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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 February 2017

10/02/2017 - Teaching | Open Guard | Schreiner Leg Sit Pass

Teaching #630
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 10/02/2017

This is yet another technique I wanted to try out from the Paul Schreiner Precise Pressure Passing app I'm reviewing, probably the last one off that as we're moving away from guard next month. The idea is essentially to sit on their legs: Schreiner sits right on the ankles. You also grab their collars, staying low and moving with them if they try to free a leg. Your goal is to gradually bring one of their knees past the centre line of your chest (e.g., guiding it across with your elbow). Once it drifts over there, you can collapse their knees to the ground with all your weight on top.

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Sprawl over their legs, pressing your chest into the middle of their thigh to pin their legs to the mat. Moving around behind, using your hand to maintain the pin on the legs, then switch to side control.

Teaching Notes: I have been testing this pass out over the last couple of weeks. While I haven't always gotten it the way its shown on the app, it has helped my passing in general. Even if I can only squash one leg, that is often enough to enable a move into a knee cut. I've also experimented with sitting higher on their shins, to make it tougher for them to wriggle a leg free. That seems to be the big difficulty with this pass, keeping those legs caged. Schreiner calls it the folding pass, a term I've heard before, so it is presumably common. I'll keep playing with it before I teach it again, though I think it was useful. Looked like the students all picked up the idea ok. :)

I'm calling it the leg sit pass at the moment, in an effort to be descriptive. Folding pass doesn't seem like it relates to the pass sufficiently for me, at least not the start of it. But I'll see how it goes. I have a similar problem with the knee cut, as I want to refer to that as the knee slide instead to emphasise it is a slide. An experiment in the power of language and terminology. ;)

08 February 2017

08/02/2017 - Teaching | Open Guard | Maintaining

Teaching #629
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/02/2017

Using your legs is key in closed guard, and perhaps even more so with open guard. To help develop that ability to use the legs, I wanted to start with the great drilling sequence I learned from Kev Capel up at RGA Bucks. The idea is to improve your guard recovery. It begins on your back, while they pass your legs, but only to the level of your knees. Bring your outside foot over and hook inside their nearest leg.

Use that to pull yourself back into position, bringing your other leg through to re-establish a square-on open guard. For the next stage of the drill, they pass to your hip rather than your knee. That requires you to frame your hands against their leg and shrimp out, before recovering guard as before.

For teaching, I decided to use an extended metaphor, as if jiu jitsu was an ancient battlefield where you are facing a cavalry charge. The best way to defeat a cavalry charge is with polearms, like a spear. Stab that at their hips, knees, shoulders, stomach, arms, whatever makes for a good point of purchase. Or perhaps you have a different polearm, like a billhook, so you can also pull your attacker off their horse (i.e., pull against the back of their knees to affect their balance).

If they get fed up of trying to pass your spears, they might dismount and engage lower down. Now is the time to bring your shield to bear, which in this context is your knee and shin. Push that against their stomach, shoulders, arms etc to prevent them driving forward. That should give you enough space to draw your sword. You might have a straight stabbing sword, stiff-arming into their hips, shoulders and collar. Perhaps you also have a curved sword, slicing and swinging (in our BJJ context, that's grabbing the collar and pulling). But that curved sword/bent arm is no good for stabbing: if you're going to use a straight sword/stiff arm, if needs to stay straight to be effective.

Also keep in mind that they have swords too. Therefore use your swords and spears to parry, preventing their attack. Put your shield in place, which is your knee and shin pressed against their shoulder and/or chest, then use a stiff arm into their shoulder and or wrist: that takes their arm out of commission. You can also parry their sword with your spears, pushing your foot into their bicep. Remember, you can always keep resetting to the previous level. Having held them off with your sword and shield, bring your spear back in (so, blocking them with your stiff arms and knees may give you the scope to put a foot on their knee or hip, push back and return to a long range guard).

Finally, in BJJ there is a major weak spot in your armour: the section from above your knees to your chest. You therefore need to defend this area, keeping it safe from attack. Conversely. if you are attacking, that's the place to aim for and control.

Or to put it another way without metaphors, in open guard, your feet can be used both for creating distance and for maintaining control. In terms of pushing, the main areas are on the knees, the hips and in the biceps (as you would with spider guard). You can also hook behind the knee with your feet, which is part of many open guard sweeps. Make sure that you always have both your feet on them, rather than the floor. There are also little tricks you can use here, like sitting on their foot.

If they're standing, then grabbing behind their foot is the main grip you'll look for with your hand. I've heard conflicting reports from black belts on whether it is better to grip the bottom of the trouser leg or the heel, so I'd suggest experimenting with both (unless you don't have a gi, in which case you're stuck with grabbing the heel). Generally speaking, you always want to be grabbing something with at least one of your hands: as with your feet, keep them engaged on your opponent, rather than on the floor.

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Kev has a great tweak on grabbing with the heel, where you pull that heel into your hip. That makes it harder for them to do the classic escape of kicking their foot out in a circle to break your hold. Even better, try to pull the foot off the floor slightly as you clamp it to your hip. That will unbalance them, setting you up perfectly for the tripod/sickle sweep combination.

