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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 ©2004-2014 Can Sönmez

26 November 2014

26/11/2014 - Teaching | Mount | Americana

Teaching #240
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/11/2014

The americana is probably the simplest attack from mount you can do without a gi: the cross-collar choke is arguably as or more basic (in terms of the concept at least, the details can be complex), but that requires some kind of fabric to grip by the neck. Of course, the americana also works with a gi, it just doesn't depend on it.

To begin the americana, grab their wrist with your opposite hand. Grasp their elbow with your other hand. Keeping both of your arms straight, lean diagonally forwards, using your weight to drive their arm to the ground (as per the picture, you can also follow Cindy Omatsu's example and use your head to add further leverage). The elbow of your wrist-gripping arm goes next to their head. Remove the grip you have on their elbow, then with your palm facing up, slip that hand underneath their elbow. As it slips under, turn your hand so the palm faces down.

With the hand you just slipped under, grab your other wrist. This means you now have a 'figure-four' on their arm, a solid grip. To complete the submission, keep your head down and lift their elbow, pushing their knuckles back in a straight line along the ground, like a paintbrush. You want to move their knuckles, rather than pulling their elbow down as well: that goes up (but only slightly), their knuckles go back. Also, keep the knuckles in contact with the mat.

You can also vary your angle, which will affect how far you have to push their knuckles. For example, Saulo Ribeiro teaches sucking the trapped arm in to their body, then lifting the elbow. His angle is such that he doesn't need to paint the hand back at all. It will also vary depending on the flexibility of your training partner's shoulder. Finally, you can try twisting your fists downwards, like you were revving a motorbike. That should further increase your leverage.

I also went through the variation I like from super high-mount. If you keep going up, until you are right by their head, you can squeeze your knees by their arms. That should hopefully mean they have an arm completely stuck, poking out vulnerably from your legs. Simply put on a figure four and bend that 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, walk sideways on your toes to roll them and take the back. I tend to switch to technical mount for that, but you can also just walk sideways. They will end up flat on their belly, a position I find a bit irritating to manipulate, but it is still a dominant position (hence why it is so odd from a BJJ perspective that judoka go to there all the time, but that's due to judo competition rules limiting time on the ground. Judoka probably view guard pulling with equal disdain ;D).

Teaching Notes: As ever, I'm not sure if I'm adding in too much detail, but it doesn't take much time to go through the super-high mount version. Mentioning ways to increase leverage by using a more acute angle was good to keep in reserve for drilling, though there wasn't anyone there with hyper flexible shoulders. I'll have to try hitting the americana more often in sparring, although I tend to just take the back from there (which I showed briefly during drilling tonight as well).

Tracey brought cake (in her excellent Doctor Who lunchbox). Very tasty as always, lemon drizzle, I think. After the women's class and mixed class had got done munching, it was mostly gone. Thanks Tracey! :D

26/11/2014 - Teaching | Women's Class | Side Control Escape to Knees

Teaching #239
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/11/2014

For the escape to the knees, Roy Dean is a useful reference point, so I'll be drawing on his method from Blue Belt Requirements as usual. It begins in much the same way as the shrimp back to guard. First thing to note is that they will want to kill your near arm. This is bad for you, because it means you can't stop them shifting up towards your head. From there, they can make as much space as they want and pass to mount.

So, you need to get your arm inside, the forearm pressing against their hip: this is a bit more reliable that grabbing the gi material, as they can potentially still bring their body onto your hand and collapse it due to the loose material. The forearm into the hip will help block their movement, and initiate your attempts to create some space. It should also help you block them moving to north south, as if you clamp your arm by their side, your body will move with them if they try to switch position.

One thing to note is that having your forearm by their hip like that does leave you more open to the cross-face. So, you could potentially block inside their cross-facing arm instead, which will prevent their shoulder pressure. This is the Saulo method from his book, which has advantages, but personally I prefer to block the hip.

With your other hand, grab the gi material by their shoulder, close to their neck, then pull down. Twist that arm up into their neck, keeping the elbow in: you need to be tight here, as otherwise they will go for a figure four on that arm. Once you've got the forearm into their neck, they can't press down into you, as they'll essentially be choking themselves. Note that this is a block: you don't want to start pushing and reaching, as that may leave you vulnerable. Reach too far and they can shove your arm to one side and set up an arm triangle.

