Learn From the Master: Dean Lister Gives Heel Hook Finishing Details

When it comes to leg locks, Dean Lister is the proverbial godfather. In a recent video released by Jiu Jitsu X, Lister shares the details of finishing heel hooks that he used to become the sport’s first and most dangerous leg locking specialist.

The video is a segment of Lister’s new leg lock instructional that is available on Jiu Jitsu X.

Like everything else in jiu-jitsu, the devil is in the details. The keys to finishing a heel hook, says Lister, are proper hand placement and proper turning on the leg. Rather than gripping the heel deep in the crease of the elbow, Lister is careful to place the exposed heel on his wrist. And instead of simply turning his body to finish the submission, he leans back and then turns slightly to achieve proper breaking mechanics.

Lister is often cited by John Danaher as his inspiration for exploring leg locks. He is a two-time ADCC champion, winning the absolute division in 2003 and his weight class in 2011. It was Lister’s 2011 ADCC run that solidified him as a leg locking legend when he earned three straight victories by leg lock, including back-to-back heel hooks against Rodolfo Viera and Joao Assis.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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