If they're on their knees, then your own knees come more into play. You can use those for control in a similar way to your feet, again putting them into their biceps and hips, along with areas like their chest and shoulder, depending on their positioning.

While your legs are key and your first line of defence, the arms can act as a handy second or even third line of defence should they beat your legs. 'Stiff arming' into their legs, shoulders, arms etc can give you the space you need to recover back to an earlier line of defence. An alternative is to sit up into what is, appropriately, known as 'sitting guard', stiff arming from there. That can open up several sweeps and attacks.

I also added in a point from Christian Graugart at the 2016 BJJ Globetrotter Camp in Leuven. His opening lesson was titled 'jiu jitsu explained in 30 seconds', on which he delivered. In short, his argument was that jiu jitsu is all controlling the area from the knees up to the chest. On top, you're trying to get something into that space - your arm, your leg, your torso - while on the bottom, you're attempting to defend that space, keeping your knees to your chest.

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I finished with those sparring drills again, learned from Kev: they're really useful for maintaining open guard. As before, the idea is to build up leg movement. To do that, the first round is sparring open guard, but only using your legs: both of your hands are tucked into your belt (or behind your back if you don't have a belt), whether you're on top or on the bottom (make sure to pull them back out if you're about to fall on your face!). That's followed by sparring with legs and one hand, then finally normal open guard sparring, with the proviso that you aren't allowed to close your guard. There's a bit of video up on the Artemis BJJ Instagram page.

Teaching Notes: I could probably explain the shields (shins/knees) and swords (arms) part better, I think I rushed it a bit tonight. The idea of 'parrying' the swords with your own swords and shields. Then again, the main thing in this class are the drills anyway. Big turnout, which was cool: twenty people. Technically twenty two, if I include the two who left after Paul's class, but that would be cheating. ;)

07 February 2017

07/02/2017 - Episode Seven of The Artemis BJJ Podcast | Open Mat (Tuesday)

Class #801
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - -07/02/2017

Episode Seven of The Artemis BJJ Podcast is now up, here. This was a great interview I did with Carlos, Roger and Jean Machado a while back, which gave me a lot of ideas I would incorporate into my teaching (e.g., the review I do at the end of every class). We also chatted at length about the history of BJJ and the Machados specifically, such as the important role of their student Chuck Norris.

The Artemis #BJJ #Podcast is back, with @1carlosmachado1, @rogermachadobjj & @livethemachlife: Thanks to @fenomkimonos for setting up the original #interview I did for @bjjstyle, back in 2012. Carlos is the man responsible for the butterfly sweep I taught last week at #ArtemisBJJ, off his fantastic 'Unstoppable' DVD. Also, two upcoming seminars to mention. The first is on Sunday 19th March with #NeilOwen from @infinitymartialarts. That's followed by top female black belt #GretZoeller on the 9th April. Both are 12:00-15:00 @MYGYM_Bristol and only £20, everybody welcome! :) _____________________________________________ #brazilianjiujitsu #BrazilianJiuJitsuPodcast #Machado #MachadoBrothers #Machados #MachadoBJJ #RCJmachado #CarlosMachado #BJJpodcast #ArtemisBJJpodcast

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At open mat today, I went through a bunch of techniques with two of the newer students, as well as getting in some drilling myself with Matt. I'm continuing to play with those reverse de la Riva techniques, as I'm still attached to the idea of a knee shield type open guard option. With what I've been calling the tilt sweep, I think that will get blocked quite often, but the position lends itself to a switch into the butterfly sweep. Having that hook at the ready is useful generally, as long as I can get some kind of arm control and their body position is low.

The pull to back from reverse de la Riva, which is also a defence to the over under pass, can be tough on your fingers. I therefore tried out just pushing their head down, which works, but it feels sloppy and scrambly at the moment. The grips could potentially lead into a loop choke, though that's not a choke I go for all that much. Something I should perhaps try more, but as it's another grip heavy one, I don't want to rely on stuff that will continue to bash up my fingers.

I also had a good drill with Matt J in Paul's class on Wednesday, which I'll add in here as it fits (more reverse de la Riva). I was trying the reverse de la Riva tripod sweep, as I think that could be a good introduction for people to reverse de la Riva in general. There are a few different ways of doing it, with or without grabbing the leg, which also combine with attempts to block the knee cut, so I like that. I want to prepare an 'intro to de la Riva lesson', so I will test that out on Monday. Hopefully the knee cut block part is simple enough that I can throw in a tripod sweep follow up too.

A useful point to note from the way Lachlan Giles teaches it (he has a good vid up of RVDLR 101) is blocking their cross-face. If they cross face you, the reverse de la Riva is squashed. You therefore want to be ready to block their arm. If you can block their arm, then you can also grab the wrist/sleeve and stuff it under your leg. That blocks the knee cut, though it would make the tripod sweep a bit trickier, I guess? Depends if you could still somehow hook their knee from there. Recovering closed guard is another option Giles shows, lifting the hips up to grab the closed guard. That could be another handy follow-up, but I don't think it would fit in the sequence I've been showing this month.