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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a brown belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2021 Can Sönmez

23 July 2021

23/07/2021 - Clifton Friday | Basics with Jimi

Class #1240
Artemis BJJ (213 Whiteladies Rd), Bristol, UK - 23/07/2021

The Clifton classes are small in normal times, so they are particularly quiet while we build things back up from the pandemic. So while tonight would normally be a more formal class, as it was just Jimi it was effectively another daytime type format. Meaning I can just put up the video again. ;)

23/07/2021 - Friday daytime | Passing theory & pressing armbar

Class #1239
Artemis BJJ (Easton Rd), Bristol, UK - 23/07/2021

Right back into the old swing of things with lots of daytime, live streamed over Facebook. It's started off slow, with just one person, but that meant I could go into detail on some passing theory. I also talked about the pressing armbar, as I want to teach that next week.

22 July 2021

22/07/2021 - First daytime class since the pandemic started

Class #1238
Artemis BJJ (Easton Rd), Bristol, UK - 22/07/2021

Wow, it's been a long time! It felt really good to be back teaching properly again though, and actually being able to wander around and correct people. Also, answering technical questions, I'd forgotten how much I enjoy being able to chat about technique and help people improve.

I practiced something new (for me) today, which is going for the armbar off the 2-on-1 grip break set up. It was a good practice for next Monday, fitting in well with the techniques I've taught this week. I'm going to keep playing, but getting an arm under the leg is one big help for this. Also, considering how to maintain control of their posture while getting perpendicular and then a leg over the head. That's something I'm also going to keep playing with, checking videos, etc. I've got lots of prep time, so I should have a solid lesson plan by the time I get to next Monday.

It was also really good to finally spar again on Monday and Wednesday, with Weronika M. She's smaller than me, but not quite as small as thought (in the 60kg+ range, so only a 10kg difference max, rather than the 20kg or more I thought). Particularly as the other awesome Polish blue belt student I used to train with has unfortunately moved to bath. ;)

21/07/2021 - Teaching | Closed Guard | Swivel Kick Sweep

Teaching #960
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 21/07/2021



What I've so far been calling the windscreen wiper sweep is something I was first shown by Ciaran at the Belfast Throwdown. That's also the terminology he used. I next saw it demonstrated on Andre Anderson's closed guard DVD, where he called it the 'Rey Diogo sweep', naming it after his instructor. John Will does something similar he dubs the 'bearhug ankle lift', except that his grips are different. I think I'm going to start referring to it as a 'swivel kick sweep' from now on in the interests of being descriptive. It also highlights the part of the sweep most people forget to do, so hopefully calling it that will help students remember the important bit.

You have various options for grips, but I tend to start by grabbing their same side trouser leg. Another common variation is off the two on one grip break. It starts much the same as the back take from the same grip break (and indeed combines well, you can switch between those techniques). Gather their sleeve in your fist (i.e., a pistol grip), then your other hand goes underneath their arm, grabbing your own wrist. The positioning here matters: you want to get the sleeve grip with your arm on the inside.



With that configuration, you can either punch straight up to break their grip, or angle your hips away slightly. Make sure that you maintain your grip on their sleeve, straightening your arm. You want to push their arm across their body, while simultaneously pulling in with your knees. The intention is to collapse them on top of their arm. Due to the grip configuration, your outside hand can reach around to their far armpit. Hook your fingers in for a solid hold, then twist your elbow in firmly. Combined with your stiff-arming sleeve grip, that should rotate their torso and make it hard for them to turn back towards you.

Grab either the outside of their knee or the lower part of their trousers (keeping in mind you don't want your fingers inside the cuff of their trousers). Be careful, as if your opponent knows this sweep, they may post their other leg out to stop you. Put your same side foot by that other leg, keeping it tight so there is no room for them to wriggle. If you can get their wrist up in order to grab it and pull the arm around their head (known as a gift wrap), that will make the switch much easier, but it is possible to do the sweep without.



To get an optimal angle for this sweep, swivel your body perpendicular. You should end up looking into their ear, in a similar motion to Ryan Hall's triangle finish, or the armbar. You can then kick your leg into their side, fitting with Hall's theory of bringing larger muscle groups to bear rather than small ones. You are kicking directly forwards, using your hamstring, rather than swinging your leg over, which would use your abductors. Lift their leg (either a trouser grip or hooking under the leg, if they step up) and roll into mount.

You should end up in a solid low mount. I'd suggest immediately staying low and grabbing their head, focusing on solidifying the mount before you continue. Keep hold of their leg, as well as the sleeve if you gripped it earlier, extending that sleeve forwards. Holding the leg makes it hard for them to bridge, while holding the sleeve and straightening the arm could lead directly into a submission, such as an americana. To further help with that, slide your knee up on the sleeve grip side, so they can't bring their elbow back to their side.



That's the variation I find works best for me, hence calling it swivel kick. It works well off the leg clamp too, as well as off other ways of getting to a back take from closed guard.

