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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 ©2004-2015 Can Sönmez

29 July 2015

29/07/2015 - Teaching | Koala Guard | Single Leg

Teaching #364
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 29/07/2015

No doubt there are other names for this position, but koala guard is suitably evocative. If you're starting from sitting guard, this can be a useful option if they have broken your grip on their collar. Immediately scoot in, hooking the leg you have on the ground around the back of their leg. Your collar-gripping arm goes around the back of their leg. Jam your head in tight against their leg, on the inside (or you're at risk of guillotines).

From here, you can do a mini technical stand-up, basing off your free hand and other foot. Lift your bum slightly off the ground, then scoop their leg with the leg you have behind theirs. Maintain a tight grip, then move into side control. For even more control, it's useful to grip their sleeve with the arm you have behind their leg. Failing that, you can also grab their belt or their gi lapel. If none of that is available, you can just grab your own gi.

Be aware of their knee positioning. You want to try and stay on the side of that knee. If they are able to drive their knee into your chest, that gives them a chance to set up a pass, crushing your back down onto the mat.
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Teaching & Sparring Notes: Staying really tight is key, along with keeping your head inside. It's natural for the head to start creeping to the outside, but that's guillotine territory. I haven't taught guillotines yet (it's not a technique I use much myself), but it might be worth putting that in to highlight the risk. Also, I could throw in some breakfalling drills at the start. It's a fairly controlled takedown position, but some breakfalling practice would still make sense. Maybe even single leg drills?

I've been trying this technique in sparring over the last few weeks, which has been comparatively effective, though I tend to end up being a bit scrambly with it. Also, due to all the sitting guard we've been doing, people have become wary of grips on their collar. So I've been testing out either chasing them by scooting along the floor, or simply waiting for them to engage. I could also try a longer range open guard, reaching with my legs? Koala guard has proved useful as an alternative when I don't have a grip, but I could do with something that applies when they start running away from you too. I'll play with leg stuff next time in sparring.

29/07/2015 - Teaching | Women's Class | Armbar from Guard

Teaching #363
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 29/07/2015

For this fundamental attack from the guard, you first need to isolate their arm. Easiest way to do that is to grab their wrist with your same side hand, then also grab their elbow. Pull their arm across and pin it to your chest. You're then going to put your same side foot on their hip, clamping the knee of that leg to their shoulder (essentially you're trying to take away their space, as well as blocking them from easily pulling their arm backwards).

If they're wearing a gi, grab their opposite collar with your wrist-hand (keeping hold of their arm with your elbow-hand) and pull them down. If it's nogi, grab their head. Next, kick your other leg into their armpit, aiming to further break their posture and get your leg across their back. You're also going to use that to swivel your own body and get a better angle. From here, you can then push their head out of the way with your head/collar grip and bring your hip-pushing leg over their head. Squeeze your knees, lift your hips and pull down gradually on the wrist for the tap.

A common problem is that your partner will 'stack' you up onto your shoulders, making it difficult (though not impossible) to finish the technique. This is a common problem with the triangle too. To prevent that situation, push with your legs, as well as really knocking your partner's posture when you kick across with the armpit leg. You can also 'walk' back on your shoulders to recover a more extended position if they are squashing you. Finally, angling the leg you have by their head can help (like on Adam Adshead's old DVD), as that makes it tougher for them to push into you.

If they do stack you, it's still possible to get the armbar. Swivel out as far as you can, then push on their leg. You'll end up spinning around their arm, putting you in a face down position. That enables you to bring your whole body to bear on their arm, resulting in a powerful armbar.
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Teaching Notes: I used Sahid's armbar drilling sequence, sort of, as I started off with a drill where you use your legs. However, I also had a collar grip in there. I'll try it with just the legs next time, then I can build into the rest of the sequence. I should also come up with something better for controlling their other sleeve, rather than simply grabbing it. Starting with a collar and sleeve grip makes sense, although then you have to switch grips, because otherwise it is awkward to push on the head. Grabbing the elbow would make sense too, like in the Sahid drills. I threw in the omoplata too, as it fit with a question that was asked after progressive resistance, in terms of what to do if you lose the arm. Triangle fits in there too, though in this situation the elbow had just slipped back rather than the whole arm being out.