Next I moved on to the legs. Your legs have two main purposes here: first, blocking your opponent getting to mount. Raise your near knee and drive it into their side. The idea is to wedge them between your knee and the arm you have by their hip. Personally, I like to keep my knee floating, glued to their side.

Many people prefer to cross their foot over their knee, which is something I used to do in the past as well. However, as this long Sherdog thread discusses, that can leave you open to a footlock, and also limit your mobility. Then again, you can see it used at the highest levels, like here at the Mundials.

The second use for your legs is bridging. Marcelo Garcia has a handy tip for this (although the escape he is doing there is slightly different), related to increasing the power of your bridge. To do that, bring your heels right to your bum, then push up on your toes. That increases your range of motion, so you can really drive into them.

Make sure you turn into them as you bridge, rather than just straight up. This will help the next part, which is to shrimp out as you come back down. That's why you've created space in the first place: if you simply plopped back down, then you've wasted the opportunity.

After you bridge and shrimp, rotate the arm you have by their neck under their armpit, then reach for their legs or around their back. Roy Dean then shifts out to the side, ending up crouched next to them (as in the picture): I find that's the most intuitive method. At the same time, bring your bottom leg under your top leg, reaching further around their back as you fully turn to your knees. It's the same motion as the shrimp to knees drill I do during the warm-up.

From there, reach for the far knee and drive forward, moving to the top position. Another typical method leaves you square on, but I personally am not keen on that position as I find it is more awkward to crawl up into a strong base from there. However, again, it is a totally valid variation: experiment to see what works best for you.

Teaching Notes: This is among my most taught classes, so I haven't got anything much to add. I could perhaps talk more about the frame and the various details, but I'm trying to talk less so that probably wouldn't be wise. I can always mention it in drilling, or if anybody asks a question later on. It was cool to see a number of new people, so hopefully they enjoyed class. Best of all there was an experienced grappler in class, which is always a massive help. Cheers Laura! :)

26/11/2014 - Artemis BJJ | Open Mat | Open Guard

Class #607
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 26/11/2014

Having felt great about troubleshooting my closed guard yesterday, for Wednesday I wanted to sort out my open guard. First, I went through some of the lessons Chris was missing this week due to his work, then I moved to open guard. I began by drilling Kev's combat base sweep from last Saturday, where I was finding that I ended up in side control rather than mount. I think that's probably because I'm more comfortable driving through to there than slipping into mount straight off a sweep. Either works though, most of my submissions (when I get them) come from either side control or mount (that's been the case for a few years, though up until recently it was pretty much just side control with the occasional bow and arrow transition off technical mount).

I had a bit less time today, as I did lots of drilling with Chris on some other stuff (which was good too, as it meant I could practice the ezequiel I'm going to teach tomorrow, along with some back escapes I've been working on). I mainly wanted to practice the sit-up position with a cross-grip that Kev recommended in that private (it's been almost a year to the day, so apparently it takes 12 months for it to sink in ;D). Again, I am not always remember to stay upright, so that's the big thing I need to ensure going forward. Next key detail is getting the collar grip, pushing my fist into their collarbone to help with distance management.

When doing that, like Kev said I need to be careful of jumping armbars. So, if I feel them start to try and control my elbow and shoulder, I have to immediately pull that elbow back to keep it safe. I found when Chris was in the cross-grip guard, there was also a possibility of going for a Brabo (D'arce? I can never remember the difference), if his head gets too close to his arm and I can jam my arm in place in time. To stop that, I guess you need to be careful about your head positioning, raising up if they try to go for it (like guillotine defence). But I'd need to test that more.

Drilling light resistance with Chris, I was finding that the loop choke started appearing if I could break his posture down. I haven't been using that much and I really should: it's surprisingly easy once you've broken their posture down (well, in light resistance, I'm sure it isn't outside of that). The collar drag is a good option too, although I find that works better for me if they are on their knees. When I did it against Chris while he was standing, I could knock him off balance, but often just into a crouch rather than low enough to comfortably take his back. There's the ankle pick sweep there too. Along with that, the usual tripod and sickle combination is there, after you've swung in to grab a heel.

This was the first of three classes today, the other two I taught, as usual. So, second was the women's class on escaping side control, then the mixed class dealing with the mounted americana.

25 November 2014

25/11/2014 - Artemis BJJ | Open Mat | Closed Guard Posture & Side Guard

Class #606
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 25/11/2014

After the great session yesterday, I was ready to really delve into my issues with closed guard. I didn't want to drill technique so much as drill posture, both in terms of my posture and off-balancing theirs. That's as opposed to just breaking their posture down. I can happily do that, but I tend to do it square on. Today, I would be veering off to the side.

