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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

27 November 2015

27/11/2015 - Teaching | The Back | Crucifix (Kneeling) Shoulder Lock

Teaching #429
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 27/11/2015

Tonight I shared a technique from the Dave Jacobs seminar I went to in 2014, from the kneeling crucifix (as Aesopian dubs it in Mastering the Crucifix). Secure the crucifix by driving your knee in from the side ride, flaring your knee out, then hooking their arm with your other heel. Drag their arm back and make sure it stays trapped between your legs.

Put the knee nearest their head slightly forward, still controlling their arm. Turn to face their legs, grabbing their ankle to anchor yourself in place, with your head in line with their bum. At this point you will need to switch your legs, so that you can get the leg further away from their head closer to their wrist. Twist your body and swing the leg furthest from their head backwards, still hooking the arm. Do this movement gradually, as that shoulder lock can come on quickly, depending on their flexibility.

Teaching Notes: When I last taught this just over a year ago, it was as part of a month focused on the crucifix. We haven't done anywhere near as much from the turtle this time around, so I think people were finding it tougher than last time (though previously it was mostly people around the same level, IIRC). Before I teach this again, I'll make sure it's in the context of a series of lessons around the turtle and the crucifix specifically.

The initial entry caused some confusion as people were trying to slide their whole leg across, rather than just sliding the knee sideways. They also weren't always bringing the second leg all the way under the arm. I think that's because it wasn't in the context of going for the crucifix, but specifically for this shoulder lock, where you switch the legs anyway.

Another problematic part was getting the angle on the arm. There it looks like the issue was people weren't bringing their head around far enough. The head should be in line with their bum, while the other knee is by their head, not too far from the first knee. That should then put you in the right spot to get the leverage you need when you 'dog leg'.

Next time, it will make more sense to perhaps show this one after I've shown a crucifix entry with the choke. Then I could show the crucifix armbar, and if I get some more experienced people, maybe the reverse omoplata again too. But yeah, quite complex for beginners (though it can be done, worked ok last time when I had a whole month of it), so needs plenty of build up. ;)

25 November 2015

25/11/2015 - Teaching | The Back | Maintaining & Switch to Mount

Teaching #428
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 25/11/2015

BJJ Bristol Artemis Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - The BackThe back is a great position to be in. There are lots of submissions, your opponent can't easily see what you're doing, and you'll also get four points in competition (once you've got your hooks in). The first thing to note is a basic safety point, which is don't cross your feet. If you cross your feet, then all your partner has to do is cross their feet over yours and bridge, footlocking you. Instead, you want to be hooking your insteps inside their legs, or digging your heels in. The idea is to generate enough connection with your feet that when your partner rolls to one side, you will roll with them.

Second, you want to get a good grip with your arms. The harness grip (as always, various other names, like over-under and seatbelt) is a solid option for both gi and nogi. Begin by getting an arm under their same side armpit, so they can't slide down (as otherwise they can go for the scoop escape). If they have a gi, you can help secure the position by grabbing their opposite collar. The other arm comes over their shoulder.

If you can't grab a collar, then link your hands together, using that to lock yourself in place. You could also grab under both arms grabbing a collar, which is a excellent way to hold them in place. However, that means both your arms are occupied: for attacks, you have more options if you keep one arm free, to go over the shoulder.

Your arm by the shoulder is the one you'll be looking to shift into their neck and/or grabbing a collar, where you can start working for a choke. Stephan Kesting advises that rather than linking hands, you can grab your own arm, which in turn means you are blocking the best grip your opponent wants to get. As ever, play around and see what you prefer.

Third, keep your chest pressed against their upper back. To escape, they need to create space, so don't let them have any: stay glued to their upper back. You also don't want them to put you flat on your back, like in the bridge escape we saw last week, as then they can start moving their hips. If you drop back, make sure you've moved to the side. However, your ideal position is getting them face down.

Fourth, follow them with your hips, similar as when you're in their guard. If you keep moving your hips to square back up whenever they try and shift away, that again stops them creating space.

Finally, you want to keep your head locked to theirs, providing additional control. It also helps you to see what they're doing. Otherwise, their head would be blocking your line of sight. Place your head next to theirs on the armpit hand side, as that way you're controlling both sides of their skull.

I finished off with the simple way of recovering mount from the back. They've cleared one hook and managed to put their shoulders onto the mat. It will be tough to regain your back mount from here, especially if they've moved over your leg. As soon as you feel their bum move past your knee, bring your remaining hook over their body and clamp the heel to their far hip. Make sure it is providing you with enough control that they can't simply shrug you off. Pull out your elbow for base, then turn and slide through into mount, using your heel for leverage.

Teaching Notes: I forgot to mention the option of locking your arms or grabbing the gi and pulling it under their armpits. Neither of those are much good for attacking, but they are handy to know for control, so good to throw in. I'll put those in next time.

