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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

26 August 2015

26/08/2015 - Teaching | Half Guard | Lapel Trap Choke

Teaching #379
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/08/2015

Continuing that sequence from top half guard I learned from Jason Scully's Grapplers Guide, I moved on to a choke. This technique directly follows on from what we learned on Monday, though it is possible to do it on its own too.

If you've gone for the lapel trap americana but they've freed their arm, immediately shoot your other hand underneath the lapel. Get that to the other side of their neck. Pull on the lapel with your cross facing hand, chopping into their neck with your lapel hand. You end up with a submission similar to an ezequiel.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: As you can see from the brief description, this technique is quite simple. There wasn't much to correct during drilling, though a few people who hadn't been there on Monday needed a few pointers on the grip. It would be good to cover some non-lapel dependent submissions from top half guard, but I like the lapel trap stuff. A kimura from the top is something I'll probably add in next time, but this time round, I'll finish off the month with a rolling back back.

Sparring Chris, I was just holding him off for the majority of the time, resetting to double paw whenever I could. He went for the lapel trap a few times, which I was able to defend by getting my elbow to my side and gradually unwinding my hand. As I'd just taught he then looked to go for the choke, but knowing that's what he'd do, I was ready to block and start shrimping free. I had a go at the kimura, not very successfully as he buried his arm. Eventually I recovered guard, still probably my preferred option in half guard.

I managed to get on top with Paul, the other blue belt there tonight, during free sparring. He was attempting to entangle me in spider guard. I think I would have been in trouble if he'd managed to off balance me, but I ended up in a stable position, from which it was a matter of patience to free my arm and lock in side control.

I can't remember how I got on top: must have been some kind of sweep, as I started in bottom half guard. Tripod sweep, maybe? In an ideal world, I'd be able to write these up straight after class, but I try to avoid that as having laptops/phones on late definitely affects my sleep. ;)

26/08/2015 - Teaching | Women's Class | Butterfly Sweep

Teaching #378
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/08/2015

Marcelo Garcia has written that when passing butterfly guard, it's important to keep in mind that "unlike the closed guard or half guard, in the butterfly guard, your opponent is not trying to hold you in place." In my opinion, the ensuing dynamism and movement makes butterfly guard a more advanced position, which requires greater sensitivity and timing than closed or half guard.

So, I stuck with the most basic technique in butterfly, which is the classic butterfly sweep. There are three main grips to try. Two less common options are grabbing the neck, or grabbing the same side sleeve and collar (or neck and wrist in nogi): the latter can be useful if you want to transition to a choke in gi, or perhaps back to closed guard to go for a scissor or knee push sweep. On Carlos Machado's excellent Unstoppable DVD all about this sweep, he shows many more variations, but it is definitely a higher level instructional (so, I wouldn't recommend beginners pick it up). The orthodox method is to establish a deep underhook with your arm, reaching around their back and/or grabbing their belt.

Saulo Ribeiro emphasises that you must be close with the shoulder to generate sufficient leverage. Saulo also likes to put a hand out behind him for base (just like the cross-grip guard I've taught previously, along with the stiff arm guard I've been working on), which contrasts with others who prefer to grab the knee. It is worth experimenting with several options. One of the best parts about training in jiu jitsu is that it is so individual. There is rarely a single 'right' way to do any technique, which is also part of what makes jiu jitsu so complex.

Whatever grip, drop to your shoulder on the sleeve grabbing arm, lifting as you drop. Switch your legs, bringing one under the other in order to establish scarf hold, heavy on your cross face. If you've lifted them up but they aren't going over, try hopping towards your lifting leg with your other leg. That should eventually provide the leverage to knock them to the mat.

Teaching Notes: Went fairly well. A few people got confused by feet positioning, having one slightly out in order to act as a post once you've dropped to your side. Also, people weren't lifting all that high, so perhaps relying too much on the arms as a sort of throw? Then again, still works, which is the main thing. Perhaps I'm not lifting as high as I think, because I haven't filmed myself doing this: it would be interesting to know.

24 August 2015

24/08/2015 - Teaching | Half Guard | Lapel Trap Americana

Teaching #377
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 24/08/2015

From the top of half guard, there's a cool attack sequence I learned from Jason Scully's Grapplers Guide. Establish a strong cross face and solidify your base. When you're feeling secure, yank out their far lapel, getting as much material as you can. Pull that over their far arm, trapping their wrist to their shoulder. Feed the lapel to your cross-facing hand, gripping as near their wrist as you can. Use your head to press their arm to the floor.