My guard is currently pretty much all predicated off a combination of two techniques/positions I've taught before, the Relson deep collar grip when in cross-grip guard. Previously, after that private lesson with Kev on guard, I've had the collar grip and put an arm behind. That's fine for open guard (although as I'll be discussing in the Wednesday write-up, I've been missing one simple detail that makes a big difference), but doesn't translate so well to closed guard. My approach to the cross-grip in closed guard has been getting the Relson grip, then fighting to get the second grip (either yanking underneath for the choke I like, or somehow over the top).

Drilling it with Chris today, in my usual pattern of light resistance, then switching over so I could see how they use it, worked perfectly. The goal of that approach is to learn something I might not otherwise realise, which is exactly what happened. Chris was able to twist my posture much more effectively, because he was getting the sleeve grip with his non-collar hand, rather than purely looking for that choke. As soon as I switched to the sleeve (I was going for the elbow), suddenly I found my guard becoming offensive. I popped my hips off to the side, moving into 'side guard' (I think? I've seen Jason Scully use that term, though I haven't watched the associated videos yet).

That opens up all sorts of attacks. If you can get their arm, you have some pressing armbar options along with wristlocks, plus the omoplata. If they hid their arm, then you have a route to the back, especially if you speed up your trajectory by using the collar drag and kicking out their other knee. Side guard means I can finally break my pattern of grip, break posture, they recover, grip, break posture etc. Having the elbow is the addition I needed, judging by today, especially if I do it at the same time I move my hips across.

If I can get the gift wrap from guard (pulling their arm around their neck), that's even stronger. Push the arm across, then reach behind their head and grab that wrist. Another option I randomly ended up doing was instead of reaching behind their head, I pulled that gift wrapped sleeve under their far armpit. That lent itself well to the windscreen wiper sweep. I also played around with underhooking the arm, attacking for keylocks and the like.

Again thanks to having Chris do the same thing, that led to another option. I was finding that I could keep my posture and stop him moving to the side, using my knees to control his hips. However, because I needed generally to push him down to block his choke attempts in particular, that extended my arm. He managed to nicely time it so that at one point when I extended, he was moving his hips to that arm's side. With his hips underneath the arm, it was ideally set up for him to trap it, raise his hips and go for the armbar. Even better, he had my other arm squished in such a way I couldn't use it to defend. Nice! Also good from the top person perspective: when I do get submitted from guard, it's often armbars as I forget about over-extending.

Spats Review - Samurai in Combat (Combat Skin)

Short Review: The second spats available from Combat Skin draw upon the classic martial arts image of the samurai, with several changes since their last pair of tights. The drawstring has gone (personally I'm glad to see it go, but your preference may vary), as have the anti-slip cuffs on the ankles. That anti-slip waistband is still there, but more comfortable this time around. The spats are also a little longer and wider than before (at least in Medium), making them a slightly better fit on my 5'7 and 66kg frame. Available to buy for $59 here.

Full Review: Since launching in November 2013, Combat Skin has continued to expand. I previously had the opportunity to try out their Combat Warrior spats, part of owner Steven Loi's inaugural market offering. That featured a design by Meerkatsu, replicated across a number of different BJJ fightwear products. The latest design I've been able to test, the 'Samurai in Combat' spats, has received similar treatment. Just like Meerkatsu's artwork, the Samurai in Combat appears on a t-shirt, rash guard and even a gi patch, as well as a gi.

It is not a new design: those samurai had already been revealed when I wrote my last review in March, although at that time it was being sold on a t-shirt. Notably, those sales had a charitable element. 20% of profits went to Bulig Isko, an organisation connected to disaster relief after the Haiyan Typhoon in the Phillipines. That's part of Combat Skin's stated aim of 'giving back to the community'. They've continued to back up that part of their mission statement, not just with various sponsored athletes, but helping out community projects and events too.

For example, Combat Skin provided the t-shirts for Jodie Bear's GrappleThon held in August, where she raised money to support the Donna Louise Trust. Jodie is herself now a sponsored athlete: you can check out her (slightly out of date, as she's since earned her blue belt) page on the Combat Skin website here.

