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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

26 April 2017

26/04/2017 - Teaching | Back | Arm Push and Loop Escape

Teaching #656
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/04/2017

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This is a very simple one, though it's lower percentage. You've been rolled over to the choking arm side. First, grab their arm to create some space and hold off the choke. You're looking for an opportunity to pull their arm over your head. Once you can loop that arm over your head, extend your opposite arm, locking it out straight. Continue turning, bringing your same side elbow down to help turn. You're aiming to spin and end up in their guard.
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Teaching Notes: This is another one from MMA Leech's Ace of Escape instructional that I'm reviewing at the moment. The main reason I wanted to review that was to see if it could add some more back escapes to my repertoire, which it has done admirably. Even better, these aren't escapes that are brand new to me, but rather extra details and refinements of things I already know. This one is ok, but I'm not sure I'd want to put it into the regular rotation. It's difficult to get the arm over the head (hence why Gustavo refers to it as a passive escape).

A few people were adding an extra bit, not just pushing the arm, but bending it around the head kinda like a gift wrap. It isn't recommended to escape this way to the other side, but it is possible as long as you tuck your elbow really tight. The main problem - and it's a big problem - is if you try it on the underhook/non-choking side, there is a risk they can just swivel into an armbar. One of my students has been trying that option, and it's difficult for them to avoid the armbar as you only need to wrangle a small bit of space under the arm to get the position.

I'm not sure I'll teach this again, as it's tough to get, but I'll keep playing with it. I have seen this kind of escape pop up elsewhere: if there was a more reliable way of getting the arm over the head, it would make this far higher percentage.

26/04/2017 - Teaching | Back | Escape to Deep Half & Sweep

Teaching #655
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/04/2017

Paul couldn't make it, so I covered instead. As we went through an escape to deep half last week, I decided to explore that by looking in greater detail at the sweep itself. The key thing here is to get your shoulder underneath, rather than trying to wrap their leg with your arm. You want to wriggle underneath as you swivel onto your back, your head on their thigh. You can also push back with your head and neck, to make it tougher for them to step their leg over.

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At the same time, drag their leg towards you, using the leg you have on top. Your aim is to get your entire body underneath their leg, accomplished by your swivelling motion. You may need to push off their hip with your other hand, to help that wriggle underneath them. Once you've swivelled, reach your first hand around the outside of their leg, gripping the inside of their knee. You other hand tucks underneath their leg, so they can't grab it.

Finally, your legs are trapping their one leg. Make sure at least one of your legs is hooked over the top, so they can't just remove their leg and pass. Your other leg could be locking your other, or some people prefer to hook under their opponent's leg, meaning they can lift.

For the outer roll sweep, commonly known as a Homer sweep, walk your legs towards their other leg. This is where it gets the name, due to that scene from The Simpsons where Homer is on his side, running in a circle on the floor. You're doing the same motion (bonus points for 'woot woot woot' sound effects ;D), trying to cut the angle. Once that angle is acute, spin the other way. Continue to hug their leg tightly. They may attempt to triangle, so don't leave any space. You can then either drive your head to the far hip to pass their leg, or alternatively, reach your arm to their far hip and pass the other way.

There is also the option of shifting your grips. This can sometimes happen anyway when they try to grab your knee to begin their pass. As soon as they do, use the hand you have on top of their leg to grab that sleeve. Kick your leg free, then pass the sleeve you're still holding to your other hand, which should be hiding underneath their leg. This makes the sweep more powerful, as you're now controlling their arm. Alternatively, you can pull out their lapel and do the same, passing it to your underleg hand.
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Teaching Notes: I like doing deep half more in the intermediate, but that does still have quite a few beginners. Not too much to change here, but it is worth noting that body type can make a big difference on this one, so it's handy to be able to match those up. I'll think about this more when it comes around in half guard month again, must check previous notes too (given my goal here was combining it with a back escape).

24 April 2017

24/04/2017 - Teaching | Back | Bridging Back Escape (To Standard Half Guard)

Teaching #654
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 24/04/2017

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The first rule of the back position is protect your neck. There are lots of ways of doing that, but my preference is the Saulo Ribeiro method. One hand is in your opposite collar, the other hand floats, ready to block their incoming grips. Don't reach too far with that arm or you'll leave space: keep it near your chest. Your elbows are inside their knees, ready to pop off their hooks if the opportunity presents itself.

Next, bring your knee up on their choking arm side (so, the arm that is reaching over your shoulder and trying to wrap your neck, rather than the arm coming under your armpit). Angle your knee inwards, to prevent them from rolling you back the other way: they will find it easy to choke you if they can roll you in the direction of their choking arm. In one quick motion, move your head forwards and simultaneously shove their head sideways (this is presuming they know what they are doing and have their head tight to yours for control). Look towards them, keeping your head and neck firm in order to stop them moving their head back into place.

