6 Jul 2016

Review: Footlock Mastery by Oli Geddes

Oli Geddes is a prolific competitor amassing over 600 tournament matches. Many of his submissions have come via straight ankle lock. Here in this one hour instructional, Oli presents a game plan based around the straight ankle lock. It is an easy to follow system where the straight ankle is not only a submission finish, but a starting point with which to transition to numerous other techniques and positions. This video set is based strictly on IBJJF legal techniques from white belt and above. For beginners, it's a very good, detailed look at an often neglected submission technique. More advanced players will enjoy the positions Oli shows - including the 50/50, outside hook ankle lock and the overhook x-guard.

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Price £24.99

Oli Geddes is a British BJJ black belt under Roger Gracie. He is also one of the most prolific competitors on the scene with over 600 matches to his name. Among his many achievements, he is 2 X Euros champion, Purple, Pan Nogi silver purple, pans bronze purple, 2 X abu Dhabi European trials winner, bronze black belt pans masters. Abu Dhabi European trials winner at purple brown black and brown black. Many of Oli's submission wins have come about by straight ankle lock, a finish he says he first started using as a blue belt because he did not have much of a top game. Fast forward to Oli as an experienced black belt competitor and you have here a straight ankle lock game plan that has been refined over hundreds of matches and years of experience.

The quick video below shows Oli in competition action using his overhead sweep into straight ankle lock to devastating effect. You can watch near enough all of Oli's matches over on his YouTube channel.

Chapter Listing and brief summary
The entire set consists of 38 chapters.
  • Introduction - Oli explains the origin of his straight ankle lock game and how he worked out ways to enter the straight ankle in order to not only finish, but to sweep or transition to other positions.
  • The ankle lock as a position (0.55) - rundown of how to hold the basic straight ankle lock position.
  • The importance of the shell (2:09) - Oli explains how to prevent the opponent from invading your space and destroying your straight ankle position.
  • Ankle lock finishing theory (3:11) - grip placement, leg position, angle of attack
  • Ankle lock, turning to the knees finish (6:23) - how to move into a belly down version of the lock
  • Turning to the knees to top position (9:48) - very useful tip to transition to a better position
  • Ankle lock to crossover leg drag (11:00) - transition from leg lock to leg drag in readiness to pass the guard, very useful if you lose the leg lock position
  • interlude with commentary on why straight ankle locks are so good to use (13:04)
  • Outside hook ankle lock - theory and finish (13:43) - nice variation based on you placing your legs in a different position which creates better outward force.
  • Outside hook ankle lock, turning to the knees (16:12) - nice belly down straight ankle finish, I found this more intuitive to do than the one at 6:23.
  • 50/50 theory and use (17:12) - Oli likes the 50/50 because he can set up straight ankles nicely from here.
  • Breaking the defensive 50/50 with the knee push (18:56) - straight forward way to open up opponent's legs if he locks them together.
  • 50/50, basic ankle lock finish (20:19) - ankle locking the near leg
  • 50/50 calf crush (22:29) - cheeky little submission if your straight ankle slips too high up the leg.
  • 50/50 Reverse grip finish (24:32) - a really tight way to finish the lock
  • 50/50 Outside leg finish (25:38) - a surprise attack on the outside foot
  • Standing ankle lock, control theory (27:35) - when the opponent stand up over you, that's the perfect entry point for the straight ankle. Here, Oli engages in a single leg x-guard.
  • Standing ankle lock, cross sweep (28:33) - a more effective way to topple the opponent from single leg Xguard
  • Standing ankle lock, double ankle sweep (30:10) - similar to previous but grabbing both ankles
  • Standing outside hook, tripod sweep (31:21) - very powerful sweep, though a bit more complex to set up.
  • Standing outside hook, overhead sweep (33:14) - 
  • Overhook x-guard, transition theory (34:35) - transition from single leg X to regular x-guard but you have your arm overhooking the standing leg, not the usual underhook.
  • Overhook x-guard, angle change to ankle lock topple (36:13) - 
  • Overhook x-guard, tripod sweep (37:22) - simple but effective sweep
  • Overhook x-guard waiter sweep (39:29) - cool sweep if your x-guard position can't extend very far
  • Overhook x-guard, getting the near sleeve (41:00) - nice tips regarrd balance and weight distribution in this position
  • Overhook x-guard, near sleeve single leg stand up (43:15) - follow on from the previous chapter
  • Overhook x-guard, near sleeve overhead sweep (45:50) - nice showy offy technique reliant on opponent pushing back into you
  • Overhook x-guard, far sleeve drag down sweep (47:09) - not as fancy a sweep as previous, but very solid and secure once you grab that far sleeve
  • Entering footlock from the knees (49:16) - this is the entry method Oli uses in the tournament footage above
  • Entering the footlock from shin to shin (51:14) - 
  • Entering footlock from half guard / 93 guard (53:23) - a simple route to straight ankle from this very open type of half guard.
  • Entering the footlock from spider guard (54:30) - Oli transitions from spider to overhook x-guard
  • Entering the footlock - Leandro Lo sweep from spider guard (56:27) - Learn more about Leandro Lo from BJJ Scout
  • Entering the footlock, basic entry from the top position (58:21) - When you encounter a stubborn guard player, being able to footlock from the top position is a handy weapon.
  • Ankle lock defence, moving to top position (61:14) - if you know attack, you must also know defence
  • Ankle lock defence, the scoot (62:47) - 
  • Standing ankle lock defence, back step to side control (65:25) - using the back step to end up in knee on belly, also useful to pass X-guard position.
  • Ends