Another part of the mission statement regarded using artists that train, something in evidence with the Samurai in Combat design. The two samurai that feature on these Combat Skin spats were created by Jay Acosta, who is based in the Philippines. He is also known as 'JayBhoi', the name under which you'll find his work on sites like deviantART and His artwork on the left leg features a pair of samurai in full battle-dress, one wearing red armour while the other is in blue (there is a clearer picture of the design over on his Facebook page).

Drawing on Japanese tropes is a good move for a piece of BJJ fightwear. Anything Japanese is especially popular in martial art circles, from manga to cultural rituals. BJJ's titular Brazilian heritage has counter-acted judo's original stiff formality, although a few schools have poured some starch into the old Brazilian laid-back vibe. Still, although we might not be swishing our hakama skirts, the grapplers of BJJ nevertheless tend to love ninja and samurai just as much as the Japanophiles of a karate or aikido school. That also gives me an excuse to babble about samurai in general. Hooray!

The term 'samurai', which apparently translates as 'those who serve', was first used in a purely military context during the 10th century (according to military historian Stephen Turnbull). Their significance ramped up over the coming centuries: for example, the Gempei War (or Genpei War, depending on how you transliterate from the Japanese) in the 12th century, the rather fortunate repulse of the Mongols in the 13th century (the weather helped quite a bit), the Onin War of the 15th century and the following Period of Warring States, lasting around 150 years.

Tokugawa Ieyasu emerged as the victor of all that warring, after climactic battles at Sekigahara in 1600 and Osaka in 1615. The next two centuries would be remarkably peaceful by comparison to what came before, meaning that the samurai didn't have to do a whole lot of fighting. The fanatical Christian aspect of the Shimabara Rebellion in 1638 (one of the exceptions when the samurai did need to dust off their armour) triggered Japan's withdrawal from the world, codified in the 1639 Exlusion Edict that banned almost all foreign trade, barring a tiny selection of Dutch merchants based in Dejima. By the time Commodore Perry shattered that arrangement in 1853, the samurai had gone from feared fighters to pen-pushing bureaucrats.

From what I've read, the historical reality of samurai is not particularly elevated, much like the reality of European knights is far less 'chivalrous' than the Arthurian mythos might lead you to believe. Similarly to their European counterparts, samurai started off basically as mercenaries and bodyguards. Bushido was about as relevant to the original samurai as Idylls of the King was on the medieval battlefields of Europe (in other words, not very much). The samurai myth (again, judging by a few books and internet sites, so I could be wrong) was largely a 17th century creation, just when the real samurai were transitioning from a life of constant warfare to a life of political intrigue.

There's an article about myth versus reality over on TheGoldenEggs: I'm not sure how well researched that is as there aren't any footnotes, but it makes for interesting reading. Or have a read of this piece about a scholar of Asian history, which has several intriguing quotes. For example:

Samurai rarely used swords in battle — instead they most often used arrows. So the idea of the sacred Samurai sword isn't exactly accurate. Their weapon of choice was actually the pike, which was essentially a spear. Swords were very expensive, so they weren't used often, which also explains why they survived. [...]

Loyalty has been grossly exaggerated. Warriors were interested in reward and recompense. Conlan found evidence that warriors moved from one side to another depending on the reward they would receive.

Of course, outside of academia it doesn't matter all that much what samurai were actually like. What matters is their status in popular culture. In that context, they're undeniably cool. Whether that's in Kurosawa films and the work he inspired (Star Wars being perhaps the most notable example), Ghost Dog or countless katana-wielding anime warriors, samurai through modern eyes are sleek, graceful and honourable to a fault. The positive image of the samurai as an intensely loyal aesthete with a sword, despite not being borne out by history, also remains powerful, as does their rather better founded status as elite soldiers. One of my own BJJ heroes, Saulo Ribeiro, has proudly described himself as a "samurai of the modern world." So, samurai imagery is an easy sell to BJJers (including me).

My knowledge of samurai armour comes mainly from Akira Kurosawa and playing Wizardry (hence why 'ashigaru' is a familiar word to me, as they kept stabbing my characters to death), but Wikipedia has an impressively detailed picture with a complete key of all the parts. Based on that, it looks like JayBhoi has kitted his samurai out with ō-yoroi ('great armour'), rather than the later more mobile dō-maru. That also means I've now learned a new word: I'm a fantasy and history geek so I love armour and weapons, but 'poleyn' isn't something I've read before. Apparently that's the bit that covered the upper leg through to the knees (4 on the diagram). ;)

JayBhoi's Red Samurai is trying to chop into Blue Samurai with a blood-stained katana. However, Blue Samurai has managed to overcome him through - of course - jiu jitsu (I somehow doubt BJJ would help you against a great big sword in real life, but it's a cool concept for BJJ fightwear). The difference in armour tone is a satisfying touch, as it makes Blue Samurai's triangle-armbar attack much clearer.

