Footlock Friday – Ryron Gracie Open Guard Footlock

Ryron Gracie-Open Guard Footlock

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

Surprise! I know you weren’t expecting a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu article to be about a member of the Gracie clan, were you!? Enter: Ryron Gracie. The grandson of the legendary, scratch that, the MYTHICAL Helio Gracie, and eldest son of Rorion Gracie, Ryron has done well for himself and has been an admirable flag carrier of the Gracie name.

A respected name in BJJ, his clout also carries over in the world of Mixed Martial Arts as Fuel TV will actually call upon Ryron for segments breaking down submissions victories inside the UFC and give the fans insight as to how the specific move came about.

Can’t Pass The Guard? No Problem!

Recently I stumbled upon a video of Ryron’s discussing how to deal with a pesky guard. It began of Ryron hovering over his opponent while isolating one foot. His approach was to place his opponents foot, in this case the right foot, under his left thigh. Using this as a trap, he noted how the opponent will pull their foot out and place it on your thigh in hopes of pushing you back. In reality, all they did was take the bait.

Once this has been done, as Ryron puts it, you want to “wrap the foot and hug the knee.” Locking the leg in place, you then take a slight step outwards with your left leg, and bring your right leg (bent at the knee) to replace your left leg, and then sit down. The right leg allows for stability in the move and keeps your balance.

From here, the left leg clamps on to the hip; the heel also acts as a LEGO piece with the hip joint, sinking right into place. At this point you want to lock your wrist and pinch your knees, making sure there is no chance that he can wiggle his way free. Once this is accomplished, you then lean off to the side onto his foot.

“My lower shoulder arches back and my chest faces the ground,” Gracie explains. “It rotates-it rolls his foot-instead of apply pressure straight back, I’m rolling his ankle.”

“The Most Common Mistake…”

In the clip, Ryron is adamant about one thing: don’t apply the lock near the calf! The reason for this is while it may get 50% of the people you apply it on, it won’t get them all. As you squeeze and squeeze, the opponent is just laying there letting you exert energy.

“When I’m applying this, I slide and CLICK: let it [his wrist] catch it right on the heel.” After showing the two distinct differences between the calf and heel, it’s quite obvious that there is a serious level-change of pain.

An Interesting Ryron Fun-Fact

Ok so this has nothing to do with the clip, but I found it amusing. As many know, Ryron’s father, Rorion, played a vital role in the very first UFC event. He was supposed to be the one who fought it in, but it ended up being Royce. Anyway, between each fight at UFC 1, a young Ryron was sent into the cage to clean the bloody mats. It should be no surprise that this wasn’t met with much fan fare and he was relieved of these duties for UFC 2.

So there you have it! Next time you’re rolling or in a match and you can’t crack the code of your opponents guard, slap this bad boy on them and make them think twice! Also, you have a nice little tidbit of Gracie trivia in your back pocket to use when needed!

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