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Teaching Notes: Nothing much to add, I'm pretty confident about this one. As ever I'm emphasising the gift wrap, so for next time it would be good to practice other grips a bunch, as well as follow ups when things go wrong. I'm going to teach an armbar from that same position, that should bring up some more stuff to think about for next time.

20 July 2021

19/07/2021 - Closed Guard | Maintaining | Breaking Grips & Posture

Teaching #959
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 19/07/2021




To attack the closed guard, you are generally going to have to break down your opponent's posture first. That begins from your positioning in the closed guard. Bring your hips up into them to take away space, making it harder for them to start opening your guard. Keep your knees up into their armpits if possible, walking your legs up their back when you can. Your legs are much stronger than your arms: make sure you're using both to break their posture. Alternatively, to make it hard for them to stand up, you can bring your feet down while they're locked behind their back.



If they have managed to get their hands on you, the most basic method of breaking posture is probably pulling their elbows out and then towards you. This is particularly handy if they've got both hands on your hips, or something like that. Using your legs is key here, to help you pull them forwards. If they have one elbow digging back into your leg and you can't pull it back with one hand, reach across with both, then yank that elbow back. This could have the added advantage of enabling you to pull that arm to the other side of your body, very useful for attacking.



The same applies if they want to stand. Carefully time the right moment, then as soon as you feel their bum rise away from their heels, pull your knees towards your chest. That should knock them back onto the ground. It could also put you in a better position than before, as they may end up falling into you, meaning you can get superior control. Ideally, they'll make the mistake of posting on their hands, as that means you can go for various attacks, like the kimura. As Jason Scully advises, you don't have to just pull straight towards you: twisting can knock them right into an omoplata, or at worst help you to start creating angles.

If you want to maintain closed guard, then you need to stop them setting up their pass. If they try to pass from the knees, the first thing they normally do is put a knee into your tailbone, or somewhere else on your bottom. The easy way to scupper that is to grab onto the gi material by their knee and shift your hips back over to the middle. That can be very frustrating for the person trying to pass, which is good for distracting them and working an opening to attack. On the downside, it can consume a fair bit of energy, as you might find yourself doing it repeatedly if they're really persistent. Another option is a very simple sweep from Henry Akins, where you just pop your hips over to the opposite side and knock them over.

When they have the standard grips from closed guard, with one hand grabbing your collars by your chest and the other back by the hip, the two-on-one grip break is a good one to try. Gather their sleeve in your fist (i.e., a pistol grip), then your other hand goes underneath their arm, grabbing your own wrist. The positioning here matters: you want to get the sleeve grip with your arm on the inside. With that configuration, you can either punch straight up to break their grip, or angle your hips away slightly.



Make sure that you maintain your grip on their sleeve, straightening your arm. You want to push their arm across their body, while simultaneously pulling in with your knees. The intention is to collapse them on top of their arm. Due to the grip configuration, your outside hand can reach around to their far armpit. Hook your fingers in for a solid hold, then twist your elbow in firmly. Combined with your stiff-arming sleeve grip, that should rotate their torso and make it hard for them to turn back towards you. You can now shrimp slightly away from them, keeping your bottom foot in tight to act as your first hook.

Shrimping away may be enough to drop them into back control. If not, use the heel of your top foot to dig into their hip, spinning them into back control. You can also use that same grip break to move into the overhook guard. Pull the sleeve behind your hand, bring your elbow from inside to outside. Reach through for their opposite collar and lock in your elbow, then you have lots of attacks from that overhook guard (overhook choke, triangle, sweep, pressing armbar, etc).



My favourite option builds on the simple posture break, as I like to weave my hands into a shoulder clamp. When you pull them down, reach one hand under the armpit, the other around their head. Lock your hands palm to palm (this is known as a 'gable grip', clamping down on their shoulder. When the time is right, loop your arm over their head, tightening your grip even more firmly by their shoulder. You can now start to angle off, rotating your hips in the direction of that shoulder, bringing your knee up their back to press their head down. This sets you up for pressing armbars, omoplatas, backtakes, etc. Swimming through to an overhook is another option.



Another option, which I made up a while ago but I am sure I'm not the first to use it, is to bend that arm in a different way. Grab their collar, then weave your same side arm inside, aiming to bend their elbow. You can then switch directly into a shoulder clamp.



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Teaching Notes: Wow, I did NOT expect it to be over a year and half later until I could teach normally again! Today social distancing has been dropped, which certainly makes teaching much easier. Naturally there are various other major worries, given how utterly incompetent the mendacious bunch of arseholes in the Tory govt are, but in terms of training at least, I'm confident we can get back to almost normal in a way that is relatively safe (we have lots of measures in place, like the beefy ventilation system I had installed).

Class went well. I spoke too long (10 mins, I usually aim for 5 mins), but then this was the first one back and there were a bunch of new beginners. Next time, I can cut down the amount of chat about closed guard as a theory etc, concentrating more on the posture breaks.