The main body of the spats is a rich blue, setting off the red stitching that continues the colour scheme of the samurai. That blue background contains a blown-up watermark of the samurai design, extending across the entire surface of the spats. Directly behind the two combatants there is a large oriental dragon, mouth agape and claws raised. She looks partially armoured herself, further enhancing the samurai theme. The ethereal light blue colour presumably indicates that this dragon represents the fighting spirit of the samurai. On a personal note, it fits pretty well with some of Jodie's own dragon artwork, which she tattooed on my left foot a few months ago. ;)

At the bottom of the left leg, Acosta's personal logo (a quizzical stylised head, atop a plate with 'JAYBHOI' written across it) stares out. On the right leg, 'Combat Skin' is written down its length in large white letters. The 'CS' logo sits at the top of the leg, looking like it has just been sliced in half. The waistband of the spats has 'Comabt SKin' written all along it, separated again by that CS logo (untouched by a sword this time).

Acosta's artwork has the standard sublimation to prevent cracking, peeling and fading, while the spats have the equally standard flatlock stitching for comfort. The tags are sublimated too, greatly preferable to those irrtating flaps you get in most clothes. Combat Skin have also helpfully pre-washed the tights, so you shouldn't have to worry about the various chemicals from the manufacturing process that can linger in new clothes.

There have been a number of changes compared to the Combat Warrior spats. The Samurai in Combat do not have that 'waxy' sheen, presumably because instead of 80% polyester and 20% lycra, they are 82% polyester and 18% spandex (the same blend as the Mashuu 2.0 from Strike). The dimensions for 'Medium' have changed as well: the Samurai in Combat is noticeably longer than its predecessor. They remain a good length for my 5'7 and 66kg frame, because I prefer spats to extend to my ankles. They are 93cm rather than 85cm (unstretched), while the width is 34cm, compared to the Combat Warrior's 31cm (measuring it flat on the floor on one side, again unstretched). Overall I'd say these are an improved fit compared to the Combat Warrior, which was already among my best fitting spats.

Those Combat Warrior anti-slip bands on the ankle cuffs have gone, with added reinforcement: the Samurai in Combat has three lines of stitching on the cuffs compared to the Combat Warrior's two. The drawstring has gone as well. There is still an anti-slip waistband on the Samurai in Combat, but it's more comfortable than on the Combat Warrior. As you can see if you click on the picture, the pattern of stitching on that waistband is different too. For me that again is an enhancement. Drawstrings have been superfluous in my experience with spats so far, though if the elastic loosens over the years, the Combat Warrior drawstring will have renewed purpose.

The Combat Warrior spats arrived in a small plastic pouch. This has been upgraded to a mesh bag for the Samurai in Combat, with a toggle drawstring. That's perfect for wet clothes you want to compress, so I'm currently using the bag for my old travel towel. The Samurai in Combat spats are available to buy from the Combat Skin website for $59, here.

24 November 2014

24/11/2014 - Teaching | Mount | Roger Choke

Teaching #238
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 24/11/2014

Starting from high mount, keep low, your arm based out, putting your head on the same side to concentrate your weight. Remember to keep your feet tucked under their bum for control. Drive your first grip in, which normally is going to be blocked by their arms crossed over their chest. To work past that, Roger advises that you pull open their collar low on their lapel (or at least lower than their elbows. You don't want to get stuck trying to yank out the collar from directly underneath their tightly crossed arms). You can then slide your arm through. To make that extra-solid, Roger told me to brace your own elbow against your hip. You can then wriggle forwards, driving your arm in front of you with the combined power of your hips, legs and arm. Also form your hand into a wedge, as this will help cut past their blocking arms.

Either way, once you have the grip, lift them up towards you slightly, twisting your hand so that you create a small gap between their neck and collar. Into that gap, insert the thumb of your free hand, to establish your second grip. You can also drop your elbow to the other side, so that you're pressuring into their neck.

Slide that thumb behind their head to the other side of their neck. As you do, also move your head to the other side of their head. Next, bring the arm of your thumb grip to the other side of their head, 'shaving' close to their face. This is to set up the choke, putting your wrists on both sides of their neck.