You can then continue, pushing off your leg, aiming to get your shoulders and spine to the mat. If you aren't able to get your head past theirs, still push off your leg. Put your head on the mat and then grind it underneath their head. This isn't pleasant for either of you, but it is generally effective: preferably you can get your head past theirs in the gentler method above. If they have moved you to the 'wrong' side, still get your head to the mat, but use that to bridge, then walk your feet back across.

When on the 'right' side (facing away from their choking arm), if you can, clamp your arm that is nearest the mat to your side, aiming to trap their arm. To really immobilise them, see if you can use that same arm to grab their opposite sleeve/wrist, meaning you're using one arm to control both of theirs. With your near arm, grab their trousers by their top leg (either by the knee or a bit lower). When you have the opportunity, switch to grip with the other hand. To deal with their hooking foot, twist your hips towards it to pop it off. If that doesn't work, reach your other foot over and push it off. There is also the option of pushing it off with your hand, but take care you don't expose your neck. Once the hook is off, immediately bring your same side foot over, heel tight to their shin. That should prevent them re-establishing their hook.

There are several options at this point. A simple one is to move into standard half guard, using their inclination to get to the mount against them. If you can, hook their leg with your leg, on the side you're moving away from. As they try to bring that leg over for mount, simply push it with your hands and turn on your side, moving into half guard. Make sure you get your legs above their knee, as otherwise you're essentially under half mount rather than in a half guard. If they are not trying to go to mount, you probably won't have the position for this transition, so in that situation I'd likely aim for one of the other variations, like going to side control.
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Teaching Notes: I included a quick half guard drill, which refreshed the memory of those who have done it before, but I'm not sure it was enough to introduce it to people completely new to half guard. Hopefully it still helped: it looked as though they all had a handle on it by the end of the class. In terms of the technique, I also added in the switch from the 'wrong' side, as the move into half guard is so simple that I think it leaves enough room in the lesson. Emphasise things like hooking the leg, pushing the knee through far enough. A key thing to note is that it's intended for when your partner is trying to go to mount.

21 April 2017

21/04/2017 - Teaching | Back | Bridging Back Escape (To Deep Half Guard)

Teaching #653
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 21/04/2017



The first rule of the back position is protect your neck. There are lots of ways of doing that, but my preference is the Saulo Ribeiro method. One hand is in your opposite collar, the other hand floats, ready to block their incoming grips. Don't reach too far with that arm or you'll leave space: keep it near your chest. Your elbows are inside their knees, ready to pop off their hooks if the opportunity presents itself.

Next, bring your knee up on their choking arm side (so, the arm that is reaching over your shoulder and trying to wrap your neck, rather than the arm coming under your armpit). Angle your knee inwards, to prevent them from rolling you back the other way: they will find it easy to choke you if they can roll you in the direction of their choking arm. In one quick motion, move your head forwards and simultaneously shove their head sideways (this is presuming they know what they are doing and have their head tight to yours for control). Look towards them, keeping your head and neck firm in order to stop them moving their head back into place.

Push off your leg and bridge back, aiming to get your shoulders and spine to the mat. If you aren't able to get your head past theirs, still push off your leg. Put your head on the mat and then grind it underneath their head. This isn't pleasant for either of you, but it is generally effective: preferably you can get your head past theirs in the gentler method above. If you can, clamp your arm that is nearest the mat to your side, aiming to trap their arm. To really immobilise them, see if you can use that same arm to grab their opposite sleeve/wrist, meaning you're using one arm to control both of theirs.

With your near arm, grab their trousers by their top leg (either by the knee or a bit lower). When you have the opportunity, switch to grip with the other hand. To deal with their hooking foot, twist your hips towards it to pop it off. If that doesn't work, reach your other foot over and push it off. There is also the option of pushing it off with your hand, but take care you don't expose your neck. Once the hook is off, immediately bring your same side foot over, heel tight to their shin. That should prevent them re-establishing their hook.

There are several options at this point. Tonight, I went with one I don't use all that often myself, but it's useful to have in your toolbox. They will probably try to bring their leg over for mount. As they do, scoot down and shoot your arm underneath their leg, all the way to your shoulder. At the same time, wrap one leg over the top of their leg, either locking it with your other leg, or hooking your other leg under. That puts you in deep half. From here, you can work your sweeps: the simplest is to spin through to the top, staying tight.
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Teaching Notes: I added the drill for familiarising deep half, using the entry from technical mount. I emphasised getting the shoulder under the thigh, as before. I avoided going into too much detail on the sweep, though it is worth noting you can pop out the back (as people often end up leaning forwards loads when they're on top of deep half, especially if they haven't been in that position much before). Also, not forgetting about defending the neck. On hooking the leg, sometimes it felt like you didn't need to and could pop straight under, but I think that depends on how much they reach with their leg when trying for mount.

This isn't a variation I'd want to teach every time, especially as deep half is more complex, but it seemed to work well, so definitely one I'll add to my stores of lessons. :)