The Mikey Lock – Forget about Normal Heel Hooks

Last night Mikey Musumeci shocked the world with ‘the Mikey lock’ in his match against Richard Alarcon at Who’s Number One: The Return of Gordon Ryan. The Mikey lock is a new kind of inside heel hook that Mikey developed to make finishing heel hooks easier. In this post we tell you how the Mikey lock works.

What is the Mikey lock?

The Mikey lock is a new technique that Mikey Musumeci invented. It’s a variation of an inside heel hook. He first hit it against Richard Alarcon at WNO.

At this point, Mikey Musumeci is the only BJJ athlete who ever hit this move in a major grappling competition. But we may be seeing more of it from now on.

How does the Mikey lock work?

Mikey explained in the post fight interview that Instead of having the normal heel hook grip with the heel under the arm pit, he gets the heel in his ‘neck pit’. So he keeps the heel between his neck and shoulder, as you can see in the photo below.

Mikey lock by Mikey Musumeci inside heel hook setup

From this position, Mikey applies pressure that is very similar to the normal inside heel hook.

To finish Mikey ‘looks over his right shoulder’, similarly to how you do in a straight foot lock, to rotate the foot (he doesn’t actually look in that direction, but he explains that that’s what you can think about to do the correct movement), and he also bridges into the side of the knee, as you can see in the photo below.

Mikey lock by Mikey Musumeci inside heel hook finish

Mikey Musumeci also explains the machanics of the Mikey lock in this video with Bernardo Faria:

Understanding The Mikey Lock - Invented by Mikey Musumeci

Mikey explains that the Mikey lock works because it attacks the foot and knee siultaneously. If the opponent stretches his foot to hide the heel, the Mikey lock attacks the foot. If he bends his foot, it’s an inside heel hook.

Benefits and of the Mikey lock

There’s multiple benefits to the Mikey lock compared to the standard inside heel hook.

First and foremost, the grip for the Mikey lock is easier to get than the normal grip under the arm pit. You can keep the foot on the level of your neck so you don’t need to push it down, and you can also have the foot in front of you instead of to your side while you get the grip.

Further, it seems that it’s much harder to slip the heel from the Mikey lock than from a normal inside heel hook. The double handed grip looks very solid.

Craig Jones commented after the event that the Mikey lock overcomes the problem that normally when you transition from the ankle control to the heel grip, there’s an opportunity to hide the heel and start to escape. Craig also said that he hadn’t seen this move before.

Finally, you can set up the Mikey lock from the knee bar position, instead of from 50/50. This makes it potentially much safer to go for than the normal inside heel hook.

Drawbacks of the Mikey lock

The Mikey lock looks like it has less leverage than the fully locked under the armpit grip.

This is also because it’s not possible to bend the knee very much with Mikey’s grip. And although it’s not necessary to bend the knee in an inside heel hook, it does make the bridge into the side of the knee much stronger.

Why did Mikey develop the Mikey lock?

What’s so interesting to see is that 2 WNO’s earlier, Mikey Musumeci couldn’t finish Geo Martinez with an inside heel hook despite having a very deep grip.

The Mikey lock is Mikey’s answer to his trouble with finishing heel hooks. And if we’re to believe Mikey, the Mikey lock is actually much more efficient than the normal inside heel hook.

I haven’t been able to try out the Mikey lock myself, but I definitely will! I hope he’s right, because I also have trouble finishing the inside heel hook sometimes.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mikey lock becomes the new golden standard for inside heel hooks now, given how technical Mikey Musumeci is, and how much technical innovation he’s already brought to Brazilian jiu jitsu over the years.

Did Mikey really invent the Mikey lock?

Instagram warriors from all over the world quickly pointed out that Mikey might not have been the first person to perform this submission. So maybe the name ‘Mikey lock’ is a misnomer.

Daniel de Groot, a Dutch black belt, made a breakdown video of everyone who supposedly did the Mikey lock before before Mikey Musumeci. As you’ll see in the video below, they all did slightly different versions of the same lock than Mikey.

Mikey lock / Rotary knee bar / Leg bar heel hold - De Groot BJJ

So I think it’s safe to say that Mikey did really invent the Mikey lock.

Furthermore, I think Mikey invented the submission for himself. So even if other people did it before him, I don’t think he had seen that, and he actually came up with the technique himself.

So I’m perfectly fine with Mikey performing this move for the first time at such an high level and therefore putting his name on it.

Mikey lock vs Inside heel hook – Which is better?

It’s too early to tell if the Mikey lock is better than the normal inside heel hook, so we can only speculate.

On the one hand, Mikey Musumeci made the Mikey lock look great at WNO. And we know Mikey is supremely technical, so he might be onto something.

On the other hand, the Mikey lock is still very untested right now. Mikey hit it against Richard Alarcon, who is a great athlete, but not one of the best competitors in the world right now.

Further, it’s always hard to believe that somebody can come up with something completely new. If the Mikey lock really works, why didn’t Garry Tonon, Ryan Hall, Gordon Ryan or Lachlan Giles figure this out much earlier?

But, if anybody has it in him to revolutionize jiu jitsu, it’s Mikey Musumeci.

Right now the correct thing to do is to try out the Mikey lock for yourself in training!