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High Percentage Kneebars


It’s no secret that leg locks are now ‘in’ across the BJJ world.

Once despised as cheap, almost dirty techniques used by those without BJJ technical proficiency, leg locks of all varieties are now a staple in BJJ starting as early as blue belt or even white belt.

Kneebars are an exceptionally powerful leg attack and are allowed in both Gi and No Gi, depending on your level.

Most kneebar finishes look similar. However, the true leg lock mastery comes from being able to enter the kneebar entanglement from a variety of positions.

Leglock techniques depend first and foremost on getting to the proper position. As such, if you are serious about finishing kneebars, you need to study the entries.

In James Puopolo’s High Percentage Kneebar Course, Rafael Lovato Jr. Black Belt James Puopolo shows off his highest percentage kneebar entries and the most effective methods to finish these attacks.

We’ve broken down the three of his top kneebar entries to give you a sneak peek into this amazing course.

Now let’s dive in!

Back step to knee bar finish

The first lesson is the backstep to knee bar. This series begins with you standing up and preparing to pass your opponent’s open guard.

To perform the back step to knee bar finish:

  1. Begin passing your opponent’s open guard from standing
  2. Step your right foot inside your opponent’s leg and position your shin behind their left hamstring. Keep a strong knee angle to avoid your opponent getting De La Riva guard.
  3. Block your opponent’s left hip with your right hand.
  4. Cross your right knee over your opponent’s right thigh to enter the knee slice position.
  5. Your opponent pummels in a left underhook and comes to their right hip for a strong half guard position.
  6. Lean forward and post your hands on the mat. Immediately backstep your left leg all the way to the left side of your opponent. You are now facing their legs with their left leg between your legs.
  7. As you fall back, underhook the opponent’s left leg with your left arm and hug your own thigh to secure the position.
  8. Your opponent crosses their feet to defend the knee bar.
  9. Figure 4 your own legs with your left leg over your right shin.
  10. Post your right hand and adjust your hips so you are upright as opposed to being slightly on the right hip.
  11. Cup your opponent’s right foot with your right hand and pull it towards you to break the integrity of the lock.
  12. Fall to your left side and extend your legs to form an ‘X’ that pinches the opponent’s leg between your legs.
  13. Begin sliding your leg arm up towards the opponent’s left heel.
  14. As you slide your left arm up, weave your right arm over your left arm and cup your opponent’s heel, then establish a rear naked choke grip by cupping your right bicep with your left hand. Keep your head on the bottom side of your opponent’s left foot.
  15. Arch your back and extend your hips to finish the submission.

Slide Over Setup

Let’s say that instead of turning into you with a left underhook and trying to wrestle, the opponent enters deep half guard.

This technique begins in your opponent’s half guard.

  1. Begin in your opponent’s half guard with them having a knee shield.
  2. Your opponent bails on the knee shield to shoot a left underhook before rolling backwards to enter the deep half guard position.
  3. Keep your right leg high as you slide your left leg up to your opponent’s left leg.
  4. Underhook their left leg and pull it to your chest.
  5. The opponent locks their legs with a figure 4.
  6. At this point, complete the submission the same way as the first technique flow.

Double leg sit to butterfly to kneebar

This technique comes off the double leg takedown shot.

You are anticipating the opponent’s sprawl. This technique works off the sprawl, and you can strategically decide whether to enter the butterfly guard or attempt to finish the takedown.

For the purposes of this series, you will enter butterfly guard to target the kneebar finish.

  1. Begin in a wrestling stance and match your opponent’s position to set up your double leg shot.
  2. Take a penetration step and change levels to shoot.
  3. As your drive into your opponent, they sprawl.
  4. Sit into a butterfly guard under your opponent’s sprawl.
  5. Grab you opponent’s Gi pants at the right thigh
  6. Make a reverse X with your legs and lift your opponent up until they base out with their hands.
  7. Keep your opponent’s hips pushed up and slide your left leg all the way under your opponent. This puts your legs in the proper position to attack your opponent’s left leg.
  8. As your opponent falls back, quickly underhook their left leg with your left arm and finish the submission as you did in the previous techniques.

The Perfect Leglock To Start Experimenting With

Whether you want an ADCC championship belt or just want a BJJ game that isn’t stuck in the 80’s, you need to learn your leglock game.

Kneebars are an excellent leglock because they are legal in most competition formats, relatively safe, and also transition well into other leg attack positions such as honey-hole and submissions like the feared inside heel hook.

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