Leg locks are a controversial topic in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Practitioners are often told that leg locks are dangerous – causing you to turn your back, which is not recommended and should only be practiced by experienced martial artists. Indeed, leg locks were considered ‘dirty’ in Brazil until relatively recently.
Those who practice leg locks find that assumptions about the maneuvers are typically incorrect. For example, leg locks are no more dangerous than other forms of submission and schools that allow leg locks seldom report any injuries. The knee is a far bigger joint than the elbow and while it can certainly be broken, it is more difficult to break the knee or ankle joint than the elbow or shoulder joint.
Leg Locks Are for Experienced BJJ Practitioners
The reason that only experienced BJJ practitioners perform leg locks is because lower level students are usually poor at executing them. For example, a brown belt student often performs leg locks at a blue belt level.
One of the great things about leg locks is that you attack all areas of the body, your attack combinations get longer and you have a lot more options when it comes to launching a counter attack. While there are some ‘dirty’ leg locks that should not be used, many leg locks are perfectly okay and are a big part of the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.