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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a brown belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2022 Can Sönmez

31 October 2022

31/10/2022 - Teaching | Mount | Heel drag escape

Teaching #Evening
Artemis BJJ (7 Easton Rd), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 31/10/2022

Short Version:
  • Get one leg flat on the floor, other knee raised
  • Turn slightly on your side, just lifting your shoulder
  • Step your raised-knee leg over both your flat leg and their leg
  • Using your elbow to help pry their leg up, drag their foot over your leg with your heel, also bringing your flat leg knee up
  • Turn your hips out to the flat leg side: you can then go to half guard, or shrimp to full guard

Full Version: My personal favourite mount escape is the heel drag, by far the highest percentage way for me to get out from under mount. It's also quite simple, another reason I like it so much. You're in mount, your elbows in a good place for defence, down by their knees. For this escape to work, you need to have one of your legs out flat, just like before. Again, you also need to get on your side: a slight bridging motion will help.

The big danger at this point is that the person on top will switch to technical mount. I recommend just lifting your shoulder slightly, rather than turning all the way on your side: that prevents exposing your back too much. Make sure that your neck is safe if you mess up and they do manage to start turning to technical mount. You also don't want to let them settle into technical mount: immediately prepare your frames to start escaping before they secure the position. You may even be able to disrupt them as they try to shift, using that window of opportunity as they're adjusting their base to enter into your escape.

If they don't get to technical mount (or you're able to work back to the previous position where you'll slightly on your side), wedge an elbow inside their knee. You can either make a frame against their hips, or if you're concerned about your neck, adjust so that you can still pry your elbow under their knee while protecting your collar with your hands (I prefer the latter). As well as chokes, you also need to be wary of their cross-face. If they can control your head, they can flatten you back out, which will make the escape less effective. Use a combination of your elbow and shrimping to shove their knee backwards, on your flat leg side.

Bring your other foot over both your flat leg and the leg they have next to it. That means you can use the heel of that foot to drag their leg over your flat leg. As soon as you get it over, lock half guard and shrimp towards their trapped leg. In half guard, you want to get onto your side as quickly as possible: if you stay flat on your back, you've already done their work for them, as they will want to flatten you out in order to pass half guard. If you're comfortable in half guard, you could stay there and work your attacks.

Alternatively, keep shrimping in the other direction, in order to free your other leg, just like you would with an elbow escape. It's also worth noting that some people, like Roy Dean, recommend just pinching your knees rather than fully triangling your legs around theirs, so that's worth trying too. To help recover full guard, you can also bring your arm across to their opposite shoulder, impeding their movement while aiding yours. Emily Kwok has a handy tip too: if their foot is too flat, making it hard to get your heel in for a drag, slide your flat leg outside to roll their heel up. That will create the space you need in order to insert your heel between their foot and the mat.

A very similar escape, which I don't use much, is the foot lift. Dean shows these two escapes in sequence on his excellent Blue Belt Requirements. The foot lift is for when they have some space underneath their in-step. People won't often do that, in my experience, but if they do, this time just step over your flat leg. Use your foot to hook underneath their instep and lift it over, then as before lock up half guard (your legs are already in position), or shrimp to recover full guard.

Make sure that you pay particular attention to shoving on their knee with this variation, as it is easier for them to slip free (though if that happens, you can always switch to the heel drag). With both escapes, it is important to get the knee of their trapped leg back behind your legs. If they still have their knee past your legs, it makes it much easier for them to move straight into a half guard pass, by driving their knee to the mat and sliding through.

Teaching Notes: I can't think of anything I forgot. Emphasising the leverage of the three motions (elbow under knee, knee to elbow and push down on ankle) is handy, I think that's a good one to keep highlighting.

26 October 2022

26/10/2022 - Teaching | Leglocks | Basic seated single leg x/ashi garami drills

Teaching #Evening
Artemis BJJ (7 Easton Rd), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/10/2022

In preparation for the first ever leglock month at Artemis BJJ in November, I ran through some of the basic drills that I learned from Charles Harriott (which you can also find on his excellent Leglocks 101 instructional). Sit facing your partner, legs in front of you , feet on the ground, knees up. Start with one leg inside theirs. When you say 'left', both of you move your left leg to the inside. When you say 'right', put the right leg in.

Next do the same again, this time grabbing the heel of the outside foot each time. Then we play a game, where the goal is to get both you feet inside, also grabbing both their heels. That covers off the first chunk of drills, after which we can move into the actual footlock position, which is single leg x. John Danaher insists on calling this ashi garami, because he likes to sound fancy. But it is just single leg x, on the ground. ;)

To enter into this position, get inside control with your feet. Grab the heel of their outside leg, pulling it up to your hip, like you have a holster there. At the same time, kick your leg out straight. Put the foot of your outside leg on their hip bone, curling it around so there is as little space as possible. With your free hand, hold their knee, then shoot your hips forward as close as you can. Bring the knee of your inside leg over your hip foot, trying to cover it, in order to make it harder for them to push it off their hip. The foot of your inside leg is hooking under their butt cheek.

You can then turn this into a continuous drill, where you enter into that position, they push your foot off their hip. You use your inside foot to hook their leg and keep it in range, then repeat the footlock entry on the other side. The MOST IMPORTANT part of the class is highlighting the danger of your knee getting twisted (e.g., by heel hooks and toeholds). I don't want people playing with heel hooks at this stage, but getting everybody to go into that seated single leg x and then hooking the heel demonstrates how it feels. As Charles puts it, tap to pressure, not to pain. Therefore eveyrbody needs to be able to recognise that pressure.


Teaching Notes: I went through the drills multiple times across several classes, keeping things very simple. Next time I can experiment with a bit more info. The marching drill is useful. So far, I start with that, then add in grabbing the heel and tucking your foot under their butt, until the third drill on getting inside leg control. I could probably have people grabbing the heel and holster? That might be worth a try as the middle drill.

This first attempt, I didn't get to the continuous drill, as I didn't want to confuse people by also showing the escape. I could test trying that next time. The key thing will be making sure I run through the warm-up drills, so as I did this time, replace the normal warm up with the marching drill, heel holster, then inside control.

19 October 2022

19/10/2022 - Teaching | Mount | Low to high mount

Teaching #Evening
Artemis BJJ (7 Easton Rd), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 19/10/2022

In order to progress from low to high mount, the main barrier is going to be their elbows. There are several ways you can remove that barrier. There is the brute force method, yanking their elbows out of the way and driving your knees up into their armpits. I wouldn't recommend that method, though it can work. A more reliable option, with greater finesse, is to put your hands on their shoulders. Keeping you arms straight, lean forwards to put all your weight through your arms. That should lift their elbows, enabling you to slide right up into high mount.

The ezequiel choke is another way to get them to lift their elbows: as soon as they give you that space in their attempt to defend, shove your knee into the gap. To really fire the leg forward, you can push off your toes. Another option is to simply keep walking your feet up their sides, as if you were climbing up a wall. Every time you see a gap, fill it, until eventually you're up really high and their bridge is nullified.

Grabbing the top of their head and driving your hips forwards is another possibility, using that leverage to raise their elbows. To further help that motion, you could try hooking an elbow and 'spider-walking' your fingers up the mat, aiming to bring their elbows away from their body. Once you have gotten up into high mount, make sure they can't wriggle back out by blocking their shoulders. You could do that with your elbows on the mat, grabbing their head or indeed the cross-face.


Teaching Notes: I think I got everything, this class is coming together well. As I forgot it until Rob mentioned it in daytime class, remember elbow hook and walk! Most important one. ;)