Standard straight ankle lock

Production notes
The entire video zips along at a brisk pace. Oli talks while he is showing the move, sometimes he'll repeat the move one more time, usually though the video moves immediately along to the next chapter. There are no boring slow motion repeats nor are there any additional camera tricks like boxed insets or multi-directional views etc, it is shot pretty much straight all the way through.

For the majority of the time, the viewing angle is perfectly fine. Sometimes while Oli is talking, the body part in question is actually hidden from view and you have to wait a bit before the cameraman catches up as he pans around or cuts in to zoom - not a big deal.

Sound is perfect, lighting is fantastic and the overall production is very professional.

Rolling practice
I've only had this video for a few days prior to its official release but in that time I was able to try out a couple of techniques that I hadn't used before. Personally I love using the straight ankle lock a lot when sparring, but a common problem is when I lose the position. Oli's chapters on dealing with this were of immediate benefit to me. I also like his explanation of the 50/50 position and how he uses it to work in the straight ankle lock. The calf crush Oli shows looks devilshly wicked but I found it does require a fair bit of precision to execute correctly. I immediately benefited from his cool tip on how to sweep from the single leg X position.

One set of techniques I especially liked were the sequences based around the outside hook ankle (photo below). This is a new(ish) position for me but already I can see it being added to my game. It's just so useful to swap between outside hook and regular leg positions when holding the straight ankle, this giving me a lot more options.

Outside hook ankle lock variation
I also enjoyed his selection of techniques based around the overhook x-guard. I had not known that this could be as effective a position as the regular (underhooking) x-guard. I often end up in the overhook position and instantly think, oh this is a crappy X-guard let me try to change it, but Oli shows that in fact, it's a great place to set up the straight ankle and other cool stuff.

This set brings together a game plan centred around the straight ankle lock position as a platform to submit, sweep or transition to other positions. In many respects, it is better to view this set not as a way to get a submission, but as a platform to do a whole variety of things. It could even be renamed, the straight footlock guard.

It is worth knowing that the techniques here are ones that have been honed and successfully used by Oli over hundreds of matches against high level opposition. As a primer for the straight ankle lock itself, it's vital viewing for beginners. Higher level practitioners will also find a lot to use here: especially noteworthy is the overhook x-guard - a position that is rarely covered in depth on other instructionals.

What this set is not, however, is a detailed theoretical analysis of positional work. The 50/50, single leg X and X-guard are positions with a rich array of moves and I recommend viewing instructionals by Ryan Hall and Gianni Grippo as a complement to Oli's set here. There also is an absence of other leg attack techniques, such as the toe hold, knee bar, estima lock, heel hook etc etc. If you require a set with a wider spectrum of submissions, Legal Leglocks by Roli Delgado is a superb introduction. That being said, using the straight ankle lock hold as a singular focal point with which to launch attack, defence, sweeps and transitions makes Oli’s set highly appealing, especially for guard players.

Running at around 67 minutes it is a tightly edited package that is loaded with techniques and absolutely zero filler. I consider it excellent value for money.


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Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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