Don't push me off, if I asked a very dumb or plainly stupid question. All I know about martial arts can be written on a matchbox.

I was just wondering if there is any martial art (grappling) form where they use legs for locking, chocking or disabling the opponent? Every time I watch a match of Kabaddi it gets me started if there is a formal martial arts form that incorporates on using legs for grappling. I am not including Kabaddi in martial arts because it is more of a sport than a fighting form.

4 Answers 4


Some judo, Sambo, and BJJ players specialize in jumping into chokes or armlocks from standing. It's called a "flying armbar" or "flying triangle". See this example from MMA, this example from BJJ/submission grappling or this example from judo.


One of the first things that came to my mind, even before Brazilian Jiujitsu, was Harimau Pencak Silat. It can be seen in this video:


The Harimau ("Black Triangle") style of Silat is modeled on the movements of the tiger and has a specialization in ground fighting. One of its primary strategies is to take someone to the ground and finish them off there with bone breaks, submissions, and strikes. It is also taught defensively, as in how to rapidly recover from falls to the ground when your opponent is either standing or is also on the ground with you.

Grappling in Harimau targets the opponent's legs as well as making heavy use of the practitioner's legs in many sneaky, off-angle ways. There are leg and arm bars. There are chokes. There are heel hooks. There are throws. There are leg scissors, single and double arm take-downs, lots of different kinds of sweeps, and other take-downs, often done from an inferior position. All kinds of interesting things done in a highly stylized manner.

I don't consider this form of ground fighting to be "superior" to Brazilian Jiujitsu's ground fighting system, but it certainly is interesting and worth looking into if you haven't already. The techniques in the Harimau style can be incorporated into BJJ, MMA, and other arts on a piece by piece basis.

That video was just a small sample of what's in the style. You should do a search for other videos on Harimau to get a better understanding of it.

Hope that helps.

  • Thats a good start I guess. I was looking for something where they do that from standing position. Initiate your attack with a jump/slide and use your legs to put your opponent's trunk/leg in a scissors lock. You can see some of that in playit.pk/watch?v=RSnP9z99I9M and also playit.pk/watch?v=2Qrkk2JTU70 Sep 16, 2015 at 5:08
  • @YoustayIgo You might want to look into kani basami: youtube.com/watch?v=O1EFPB5IWqA Sep 16, 2015 at 17:08
  • Yeah, Kani basami is one of several scissors kicks that are in Harimau, by the way. Harimau has a bunch of sneaky leg things that they do. They also have those flying arm-bars and things. Not sure about a flying triangle choke, but they do have the triangle choke, the reverse triangle, and other triangle-like chokes using the legs. It does a lot with the legs. Mind you, is all of it practical? Well, maybe, maybe not. Take some of it and try it out in MMA and see. Sep 16, 2015 at 17:48

Yes, Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, for example, use legs to lock and choke opponents.

Sankaku jime, also known as the triangle choke, is a popular technique where the legs are put into a figure-4 position around the neck and arm of an opponent. The legs are used to both immobilize and choke the opponent, and arm locks can be performed from this position as well.

The guard position, where you are sitting or on your back facing your opponent, also requires extensive use of the legs. Sankaku jime is one of many different ways to attack from the guard position.

  • The omopalata also relies primarily on the attacker's legs to attack the opponent's shoulder. Sep 15, 2015 at 18:52

Among the other excellent answers, I figured I'd mention Capoeira. Capoeira tends to deemphasize the use of hands in its attacks for historical reasons (depending on who you ask, either due to fighting in shackles or simply because it became "the way things are done"), so many of its techniques are done with the legs. It also doesn't have a huge number of pure grappling techniques since the emphasis is on attacking and avoiding attacks without getting bogged down, but it includes a number of leg scissor (tesoura) attacks from a "flying" tesoura where you launch yourself at your opponent to the tesoura Angola, which involves approaching the opponent back-first with legs spread to threaten the tesoura (this is a somewhat ritualized move with several traditional responses).

There are also slightly more protracted leg grappling situations that will happen in the sparring circle involving the capoeiristras trying to disrupt the other's balance, but they tend to be less formalized. To provide an anecdotal case, I had one pass where I went for a standard tesoura sweep, the other guy went into a cartwheel, and I continued into my own cartwheel, hooking his legs and windmilling with my own legs to disrupt his balance. As noted before, they tend to be less of a matter of "grappling" and more of a matter of a sweep, here a series of exchanged sweeps and counter-sweeps.

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