Learn Marcelo Garcia’s Secret to Defending Leg Locks

Marcelo Garcia is one of the most sought-after and respected Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructors in the world. In a recent video, Garcia shared his approach to defending leg locks.

As with any other aspect of jiu-jitsu, Garcia starts with ensuring he is in a safe position. If he approaches a seated opponent from his feet, he is quick to retract his legs when his opponent reaches for them. If he is on top and his opponent spins under to attack his legs, he escapes with urgency. In general, Garcia’s approach is rooted in the idea of first respecting the leg attack, and second, knowing which direction to escape. With those fundamental principles in mind, Garcia has simplified a system for blocking and countering leg attacks.

Garcia’s accomplishments as a grappler are too many to list here; he is one of the best pound-for-pound competitors of all time. Most notably, he is a multiple-time ADCC and IBJJF world champion. His x-guard, arm drags, and guillotines revolutionized the jiu-jitsu metagame, and countless modern grapplers still mimic Garcia’s approach.

Garcia has been a prolific instructor, as well. A number of his black belts are today among the best competitors in the world. Those black belts include Mansher Khera, Gianni Grippo, Dillon Danis (who is no longer associated with the team), Marcos Tinoco, and ADCC champion Matheus Diniz (the uke in the video above).

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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