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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

18 November 2015

18/11/2015 - Teaching | The Back | Bridging Escape

Teaching #424
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 18/11/2015

The first rule of the back position is protect your neck. There are lots of ways of doing that, but my preference is the Saulo Ribeiro method. One hand is in your opposite collar, the other hand floats, ready to block their incoming grips. Don't reach too far with that arm or you'll leave space: keep it near your chest. Your elbows are inside their knees, ready to pop off their hooks if the opportunity presents itself.

Next, bring your knee up on their choking arm side (so, the arm that is reaching over your shoulder and trying to wrap your neck, rather than the arm coming under your armpit). Angle your knee inwards, to prevent them from rolling you back the other way: they will find it easy to choke you if they can roll you in the direction of their choking arm. In one quick motion, move your head forwards and simultaneously shove their head sideways (this is presuming they know what they are doing and have their head tight to yours for control). Look towards them, keeping your head and neck firm in order to stop them moving their head back into place.

Push off your leg and bridge back, aiming to get your shoulders and spine to the mat. If you aren't able to get your head past theirs, still push off your leg. Put your head on the mat and then grind it underneath their head. This isn't pleasant for either of you, but it is generally effective: preferably you can get your head past theirs in the gentler method above. If you can, clamp your arm that is nearest the mat to your side, aiming to trap their arm. To really immobilise them, see if you can use that same arm to grab their opposite sleeve/wrist, meaning you're using one arm to control both of theirs.

With your near arm, grab their trousers by their top leg (either by the knee or a bit lower). When you have the opportunity, switch to grip with the other hand. There are several options at this point. I like to either reach across their neck and grab the gi, or better, reach under their head, grip the far armpit then lock my shoulder into their head and shoulder. Either way, push off your free leg and turn to try and come on top. With your grip on the knee, stiff-arm so they can't lock their half-guard (if they do lock their half guard, this puts you in the opposite side half guard pass position, so proceed from there). Free your leg (pushing on their leg if you need to) and move into side control.

Teaching Notes: This remains the standard escape I do and teach. I have been trying for a while to add something else that is a useful escape from the back, but so far this is the only one I've found to be reliable (though adding in a turtle escape works, as I've done this month). I'll be trying another one later in the week, perhaps putting in that scoop escape again later.

A detail I think I'll start adding is trapping their leg by putting your foot close to their leg after you step over, to prevent them re-establishing their hook. I also talked about bringing your weight up onto them with this technique, as you don't always have the luxury of locking in a cross-face.

However, that did mean several people were turning to top half guard instead. Which is ok, but not as good as top side control: emphasising that walk around would be worthwhile. In sparring, I was finding that the Marcelo style single hook can mess up this escape, so that's something to keep in mind

18/11/2015 - Teaching | Women's Class | Americana from Mount

Teaching #423
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 18/11/2015

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.

Finally, Rener has a helpful tip on securing your base when going for the americana. He likes to slip his opposite side leg underneath theirs, twisting his hips slightly in that direction. That's worth giving a try if you find it difficult to stabilise the position when you're trying to finish the submission.

Teaching Notes: I forgot to mention about using the head to push down the arm, and I also don't generally get into the point about looping the arm around the head. Both worth throwing in next time. Also, as there was a new person in class, I ran through the upa escape too, which tends to be a good one to throw in for beginners.

17 November 2015

17/11/2015 - Open Mat | Back Escapes

Class #681
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 17/11/2015

I spent most of the open mat today working through some back escapes with Tracey. As ever, it's always interesting doing that with Tracey, because she has some old injuries that require modification for certain techniques. With the standard back escape I do, that means you tend to find that their leg with press into your back at some point, along with a potential small impact on the back as you pop over their leg to get your shoulders to the mat. That impact was problematic, so we tried some workarounds.

There is the option of trying to turn within back control. It's lower percentage, but negates that impact on the back. This turn becomes an option if you're able to dislodge their arms, because you can then lean your upper body forward and create space. You could also try combining it with the arm grab, if you can get a solid grasp on their arm and pull it over your head.

Another good point Tracey mentioned is that you're attacking the back, you aren't always looking to drop them to one side or the other, which is where that standard escape becomes viable. It is the person defending who will tend to initiate that, dropping to the open side. Tracey therefore wondered if she could avoid that pressure on the back by staying in the middle. I look forward to hearing how her modifications go in sparring (with trusted partners, naturally). :)

Chris was there too, getting in plenty of sparring with Matt, along with Simon. Matt is becoming a part of the core daytime open mat group, along with Tracey, Simon, Chris and Mike. Ross and Milka are relatively regular too, as they work nearby, though I haven't seen them on a Tuesday in a while. Either way, it's cool that the daytime open mat is getting reasonable attendance. I'm hoping in future to do another daytime open mat on Thursdays, depending on if I can work that around my part-time office job.

16 November 2015

16/11/2015 - Teaching | The Back | Turtle Escape

Teaching #422
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 16/11/2015

To escape the turtle position, your main options generally involve turning back to guard. If they leave enough space, you may be able to do a tight roll over your shoulder to swing your legs back into play. However, with a more experienced opponent, they will often be able to anticipate your roll and move around the side control.

Another option for when they are on your side starts by stepping your near side leg behind them. Cut your other knee in front, just past their knee. Block their other leg by grabbing it, then turn underneath. If they are smaller than you or the same size, you may be able to roll them right over and get side control. If not, then guard recovery should be possible, at the very least half guard.

Should they make the mistake of reaching deep with their arm, you have a simple method to get on top. Trap their elbow by bringing your same side arm back and wrapping it tight. Look away, kick back your same side leg and roll through, getting your weight up onto them. In wrestling, this is apparently called a 'Peterson roll'.

Teaching Notes: I didn't go into detail on the Peterson roll, so I'll do that next time. I also mentioned the tip from Tom Barlow, where you hook your feet over/under theirs, though I need more time to play with that before I do a full class on it. I was a bit uncertain about the leg you step behind, as I'm not sure if that open you up for any attacks (like a rolling knee bar) or escapes. Seemed to work ok, but I'll keep testing.