On April 16, 2016 Professor Rob Biernacki from Island Top Team presented a three hour workshop to students of all affiliations at Vancouver Island Brazilian Jiujitsu. The workshop content was leglocks, a polarizing subject in Brazilian Jiujitsu. Many would argue that the use of leglocks is a way to circumvent "good" jiujitsu as a shortcut to a "cheap" victory. Many schools do not allow the use of IBJJF illegal leg attacks while rolling.
Professor Rob has been on a campaign to change these perceptions of leg attacks. He is of the opinion that leg locks in and of themselves are no more or less dangerous than an armlock or a kimura, in that these techniques in the hands of an untrained individual can have tremendous long term effects. He believes that treating leglocks as if they don't exist will allow poor training and improper use of the techniques to propagate. He believes that instead of being a last ditch technique, that when fails results in your guard being passed or when applied correctly results in utter decimation of the fragile knee joint, leglocks revolve first around a dominant establishment of position and then attacks.
As a school, we tend to avoid "illegal" leg lock attacks. We lean closer to the opinion that leg locks are disproportionately dangerous techniques. Professor Rob came to Van Isle BJJ to change our perception. After having spent time with one of the best leg lockers on the planet earth, Eddie Cummings, professor Rob believed that with even a basic workshop revolving primarily around two of arguably the least effective leg lock positions he could completely change our opinion on the use of training with leg locks. Eddie Cummings is one of pioneer John Danaher's most innovative students and had generously tutored Professor Rob and imparted much proprietary knowledge, of which Rob shared very little with us, but enough to make a great impact in our understanding of the leg lock game.
Rob focused principally on the two different levers of the lower leg; the foot and the tibia. He explained how important the wedge above the knee is when isolating the lever of the foot. In this way even a heel hook can be applied relatively safely, if taught properly, as the pain indicator is first felt in the ankle, not the knee. It is only when the understanding of the levers and the wedge is not present, that the knee is endangered. He showed two different control positions revolving around the knee wedge and how they were interrelated. He relayed that this is not necessarily knowledge only possessed by Eddie Cummings and the "Danaher Death Squad" and that that kind of knowledge is still relatively unknown and too advanced for this introductory workshop. He ended the workshop by explaining that we had only scratched the surface and there is a deep pool of knowledge yet to be unexplored.
After the workshop I have spent some time considering my own perspective on the leg locks and why and where my bias against them stem from. I believe that the bias against them come principally from a lack of understanding. Rob has also changed my opinion to some extent on leg lockers. Previously I did not believe the hype around Eddie Cummings and the now infamous John Danaher, and had written them off as no gi self marketers who, if were to don a gi, would get slaughtered by even the middle class of the elite gi grapplers. Although their ability in the gi is still relatively unknown to me, I have to say that I have now got a deeper appreciation of their knowledge and abilities. I would say that if anything, Rob has made me more of a fan of them and their skills.
Professor Rob has indicated that he would like to sponsor an event in the future in which Eddie Cummings comes to the Pacific North West. We would be very happy to support any kind of event like this.
Keep it playful,