Since people are now training leg locks more, there is one position that has become quite popular for its effectiveness - The Ashi Garami.
Many of BJJ’s top athletes use this position to lock in foot locks on their opponents. Keep reading below as we break down everything about the position. We’re going to detail the history of Ashi Garami, how to get into the position, and various techniques from there.
What is The Ashi Garami?
The Ashi Garami is a position that was created in Judo as leg entanglement joint lock. It is considered as one of the four forbidden techniques – Kinshiwaza. But as BJJ developed, they have quickly adapted into modern Brazilian Jiu Jitsu due to its seeming effectiveness. In Japanese, the name roughly translates to leg entanglement. The position was popularized in BJJ by John Danaher, the head of the infamous Danaher Death Squad.
Danaher took this Judo position and made it the center of his leg lock system. This position gives you optimal control to do a variety of leg locks on your opponent. Many of the top No Gi grapplers in the world use this position like Gordon Ryan and Garry Tonon.
It is also the most basic leg lock position. When learning leg locks it would be best to learn this position first (after all – position over submission!).
Here is an old Judo structural of the Ashi Garami to show just how old this technique goes back:
How To Enter Into The Ashi Garami?
One question that probably comes to mind is “how do you enter Ashi Garami?” You can enter the position from pulling guard or from an open guard doing different techniques like arm drags. A basic Ashi Garami is when you wrap your leg around an opponent’s leg pinning it at an angle.
Your foot is pressed against their hip/stomach, while you’re controlling their foot with your arm wrapped around their ankle. At the same time, you have a butterfly hook with your other leg.
To get into the position, bring the knee of your butterfly hook leg inward clamping the opponent’s leg in place. You’re now in a great position to do ankle locks, heel hooks, and sweeps.
Outside The Ashi Garami
Really the only one difference between normal and outside Ashi Garami is that with the outside variation, your inside leg crosses over the opponent’s leg.
You can either cross your feet or put both on the opponent’s hip/stomach for control. It allows you to move and attack their leg at more angles.
MMA Leech has a fantastic video by Gustavo Gasperin. He goes over many of the most basic leg lock entries including Ashi Garami and outside Ashi Garami first.
De La Riva to The Ashi Garami Sweep/Single Leg X Sweep
Ashi Garami and single leg X are actually one and the same thing. There is a very effective and easy sweep you can do from this position.
Starting in De La Riva controlling their leg and you make space by kicking their far leg away. Make sure you kick at their knee and not their hip, because they can defend DLR and ankle lock you.
After you make space, bring your DLR hook to the inside and go to Ashi Garami. Pull yourself under the opponent, hook your leg around the opponent’s, and clamp your legs together.
Now for the sweep all you have to do is move your knees towards the outside of your opponent.This motion puts pressure on their leg, knocking them off balance, and putting them on their back.
Here is Elliot Marshal showing how to do this sweep with lots of details.
Ashi Garami Ankle Lock
This ankle lock can be done from standing or on the ground, but is more powerful on the ground. Wrap your arm the opponent’s leg with the blade of your wrist around their a chilles. The back of your triceps is on the top of their foot to get that bend when you crank on their ankle.
For the grip grab the hand of the arm holding the foot at the outside ridge of your hand. Or if you’re in Gi, you can grab your own lapel.
Here is a breakdown from Still Rolling that do a great job breaking down this technique.
Heel Hook From Ashi Garami
A heel hook from Ashi Harami is very simple. If you read our article on the heel hook it is the exact same steps. Turn into the opponent’s foot to hook their and turn towards your back shoulder.
Black belt Albert Serrano shows us how to do this along with a toe-hold and ankle lock in this video.
Key Details To Remember
Here are some key details to remember when you go into Ashi Garami.
If you are looking to get into learning leg locks and don’t know where to start - go with Ashi Garami. It is the most basic leg entanglement, where you can learn all of the basic fundamentals of leg locks.
You can also transfer to all of the other leg lock positions with ease from Ashi Garami. Once you learn this position, you have added a whole new facet to your game making you an extremely versatile grappler. A lot of old school grapplers will only learn how to attack the top half of the body – but that’s only half the battle! Learning the Ashi Garami position will give you the upper hand, when it comes down to it!