Footlock Friday – Robert Drysdale Kneebar Excellence

Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of leg locks. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – find more of his leg lock articles and resources at

The name ‘Drysdale’ is one that holds a lot of weight in both the worlds of Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A winner in Abu-Dhabi and in the World Championships, along with other countless accolades, the 32 year old black belt from Utah has done all that and then some in grappling. He has also crossed over in MMA where he holds a 5-0 record, all by way of submission, and has trained stars such as Forrest Griffin, Dan Hardy and Frank Mir.
Even with those cool accolades in the MMA world, Drysdale is much more well known for his submission game in BJJ. I just stumbled across a knee bar breakdown video from him that warranted its own blog entry.
Similar to the write up I did on Ken Primola’s foot lock, this nifty knee bar from world renowned BJJ player, Robert Drysdale, is pretty darn cool! While it seems rather simple in theory, this move can be pretty difficult to execute if the athlete doesn’t have the proper elasticity in their muscles.

The Setup
Most leg-locks that I’ve been looking at lately have been from the similar positon; looking to pass guard from a standing position. This was a little different in the sense that Drysdale was working off of his back.
The scenario was that your opponenet has passed your guard and is in side control with the knee-on-belly approach. Here’s the breakdown:
Whichever side he is on, take that arm and begin to push his plant leg outwards.
With some space being created, spin under him (between his legs) so that your head is now behind him.
From here, the arm that was used to push the leg comes into play when you clamp your armpit down on his heel so he can’t move.
In the same motion, whichever leg was passed (in this case the right), will flare up. The other leg laces underneath his body, and comes out near his buttocks.
From here, the legs are locked in a triangle and with your free hand, pulling his foot off of the mat, causing him to tumble forward.
With his ankle trapped in your armpit, the triangle locked out around his leg, and with him lying on the mat, all it takes is a little lean backwards to get the tap.

What Has To Work In Synergy
There are two big factors while watching this that I noticed. The first is simple, you must have flexible limbs in order for this to work! The vital part of the move is swining your leg under his while spinning. If the leg gets caught half way, then it’s you that can easily get hit with a leg lock! Mack sure you’re nice and limber in order to do this!
The second was speed. When you watch the video, you’ll see that there is a lot of moving parts in this move, despite being somewhat easy to grasp. Being efficient enough to make this move is what is key, as it will make or break the outcome.

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