Also, on the switch to mount, it's good to emphasise that you want to jam your heel into their far hip. A few people were trying to drive their knee down. That can work, but without jamming your heel in place, they might be able to slip their knee under and begin to escape.

In terms of a neck injury update, that's not looking good for the weekend, so unfortunately I may well have to delay my planned trip to my instructor's school in Aylesbury. With xmas, that means it will probably be February until I get another chance to drop in to RGA Bucks. But can't be helped, not much point if I'm injured and can't roll or drill properly.

25/11/2015 - Teaching | Women's Class | Maintaining Mount

Teaching #427
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 20/11/2015

There are two basic types of mount to choose from, which I call low and high. Once you've achieved mount, I find that low mount provides the most control. First off, you want to immobilise their hips, as their main method of making space is to bridge up forcefully.

Bring your feet right back, threading them around their legs to establish two hooks: this is known as a grapevine. Alternatively, you can also cross your feet underneath (or just near, depending on your flexibility and leg length) their bum, which has the advantage of making it much harder for them to push your hooks off. Your knees are ideally off the ground, to generate maximum pressure. How far off the ground they are depends on your dimensions: the key is getting loads of hip pressure. Another option, which I learned from Rob Stevens at Gracie Barra Birmingham, is to put the soles of your feet together and then bring your knees right off the floor.

Whichever option you're going for, thrust those hips into them. It's important to get into a position where you can thrust your hips down, rather than getting bunched up so your bum starts going into the air. Use your hands for base, where again you have a couple of options. Either have both arms out, or put one under the head (remember, you can always remove it for base if you're really getting thrown hard to that side) while the other goes out wide for base.

Try to grip the gi material by their opposite shoulder, or even better, by the opposite armpit. Keep your head on the basing arm side, loading up your weight there. If they're bridging hard, you can switch from side to side, lifting their head slightly and bringing your other arm under, meaning your remaining arm bases out to the other side.

To do the trap and roll/upa escape, they will need to get control of your arm. So, don't let them grab it and crush your arm to their side. Instead, swim your arm through, like Ryron and Rener demonstrate in the third slice of the third lesson in Gracie Combatives. Be sure to do it one at a time, or you may get both arms squashed to your sides.

Teaching Notes: As often with the women's class, I added in more techniques because it tends to be smaller numbers. We also ran through the transition to high mount, as well as looking at armbars from mount. All fits together nicely. I briefly touched on the ezequiel choke, but given only one person had a gi, decided against showing that one. ;)

23 November 2015

23/11/2015 - Teaching | The Back | Regaining Hooks

Teaching #426
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 23/11/2015

Tonight I wanted to go through a couple more tips on maintaining the back, focused on what to do if you lose your hooks. If you have lost one hook, you can retake the back like I taught earlier, which I re-emphasised again during the warm-up drills. Should it be that you have one hook in but can't establish the other, then Marcelo Garcia's 'hip extension' comes in useful.

When they are blocking your second hook, cross your free foot over your hooking foot. At first that might seem counter-intuitive, because crossing your feet on the back normally puts you at risk of a foot lock. However, if you only have one hook and cross your feet, they can't properly apply pressure against your ankle. Making sure you are aligned with the bottom of their spin, you can then thrust your hips forwards into them and pull back with your seat belt grip.

The result should be that your partner is bent around and stretched out, so that they can no longer connect their knee and elbow to block your foot. That's your chance to quickly insert your second hook, before they can recover their defensive position. When doing the hip extension, don't forget to keep control of their lower leg with your first hook. Otherwise they can just pop over and escape.

If you lose both hooks, as long as you maintain your seat belt you're still in control. Staying low, walking your feet around, until you are belly down, your legs pointing out directly opposite to their legs so that your bodies are in line. Walk your knees towards them, which should push them into an upright sitting position. From there, bring your hook over, or you could step on their thigh if necessary. You can then retake the back.

If they manage to dislodge your first attempt, you can just keep doing that walk around. However, you need to have the seatbelt: this demonstrates why having that seatbelt grip is more important than having the hooks. It is much harder to re-establish your seat belt if they dislodge your arms.

Teaching Notes: I haven't had a clear split between my back maintenance lessons up until now, but this one felt like a potentially effective technique combination for the future. The hip thrust fits with the walk around, as both rely on having that seat belt grip in place. Next time, I'll emphasise that you should walk all the way around so your body is in line. Otherwise, you end up having to yank them a bit because you're more on their side (which can still work of course, but I think it's less efficient).

My neck is still unhappy, so I'm not sure it's going to be ready to resume normal training by the end of the week. I wasn't joining in sparring in order to give it more of a rest, which may have to be the case for the rest of this week too.