From here, you can continue to twist on their lapel, going for the submission. If you need extra leverage, switch the lapel back to your other hand and continue rotating. If that's still not enough leverage, you can always transition into a standard americana. Your head control on their wrist should help you set up the typical grips on the wrist and finish the lock as normal. If you keep their wrist trapped with the lapel, you can do the normal americana, but with the added bonus that they can't unbend their arm due to the lapel.

Teaching Notes: I think this technique isn't overly complicated, but today reminded me that's only if you're already familiar with the americana. Most of the problems I was helping people with during drilling related to a standard americana, not the lapel grips or anything like that. Which makes me wonder if it is worth going through the normal americana from a half guard position, as some didn't know it?

The main problem was the same as usual, with people focusing too much on lifting the elbow rather than pushing the knuckles back like a paintbrush. I will be going through it during side control month, as I almost always do for side control month, but then if somebody missed that because they start after it, potential issues. Then again, that's not going to be a huge number of people and I can always add a quick amerciana basics section for when I next teach them. Or even take the new people aside and show them an americana?

Either way, this should flow nicely into side control month next week, as you can do much the same thing with the lapel off my favoured gi tail choke, when they try to block the lapel with their arm.

23 August 2015

23/08/2015 - Open Mat | Jeff Rockwell Sit-Up Escape System vs North South & Knee Cut

Class #661
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 23/08/2015

Great open mat today, which also marks the first week that every single class has been in double digit attendance. Yay! Fittingly, an old training partner popped back in today, with the excellent news that he's moved back to Bristol, so should be with us regularly soon.

My primary goal today was to work on some more material from Jeff Rockwell's instructional (having started that at the previous open mat), covering what he calls the sit-up escape. I prefer calling it the stiff arm, though the actions of sitting up and holding your arm straight are both important to it, so take your pick. The comprehensive system he's shared via Artechoke Media progresses what I used to think of as just a side control escape into a myriad of application.

Of those, the two I focused on today were escaping north south and a pass counter. For the north-south escape, you need to get your arms into their armpits. Bridge, making enough space to bring one arm across to the other side, resulting in both your arms braced behind one of theirs. With your inside arm (i.e., the one that your brought across), grab the gi material by their elbow and stiff arm it away, straightening your arm.

Put your other arm behind you, using that as base. Sit up (you'll probably need to swing your legs for the momentum), continuing to push and keeping your stiff arm straight. Swivel to face them and recover your guard. My training partner Paul did an interesting spin, which was cool. It seemed effective when we switched roles and he was escaping my north south (exactly why I always switch roles when drilling stuff at open mat, as it often brings a new perspective to the technique I hadn't considered), but I felt more comfortable with the standard move out to the side Rockwell shows.

The next option was a stiff arm counter to the knee cut. Right at the moment their foot slides off your leg, sit up and stiff arm into their shoulder. Swing your legs out of the way (towards their head), reversing them to enable you to establish side control. I wasn't swinging my legs enough, though I was still able to get the reversal.

Switching roles, I tried to break the technique: the main thing that hindered it was quickly changing my angle to perpendicular as soon as I passed, as well as not leaning towards the underhook. However, with the stiff arm in place, that still generally gave Paul enough space to recover guard. I was impressed with how effective it seemed to be: I'm wondering if there is a risk of getting armbarred, will test that next time.

In sparring, I was trying to start under north south, but we seemed to quickly end up with me under side control doing that, so I didn't have time to try the escape. Today emphasised how my A game is very much knee cut to side control to either gi choke or some kind of arm attack. I'm liking armbars much more than before now, though I still feel safer with the north-south kimura. I'm not doing an especially good job of breaking their grip on armbars, though I am getting better at switching from side to side.

My omoplata attempts in closed guard weren't working too well. I was missing the switch into an armbar or triangle, something I should work on a bit more. Adding the collar tie from Rockwell's system has been handy for my open guard, giving me a helpful block to their passing efforts. I also landed the crucifix armbar, which was cool: I haven't done that in a while. This time I remembered my crucifix grips properly, unlike when I was last at RGA Bucks and totally forgot about controlling the non-leg wrapped arm.

Attacks from half guard all next week, using the lapel. That's had a big impact on my half guard, having trialled the submission series out over this month. I tried the same lapel trap to americana into a choke today, but off side control. It works from there too, though I wasn't able to lock off the choke as he managed to defend the other side of his neck with his hand. Keeping the Terere triangle option when I have the arm wrapped would be good too, although that does mean I lose the position, so lower down the chain for me.