How To Do The Calf Slicer in BJJ

How To Do The Calf Slicer in BJJ

There are some pretty painful leg locks in Jiu-Jitsu. Ones that can torque your knees and put you on the shelf if you aren’t careful. But then there is another type of leg lock that is just excruciatingly painful to be put in – the calf slicer. This submission puts horrible, crushing pressure on your calf muscle – this one hurts!

Let’s break down how to do the calf slicer in BJJ. We’ll detail what the submission is and some of the various ways to lock it in.

The Calf Slicer

What Is A Calf Slicer?

The calf slicer is a compression lock that attacks the calf muscle. Every style of grappling has techniques for this submission with it primarily being used in no-gi Jiu-Jitsu.

Since it is a compression lock it is generally banned from being used in most tournaments. Although many BJJ schools still allow you to train them and tournaments put on by NAGA allow them. Be sure to check your tournament rules before you try it out – the last thing you want is to be disqualified for an Illegal move!

Basic Calf Slicer From Turtle

One of the most basic calf slicers to learn first comes from the turtle position. Usually, when your opponent is in turtle, you get your hooks and take them back. It’ll first look like you’re going for a back take, but you go the opposite way and attack their calf.

From the turtle position, you are going to hook your leg into your opponent’s near leg. Then you are going to turn away from them and grab the top of their foot with two hands.

Next, you are going to sit back and put your free foot on top of your foot that’s hooking your leg. As you pull their leg towards your chest, your foot pushes down on their leg.

The pressure is extremely painful and will result in an immediate tap.

Lockdown To Calf Slicer

The lockdown is a way to hold half guard, where you triangle your feet locking their leg in place. It limits their ability to move and prevents them from passing.

You hold the lock by crossing your outside leg across your opponent’s leg and locking it in a triangle. At the same time, your foot slides under their foot and lifts to put on lockdown.

Next, place your hands in your opponent's armpits and use these grips along with the lockdown to lift them. Once you do this, you bring your head through and come out on the side of your lockdown.

After you come through, switch your lockdown to a triangle. Then from there all you do is reach up and grab the calf slicer.

Here is renowned BJJ coach Tom DeBlass demonstrating this technique.

Calf Slicer From Half Mount

Sometimes when you're passing your opponent’s guard, they stop the pass and hook around your ankle to prevent the pass. This stops you from getting 4 points but does open up a calf slicer opportunity.

You’re going to go the opposite way of your leg that’s trapped and do a front roll. Once you roll through, you end up right in position for the calf slicer with your legs triangled around their leg.

Go right into the calf slicer and get the submission. Here is Dean Lister demonstrating this great technique.

Vaporizer From Stoner Control

This is a famous technique practiced with 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Schools. It’s a calf slicer option from the top position, where you have the opponent’s leg across your body and controlling the other.

This is good for when an opponent has good side control escapes and wants to go right for a submission. Some instructors will tell you that you need to roll, but it isn’t necessary and they could escape easier.

Instead, all you need is to turn, sit down next to your opponent, and the slicer is right there for you to take. The inventor of the technique Eddie Bravo breaks it down in this video.

Tips To Remember

Calf slicers are fairly simple to pull off, but you can’t miss a detail. Here are tips to remember when doing calf slicers in BJJ.

  • Triangle Your Legs: Most all calf slicers involve that you triangle your opponent’s leg for control. Without a good triangle, it won’t work.
  • Two Hands-On Their Foot: Always grab the top of the opponent’s foot with two hands. You grab the top of their foot at their toes because it’s bendable and easier to pull towards you.
  • Push-On Your Foot: To get the most pressure possible out of a calf slicer always use your free foot to push your other foot. This pushing motion as you pull your opponent’s foot towards you equals horrible pain.

How To Defend The Calf Slicer

  • Block Their Head: Block Your opponent’s head when they try to slide under you and grab the slicer. They can’t get the slicer if you’re blocking their head.
  • Block The Hooks: If you’re in turtle position, your opponent needs to get a hook if they want to do a calf slicer. So if you prevent them from getting their hooks altogether, then there is no calf slicer to worry about.
  • Anticipate The Roll: To get most calf slicers from a top position, you must do a forward roll. If you anticipate your opponent’s forward roll, then you can prevent a calf slicer.

Final Thoughts

The calf slicer is one of those submissions that many forget to defend. Then once they get put in this painful submission, they never want to let it happen again. It is very painful so be sure to watch your partner's facial expressions, they’ll be wincing in pain in no time and likely tap!

This submission is such a diverse submission that you can hit from almost any position. Once you learn calf slicers, they will always be in your back pocket to surprise unsuspecting opponents.