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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

22 June 2017

22/06/2017 - Open Mat (Thursday)

Class #834
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 22/06/2017

The new Thursday open mat went well. I've called this an open mat/workshop, as I want to encourage people to ask higher belts questions and drill, rather than just showing up to spar and nothing else. Matt H and Rich L were there today, along with me, so that worked well. Good turnout, which I hope we can keep up. Matt H is superb at helping people out in that kind of setting (he's been doing it at the daytime open mat on Tuesday for a good while now), so I'm pleased that he's got more scope to do that now.

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People weren't initially asking questions, so I posed them for them. I know from chatting to everybody who was there exactly what kind of thing they've been working on. It proved to be a good way to kick off the drilling, things built from there. I went through some of what Rich wanted to work on too, showing how I'd react to the techniques he was trying. I also drilled shin-on-shin with Matt H, again very useful. Matt picked out plenty of details that reminded me of some important stuff I'd forgotten from Kev's seminar. Awesomeness.

This helped me decided to go with shin-on-shin rather than de la Riva for the next couple of lessons, I think it is both more applicable and more powerful (as you have that hook to lift with. That's possible with de la Riva, but way harder. Admittedly I find DLR tough with my short legs, making it harder for me to teach that guard anyway ;D ).

21 June 2017

21/06/2017 - Teaching | Open Guard | Butterfly Sweep

Teaching #677
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 21/06/2017

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Marcelo Garcia has written that when passing butterfly guard, it's important to keep in mind that "unlike the closed guard or half guard, in the butterfly guard, your opponent is not trying to hold you in place." In my opinion, the ensuing dynamism and movement makes butterfly guard a more advanced position, which requires greater sensitivity and timing than closed or half guard.

I like to start with the most basic technique in butterfly, which is the classic butterfly sweep. There are numerous grips to try, but for me there are three main ones: collar and sleeve, deep underhook and the shoulder clamp. Having the collar opens up chokes, as well as providing excellent control to switch into other attacks and sweeps. The shoulder clamp gives you the option of sweeping in either direction (either away from underhook side, or if you can get your arm by their head, leveraging up with your elbow under their head to go towards the underhook), as well as things like pressing armbars and omoplatas.

With the legs, it tends to be slightly more straightforward. Either you're going to have both feet hooked under their thighs, with your knees flared out wide, or you'll have one hook in, the other knee on the ground: I'd recommend the latter. That angle helps with the sweep, I find, as well as making it harder for them to drive your back to the mat. In both leg configurations, you want to have your forehead driving into their chest. If they can get their head under yours, that's problematic, because then they can drive you flat on your back and start their pass. Keep your bum back and head forward, to strengthen your posture and stop them pushing you backwards.

Butterfly also links back to sitting guard, of which butterfly is effectively a short range version. That's because in both, you can put an arm behind you for base and mobility. It makes it harder for them to collapse you to your back, while also enabling you to keep angling off. That sets you up for attacks (especially the butterfly sweep, along with various fun from the underhook, like pressing armbars, back takes etc). Armdrags are another big area for butterfly, though that's a topic for another day.

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Today, I went with the thumb in grip, something I've been playing with recently. This connects to the closed guard into open guard I also teach (based off Neil Owen's first seminar with us), plus it is similar to sitting guard. You have a cross-collar grip, with your thumb inside and fingers on top. I find that grip means the alignment of your arm naturally presses more firmly into their neck. That sets you up for the butterfly sweep movement. Your other hand will initially be back for base (as per what I just said above), to stop them collapsing you backwards.

Whatever grip, the basic mechanics of the sweep are broadly similar. You need to have some kind of control over their arm on the side you want to sweep, otherwise they will be able to post. Grab the sleeve or the wrist (in this scenario, they have just been pushing on your leg to open your closed arm, so the wrist is right there to grab), possibly the elbow if you can sufficiently control their lower arm too. Lean back very slightly to get their weight towards you, then drop sideways onto your shoulder on the sleeve grabbing arm, lifting with your butterfly hook as you drop. Switch your legs, bringing one under the other in order to establish scarf hold, heavy on your cross face (or move into knee on belly, depending how they land). If you've lifted them up but they aren't going over, try hopping towards your lifting leg with your other leg. That should eventually provide the leverage to knock them to the mat.

Teaching Notes: I was originally going to show the DLR pull them over sweep, but after drilling and sparring with Heidi at the (new! ooo) morning open mat a few hours earlier (I'll write that up soon), I decided this was more important to show. I will keep including that flip pass drill in the warm up too, it's fun. In terms of the solo drill, I'm not sure that funky breakdance style leg through is as important, I could probably lose it and just keep the basic shoulder balance.

I went with the collar grip this time round, as we've been doing lots of sitting guard. June 2017 has been super hot in the UK, so I said it was ok to train nogi: for those people not wearing a gi, I suggested using a collar tie grip, something else I've been using a bunch recently due to my busted fingers. It's handy for the ankle pick style follow up too. However, when I show underhook version, that's confusing as it is a slightly different position to collar grip/sitting guard. With sitting, hand is behind. With standard butterfly, head into chest and tilt forward, head in front of bum. So, teach separate next time, so not mixing postures in one lesson.

I keep talking about going sideways, but it is worth noting you might need to do a little backwards motion first to get their weight off their heels. Also, talk about flicking the leg back as they go over, to avoid getting stuck in half guard. Knee on belly drills, more of that as I'm finding that's often the finishing position for these flip them over sweeps?

21/06/2017 - Open Mat (Wednesday)

Class #833
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 21/06/2017

The new open mat schedule kicks off this week, with extra open mats on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. For this first one, it was Heidi and I, but I suspect it will pick up a fair bit in future as quite a few people have been clamouring for morning training. I would like to do it even earlier, but I don't think I can subject my gf to getting up before around 07:30am. ;)

Anyway, great session today, I had a good long spar with Heidi. We chatted at length to work through some stuff in her game, after going through my entire open guard sequence I've taught so far. I decided that half butterfly guard could work well for Heidi, as she had mentioned she was getting squished in half guard a lot. That almost meant I could practice it myself. I'll do a bunch of half butterfly in half guard month, which would also mean I could use those half butterfly passes from the Paul Schreiner instructional.

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20 June 2017

20/06/2017 - Open Mat (Tuesday)

Class #832
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 20/06/2017

Playing more with the de la Riva sweep, making sure I go for the far arm and grab high. Grabbing the head seems to work fine, plus you can go straight into a cross-face from there (handy for beating the knee). I had a brief play with something comparable from the Xande DVD, but this one is something I'm more comfortable with. I don't play much de la Riva, but I've been looking for stuff to follow on from the sitting guard material I've been teaching that would make sense, different scenarios. I'll keep playing with stuff at open mat and see what seems most useful when I try it in sparring (particularly as I spar from sitting guard a lot, ever since watching that Ryan Hall DVD a few years ago, coupled with the Rockwell stiff arm principles).