Here are those notes (again) on Sahid's armbar drills, as at some point I'll probably use all of them:

To help with teaching this, my training partner Sahid has a useful sequence. It starts with drilling the leg positioning. In closed guard, your partner is going to put their elbow on the opposite side of your belt knot/belly button. Bring your leg on the same side as that arm up, so you can pin your knee against their shoulder. Your other leg kicks up into their armpit. Use that to turn your own body, also bringing their body down with the armpit leg. You can now bring your first leg over their head, keeping your heels pointing down (don't cross your legs).

Next, you're going to add in one of your arms. They aren't generally going to give you their arm, so you'll have to drag it across yourself. Reach across with your opposite side arm and grab slightly above their elbow. Still keeping your ankles crossed, lift your hips, then as you drop them, pull the arm across your body. You want to end up with their arm between your forearm and bicep, enabling you to clamp your elbow to your side while also pinning their arm. Your hand goes to your chest.

Step your knee up on their trapped-arm side, again pressing it into their shoulder. Make sure you don't raise that knee before you've pinned the arm, as opening your guard at that point may give them enough space to start escaping. Then finish as before, kicking your other leg up into their armpit, swivelling, bringing your first leg over their head and completing the submissions.

The third and final stage adds in a collar grip with your free hand (if they have a collar: if not, grab their head). Reach for their collar/head after you've pinned their arm, then pull them down. You can also use the elbow of that collar gripping arm to block the elbow of their trapped arm. That prevents them from trying to bring the elbow of their trapped arm to your other side hip, as that would scupper your armbar attempt.

27 July 2015

27/07/2015 - Teaching | Open Guard | Unstoppable Sweep

Teaching #362
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 27/07/2015

Tonight I covered a technique I've been working on for a while, called the 'unstoppable sweep'. I first heard about it over on Seymour's blog, where he described his visit to a Mike Fowler seminar (the guy known for this technique). Get on your side in open guard, bringing your lower leg in front of the bottom of their shin. Your other leg goes slightly above their knee, when you also lock your feet together. Grab their same side sleeve with your lower arm and their same side collar with your upper arm.

You can then tweak their leg outwards by pulling with your lower leg on their shin, pushing with your other leg behind their knee. Maintain your grips and knee position, as this should hopefully put you directly into a knee cut with a deep collar grip, meaning you could also switch right into a choke. Make sure you pull them forwards onto you, as if their weight is based back, it will be tough to land the technique. I've found this sweep works particularly well if you're in sitting guard and your opponent steps in really close to try and pass. From there, it isn't too much of an adjustment to move into a sort of reverse de la Riva, then hit the sweep: you already have the collar grip, so you just need to secure the same side sleeve. That collar grip also gives you another point of control where you can push, combined with your legs.
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Teaching Notes: I think most people got this ok. Main things to emphasise are getting on your side, pulling them into you and making sure one leg is low on the shin, the other just above their knee. While in my experience it works a bit better if you lock your feet, that's not essential. A number of people were also attempting to jump straight into side control rather than knee cutting first. I guess that depends how comfortable you are with the knee cut. I find this sweep means you can pivot around your knee, with a firm control throughout. If people find it easier to go straight to side control, that's cool, but I suspect with resistance, they are liable to get stuck in their partner's guard. But I could be wrong: it will be interested to see how that technique fits into sparring for them. :)

26 July 2015

26/07/2015 - Open Mat | Sit Up Escape

Class #655
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 26/07/2015

I'm still taking it easy to give my finger joint a chance to recover from whatever I did to it earlier this week. That meant I was mostly answering questions and helping people drill. However, I did get in some light sparring at the end with Rafal, along with drilling some of the material from Jeff Rockwell's recent sit up escape instructional. It builds on the Defensive Guard stuff I've been incorporating into my game for a year or two now, particularly the collar tie position.

Koala guard remains an interesting option from open guard, though I haven't yet been able to combine the distance together well. I'll keep testing out the entry point, as I think I'm jumping into it too early. That guillotine remains a risk, though I'm being more careful to keep my head in tight. My back escapes still need lots of work, as I'm continuing to chase as they try to bring in their second hook. Triangles are a risk from the underhook too: I normally feel ok with those and make certain to keep the elbow well back, but I was lazy today and got stuck inside. If he'd switched legs, I reckon he could have finished it (as I demonstrated afterwards).