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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

10 March 2017

10/03/2017 - Teaching | Mount | Super High Mount Americana & Back Take

Teaching #642
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 10/03/2017

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Today I looked at some attacks from high mount, where you've gotten up right by their head. The first option I like to try is fishing out an arm and doing an americana against the leg (though the distinction between americana and kimura gets a bit blurred). Your knees are by their ears, squeezing in tight, causing their arms to cross over their face. For this attack, you need to be able to thread your arm by their crook of their elbow.

Grab their wrist with your other arm, using your initial arm to grip your own wrist (same configuration as if you were doing a kimura from north-south). Making sure your knees are squeezing in tight, bend their arm against your leg for the submission. Be sure to use the turn of your body, rather than purely your arms: you'll get more leverage that way.

If they have managed to hide their arm, swing your torso around so that your ribs are pressing against their forearm. That wedge means you can now walk sideways on your toes to roll them and take the back. You could go all the way until they end up flat on their belly, for what is arguably the most dominant position in BJJ, full back mount. However, if you do that, I'd recommend getting an arm under their neck before you fully roll them over, as it can be irritating to dig your hand in once they are completely flat (after all, there is a reason judoka treat that paradoxically as a defensive position, used to stall for a few seconds in competition so they get stood back up).

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My preference is to instead walk them just far enough to get them up on their side. From there, I can then move into technical mount. That then provides lots of options, with chokes, armbars and a back take all available.

Teaching Notes: I tend to call this an americana, but I'm wondering if kimura would be more accurate? Or maybe just figure-four. Either way, I could talk more about the specific grip, making sure people know which arm goes where (that's something I noticed when talking people through it on the following Tuesday at open mat). Also, the body position on the back take sometimes confuses people. I dispensed with the full rolling them over thing to just go with the gift wrap instead, as I think that's easier to understand. It's also always going to be available as long as you keep their arm jammed so they can't pull it back.

08 March 2017

08/03/2016 - Teaching | Mount | Maintaining High Mount

Teaching #641
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/03/2017

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The drawback to the low mount is that there aren't many submissions from there: the ezequiel is one of the few high percentage attacks. In terms of their defence, they are mostly going to be trying to unhook your feet and digging their elbows under your knees, so you'll be battling to keep those in place.

To attack, you're better off climbing further up, into high mount. Again, you need to worry about their hips. To control them, put your feet by their bum, tucking your toes underneath: Roger Gracie points this out as of particular importance. In what you might call 'middle' mount where you're still over their hips, Saulo suggests that you 'ride' their bridges, like you were on a horse. Lean back, then as they bridge, lift up: you’re aiming to move with their hips, rather than just leaving a big space. So, this takes a good understanding of timing.

He also recommends against leaning forward, as he feels that gives them more space and leverage to escape. Hence why he leans back instead. Experiment, seeing how holding the head works for you versus leaning back. I think Saulo’s method requires more experience, and personally I feel unstable there, but as ever, I want to offer students choice whenever possible.

The danger of leaning back is when you're facing somebody with flexibility and/or long limbs. They might be able reach their legs over to kick into your armpits, either sliding out through your legs or pushing your over. You must control their hips with your feet, to prevent them from bending their body. Swimming the arms through might help you out here, this time against their legs, depending on how they attack. If they do get their feet in place, I generally grab on the back of their collar, stay really low, then attempt to gradually work my hips back to flatten them out: that worked for me last time it happened.

Another option is to move off their hips, shifting into an even higher mount. Gradually walk your knees into their armpits (pulling on the top of their head may help, which will also stop them wriggling back out) being careful of the elbows. If they start to work an elbow into your thigh, twist to one side and raise that knee. Pull their arm up with whatever you can grab, then reinsert your knee. I've seen Rob S teach grabbing their sleeve with your opposite hand, while Mauricio likes to grab the elbow with their opposite hand and Felipe essentially shifts to technical mount for a moment.

The difficulty in reaching high mount tends to be getting past their elbows. The ezequiel choke is one way to get them to lift their elbow: as soon as they give you that space, 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. Finally, another nifty option is to push on their shoulders with your hands, stiff-arming. Putting your weight into their shoulders makes it hard for them to prevent their elbows rising, where again you can slip those knees in.

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You will probably also want to anchor yourself in place somehow. Grabbing the top of the head is the simplest option. Alternatively, you can put your elbows on the mat, directly above their shoulders. It's important that when you get that space, don't let them have it back. Hooking under an arm and walking your fingers up can help make that space too. Finally, on a somewhat different topic, keep in mind that cross facing to stop them turning works from mount, just as it does from side control.

Teaching Notes: Once again, I'm still uncertain about structure. I did try adding the ezequiel choke this time, but I'm not sure everybody picked up enough detail. I rarely do it as an actual choke, it's more feint to get them to raise their elbow so I can drive my knee up. However, teaching the ezequiel properly takes more time, I think, especially points like making it a blood choke rather than simply crushing the windpipe. I always find it awkward to teach, because it relies so much on the sleeves not being overly tight: unless you've got a judo gi on, beginners often find that aspect tricky.

So next time, the way to go is the pulling elbows, pushing on the shoulders and the turning side to side. After all, not everybody is going to clam up, so it does make sense to have an option for people who (like me) will instead focus on turning in order to trap a leg.

06 March 2017

06/03/2017 - Teaching | Mount | Maintaining Low Mount

Teaching #640
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 06/03/2017

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There are two basic types of mount to choose from, which I call low and high. Once you've achieved mount, I find that low mount provides the most control. First off, you want to immobilise their hips, as their main method of making space is to bridge up forcefully.

Bring your feet right back, threading them around their legs to establish two hooks: this is known as a grapevine. Alternatively, you can also cross your feet underneath (or just near, depending on your flexibility and leg length) their bum, which has the advantage of making it much harder for them to push your hooks off. Your knees are ideally off the ground, to generate maximum pressure. How far off the ground they are depends on your dimensions: the key is getting loads of hip pressure. Another option, which I learned from Rob Stevens at Gracie Barra Birmingham, is to put the soles of your feet together and then bring your knees right off the floor.

Whichever option you're going for, thrust those hips into them. It's important to get into a position where you can thrust your hips down, rather than getting bunched up so your bum starts going into the air. Use your hands for base, where again you have a couple of options. Either have both arms out, or put one under the head (remember, you can always remove it for base if you're really getting thrown hard to that side) while the other goes out wide for base.

Try to grip the gi material by their opposite shoulder, or even better, by the opposite armpit. Keep your head on the basing arm side, loading up your weight there. If they're bridging hard, you can switch from side to side, lifting their head slightly and bringing your other arm under, meaning your remaining arm bases out to the other side.

To do the trap and roll/upa escape, they will need to get control of your arm. So, don't let them grab it and crush your arm to their side. Instead, swim your arm through, like Ryron and Rener demonstrate in the third slice of the third lesson in Gracie Combatives. Be sure to do it one at a time, or you may get both arms squashed to your sides.

Teaching Notes: I should talk more about adjusting the body position to make sure you can curve in properly, there were a few people who still had their bums too high, not enough hip pressure. I kept up the no hands drilling thing, which I'm still not totally certain whether it's useful. Kirsty suggested trying it with one hand, which is something I could give a go next time. I will eventually crack the structure for these maintaining mount lessons, but they still don't feel quite right. Next time, I really want to get more feedback, so I'll make a point of sending out a message or something.