MMA 101 – Mastering the Heel Hook

Submission wizard Mario Sperry is a reckoning force on the mat. The grappling legend is an ADCC World Champion and PRIDE veteran. Now, Sperry is the head coach of Team Blackzilian, which boasts a stable of top fighters, including Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem, Vitor Belfort, and Eddie Alvarez. With the help of assistant coach and BJJ black belt Flavius Virginio da Silva, Sperry shows readers how to set up and finish his heel hook submission. Keep in mind that this is a dangerous submission to practice, so don’t torque with any force or you could cause knee or ankle damage.

1) Mario is on top, looking to ground-and-pound Flavius, who is using a knee shield (a form of half-guard) and protecting his face. By using a knee shield, Flavius can keep Mario at a distance and avoid getting hit with heavy strikes.

2) Mario changes attacks and begins controlling Flavius’ top (left) leg with his arms.

3) Mario pressures Flavius’ top leg with his chest, driving it toward Flavius’ head and closing the distance.

4) Mario drops his left knee to the ground, while using a windshield-wiper motion to pin Flavius’ bottom (right) leg to the mat with his shin.

5) Having fully controlled Flavius’ top and bottom legs, Mario is now ready to attack the top leg. Mario lays back to his left side, while pinching his knees together. Flavius’ top leg is now under Mario’s right arm.

6) Mario brings his right leg over Flavius’ top leg, which keeps Flavius’s leg bent and prohibits him from rolling.

7) Mario reaches back with his right arm and hooks Flavius’ heel in the crook of his elbow. It is important that Mario keeps Flavius’ foot trapped in his armpit.

8) To finish the submission, Mario grips his palms together and applies pressure to Flavius’ knee by twisting back and to the left.

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