Not For The Weak Of Heart: 11 Stomach Churning Arm And Leg Breaks In Jiu-Jitsu And MMA

June 10, 2019 | No Comments » | Topics: Jiu-Jitsu

This Is What It Sounds Like When You Don’t Tap To A Heel Hook And Your Tibia and Fibula Snap


The guy (Dan Velten) that got his leg broke in the video actually contacted us and wanted to give his perspective on what happened:

As a Jiu Jitsu competitor, I know that danger is always present. The first rule of Jiu-Jitsu is to tap early and tap often. That’s how you learn and survive to fight another day. My name is Dan Velten, and I’m a competitive Jiu Jitsu player and instructor, and that sound you just heard was my tibia and fibula snapping. I’ve been doing combat sports since 1999, and this was only the second serious injury I’ve had in the past 20 years. Combat sports can be done safely, but sometimes, shit just goes off the rails. 

People train Jiu Jitsu for all sorts of reasons such as self-defense, competition, fitness, or just to participate in a fun hobby. Nobody gets into Jiu Jitsu to hurt another person. Well, some people do, but those people are weeded out quickly. The second rule is to check your ego. There’s always someone better, fitter, faster, more skilled, or just hungrier than you. If you can’t check your ego, you will get hurt. 

That brings me to the day that this video took place. I was invited to compete in a tournament at Omega MMA in Clearwater, Florida by my friend and tournament sponsor, Jiu Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do black belt Tommy Carpenter. He’s the referee in the video, as well as an amazing martial artist. It was the semi finals of the tournament, and the winner would receive a large championship belt, something I’d never won. I really wanted to win that belt, especially since the year prior, I had placed second in the tournament. 

My opponent in that semifinal match was Josh LeDuc. I’d never met him and knew nothing about him. Come to find out he’s a Jiu Jitsu black belt and a leg lock master. Unfortunately for me, leg attacks are not my strong suit. I’m mostly a Gi player, and heel hooks are not allowed in Gi matches, so it’s something I had only recently started practicing. This being a No-Gi submission only tournament, ALL submissions were legal, including heel hooks, spine locks, and neck cranks. 

Since you’ve probably already watched the video, I won’t rehash it, but I’ll say that I knew my ankle was vulnerable, but I was in a position I’d been in many times before, and was not worried. I guess I should have been, but from my point of view, I was about to escape. However, LeDuc had the leverage and had nearly locked in the outside heel hook, but the move isn’t what caused the break. It was the rotational torque from the position that caused it. His power mixed with his size advantage, all pressured into my lower leg, caused the bone to snap like a piece of wood. Had the heel hook been completed, it would have caused my knee to rip apart, but that’s not what happened. This was simply a freak accident, but that’s not to take credit away from LeDuc. If my leg hadn’t broken, he most likely would have secured the heel hook and I would have been forced to tap.

It was a long recovery but my friends and family were all very supportive. I’m back to 100% and have been training at full speed for the past 6 months. In fact, I recently competed in a tournament in May and won the Advanced No-Gi Masters division, and I was awarded a goddam big gold belt. It felt awesome! Coming back from that injury was mentally challenging. My friend Austin was with me at that tournament and he could attest that I was extremely nervous all day. Doing Jiu Jitsu full speed in the gym is one thing, but going for broke in a tournament is a completely different animal. However, I conquered my fear and I got back on the mat.

If you’d like to learn Jiu Jitsu and live in the St. Louis, MO area, hit me up at North Broadway Jiu Jitsu. I now coach under 2nd degree black belt Bryan Guidry. The website is Guidry Training and all new members get a free week to try it out. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter


Guy gets heel hooked, leg breaks, and he refuses to tap. Decides to not tap after a second attack on the same leg and the ref intervenes.


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