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Although Kurt Angle is using this as his finisher, it has now become one of the most countered finishers I've ever seen. It's gotten to the point that no one expects the match to be over once Kurt locks on the Ankle Lock, since there seems to be a zillion ways to counter this.

  • crawl to the ropes, grab ropes - this was the most obvious counter, and the way it was countered the most
  • lift your upper body up with a push-up, then roll to the side, Kurt ends up flying over your body - kind of a silly counter, as it probably makes your leg hurt more. Recently, I've seen Kurt counter this counter by simply holding on.
  • roll over, shove Kurt away with other leg - looks too easy, hurting the suspension of disbelief regarding the power of the ankle lock
  • grabbing Kurt's leg, locking in an ankle lock of your own - kind of odd, and again messing with my suspension of disbelief
  • counter to Crippler Crossface, which gets countered into another ankle lock, and so on - nice sequence of moves that enhances the psychology of the recent angle and matches against Chris Benoit.

Because it's been countered so often, I'm hoping that Kurt unleashes a new finisher to go along with the Angle Slam. Perhaps resurrect the Moonsault, though he's probably reticent to use that after shattering Bob Holly's arm accidentally...

There are several different submission holds used in martial arts and combative sports that attack the ankle and can be called ankle locks. The most common and popular locks are the achilles lock, the toe hold, and the heel hook.

The first ankle lock a beginner in sambo, submission wrestling, or Brazilian jujutsu is likely to learn is the achilles lock, a very simple but versatile lock. It is obtainable from a number of different starting positions into a several different ending variations and positions. The weakness of the achilles lock is that, due to its simplicity and exposure, it is difficult to catch an experienced fighter, unless you are exceptionally fast, strong, or have a particularly inventive setup and execution.

The toe hold (aka foot lock) is also a relatively simple but effective ankle lock. Like the achilles lock, the toe hold can be obtained from a number of different positions and can end in several variations. Unlike the achilles lock, the toe hold is a twisting lock and thus is harder to control in terms of pressure and pain, depending on the flexibility of the lockee - it is easier to hurt your partner/opponent with the toe hold than the achilles lock. Still, it is a relatively safe leg lock and people walk away from tapping out to one every day without any ill effects.

Note: A variation of the toehold is what Ken Shamrock brought into the WWF/WWE pro-wrestling scene and is what Kurt Angle uses as his finisher. The variation that is used in pro-wrestling is unrealistic in its execution, but rest assured, in real life, a fully stretched out toehold will break your ankle and tear a few tendons in the process.

The heel hook is superficially an ankle lock, as the the part of the leg that is hooked and twisted is the heel. Under the surface, the heel hook is effectively an attack on the knee. The ligaments in the knee, particularly the anterior cruciate ligament will tear long before damage is taken to the ankle. This lock is notoriously difficult to control and has been banned in most competitions, including sambo, Brazilian jujutsu, Pancrase, and most forms of submission wrestling due to the number of permanent and debilitating injuries it caused.

There are several more different types of ankle locks but most are variations or combinations of these three basic ankle attacks.

Note: Prior to World War II, ankle locks were known to and practiced by Judo practioners but due to safety reasons, were removed from the curriculum and eventually forgotten by most of the Judo community.

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