Video: Garry Tonon Teaches the Mechanics of the Inside Heel Hook

Garry Tonon is widely considered the most exciting grappler in all of jiu-jitsu. He is known for his high-paced, all-offense approach, but that doesn’t mean he’s lacking. A black belt under Tom DeBlass and a top Danaher Death Squad representative, Tonon is an expert leg locker. In the video below, we see an excerpt from Tonon’s BJJ Fanatics instructional, “Breaking Legs and Breaking Hearts,” in which Tonon details the mechanics behind a perfect inside (or “inverted”) heel hook.

“This is a far more powerful submission, whether we’re in a 50/50 situation, a cross ashi-garami, it doesn’t make a difference… it’s much easier, my training partner’s leg is much more pliable as it gets turned [inside] as opposed to when it gets turned [outside],” says Tonon.

Because the inside heel hook is so powerful, taps can often come deceptively easy. Tonon warns against this: just because you’re getting taps in the training room with heel hooks, that doesn’t mean your mechanics are perfect. Mechanics always come first. Tonon highlights several key concepts behind a strong inside heel hook, such as the placement of the foot, the type of pressure on the knee, and, importantly, how to finish the lock with devastating breaking power.

“Get your ass off the mat,” says Tonon. “You really have to lift your butt and hips off the floor. When you lay on the mat… there’s just not nearly as much pressure on your training partner’s knee as there could be.”

An original member of the Danaher Death Squad, Garry Tonon has been a main player in the no-gi jiu-jitsu and submission grappling scene for years. He is a multiple-time EBI champion, an ADCC veteran and medalist, and an IBJJF no-gi Pans champion. He holds notable wins over Dante Leon, Davi Ramos, and Renato Canuto, among many others.

In MMA, Tonon is an undefeated 6-0, with all of his fights taking place under the ONE Championship banner. He most recently fought in December 2020, earning a unanimous decision over the much more experienced Koyomi Matsushima

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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