inside position is and how ankle locks work from there. The thing with the inside position is that the mechanics of the ankle lock are really different compared to the outside position.
Again you have the high and low side positions to work from. By high and low Reilly refers to where the opponent’s leg is in relation to the floor. If the leg is on the floor (beneath you) it is on your low side. Conversely, if it is on top of you, it is on the high side. In this part of the Reilly Bodycomb DVD, there are also some very neat strategies for attacking the turtle with leg locks.
A key part of the instructional is that Reilly cores all possible leg locking positions. This means, that while the ankle lock attacks he’s demonstrating are perfectly legal under IBJJF rules, some of the positions are not. There are outright knee reaping positions that are certain to get you DQed. However, there are also awesome ankle locks from allowed positions, including The Saddle.
LEG LOCK DEFENSE AND ESCAPES
The final part of the DVD goes over the ways in which you can deal with ankle locks. namely, her Reilly teaches how to defend and escape leg locks as well as counter them. He also shows you what to do when ankle locks are not working. We’ll start with the last portion here, which are options from failed ankle locks. Instead of bailing completely, Reilly likes to use the superior position to sweep the opponent. In the case of bottom side attacks, this brings you a huge advantage. In case you started from the top, it allows you to go back for more attacks, or switch to passes.
When it comes to defense, the three ways to stand are the core principle in this Reilly Bodycomb DVD. As long as you know how, and more importantly when, to get up, you’ll find ankle lock escapes easy. Reilly also explains which escape using under different circumstances. This gives you options to escape all leg locking positions before there’s any real risk of submission.