Once you've got the thumb arm into position, so that both carotid arteries are blocked off, move your forehead to the floor directly above their head. Twist your wrists and drop your weight into them to finish the choke. Roy Dean provides a handy pointer here, which is to shift your hips forward slightly, still basing on your head. That will give you a little extra leverage, should you need it.

I also added in my preferred cross choke variation from Michel Verhoeven. After you've inserted your first hand, start to raise your partner towards you slightly. Bring your second arm around to the other side of their head, then 'shave' back across their face to position that arm by their neck. Grab a handful of gi by their shoulder, then drop your elbow so your forearm is over their throat. This second arm doesn't move after that point: the choke comes from twisting the first hand and drawing that first elbow back.

Teaching Notes: I am tending to show a variation, which I wasn't doing earlier. I'm not sure if it is better to leave out the variation and keep it focused: I probably should do that, as I think I cut into sparring time a bit due to the variation. Though personally I much prefer the variation, I could just teach that on another day or next time. I have to be careful I don't get bogged down in too much detail, it's something I can add in during drilling.

The main problem people were having was, I think, not getting those grips close enough to the neck. One of the students also said they were struggling if their partner got a hand to defend. I don't advocate crushing through the hand for a choke, so my solution to that would be going for something else. E.g., if you can't get the cross choke without brute force and bone crushing, I'd suggest using the position to move your knees up higher. That could lead to an americana, or just taking the back.

24/11/2014 - Artemis BJJ | Open Mat | Closed & Open Guard Troubleshooting

Class #605
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 24/11/2014

Bristol Sports Centre has now fully rebranded to MyGym, with big banners outside. I thought the other name was good (must be handy for SEO), but I can see how making it sound really personal and friendly is a sensible marketing plan too. Great venue either way, so I hope it brings them lots more members. :)

Chris mentioned he was heading off to London later this week and busy at work, so wasn't going to be able to head to class. As his work is flexible and I haven't started my new job yet, we decided we could just meet up and train for an hour earlier in the day. I started by running through what I was going to teach in class tonight (the cross-choke from mount: as I'm writing this up several days later, I can link to it), then we did lots of troubleshooting on open guard and closed guard.

Like I was saying in my write-up of the class at RGA Bucks on the weekend, my guard has been getting stagnant, especially my closed guard. It's my biggest problem at the moment, so I was relishing the chance to really dig into it with Chris. Again, as I'm writing this up a few days later and I've done a few sessions with Chris (Tuesday and Wednesday too). It has really, really helped. My closed and open guard feels way more pro-active now, so hopefully I can translate that into general training.

Anyway, on Monday I started off playing the collar grip, in order to both maintain guard but also go attack for the choke. I wanted to practice what Dónal taught about punching the arm across to get the second arm in. He also had some cool tips about bringing their far arm across, though I keep struggling to get that in sparring. You can do back takes too, armbars and triangles. Might be I need to grip lower, use my hips more or something.

Key thing is getting under the chin, as Chris was doing a great job of tucking his chin down, blocking the second grip. He suggested pulling him in with my legs and generally messing around with his balance, then working the grip under the chin. If you pull them in and they sit back, then you can go for a sweep, namely the sit-up sweep. Shoving my fist into the collar bone works, but I need to also control an arm. Or bail to a normal sit-up sweep, but I'm loathe to abandon that deep grip if I don't have to.

We ramped up the resistance a bit, doing the usual SBG 'aliveness' thing I like so much. More back takes would be good, kicking the knee out in order to move around. I also played with the mawashi grip, where initially nothing was happening, until I realised I again wasn't sitting up. I had more success once I did, though I still found he kept blocking with his arm, so I need to control that somehow.

If I keep the lapel in my first hand (the same side one to their leg) rather than switching to the opposite hand, that seemed to make it a bit easier. Hooking behind their leg with my same side leg was useful too, especially if I could then drive off my free leg. Getting the right angle is again central, stopping them getting into a strong square-on position. More on guard tomorrow and Wednesday! Tuesday was especially useful for my closed guard, revolutionary even, but we'll see if I manage to apply that in regular sparring. It's one thing doing it in drilling, even resistance drilling/specific sparring, quite another to regularly hit it against full resistance. :D

This may be the first time I've trained and taught on the same day, but I'm not sure. It will be on this blog somewhere, but meh: the class later today is written up here, cross-choke from mount (Verhoeven variation with Roger Gracie tips).