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

11 June 2009

11/06/2009 - Nova Força

Class #230

Nova Força Epsom (BJJ), Ricardo Da Silva, Epsom, UK - 11/06/2009

Gf is away again this weekend, which therefore meant extra training. Class started with takedown sparring, like last time I made it to a Thursday: could mean that day is the session for throws. As usual I was terrible, staying super-passive and basically waiting to be slammed to the mat.

I definitely need to get in some more judo if I am to have any hope of being more than a throwing dummy, but at the same time judo is still a frighteningly injurious prospect. No big deal I guess, given that I don't really care about competing, but would be good to develop a least a couple of takedowns and entries.

Technique tonight was on the triangle from the guard, good and basic. Ricardo was just showing how to get your legs in place rather than finishing the submission, from the classic set up of double wrist control. Push one arm back and immediately bring your hips up, whacking the same side leg to their neck, aiming to curl it round so you can lock your shin under the back of your other knee.

At the same time, you pull on the other arm and bring it across their body, ready to lock on the triangle. The next step would be to adjust your legs to eliminate any space, then raise your hips and pull down on their head for the submission.

A simple technique like that was ideal, as the friend I brought along tonight had never done any grappling before. He had some familiarity with the throws, but rolling around on the ground was completely new to him.

That made for a fun roll during free sparring, though of course I was mainly trying to be helpful, seeing as it was his first time. He's a bit bigger than me, but there are so many things to learn that BJJers take for granted. For example, staying upright on your knees in the guard: I've noticed that often when I roll with somebody who hasn't grappled that they'll fall on their side, as they're understandably unfamiliar with the principles of basic posture.

With everyone else, I was under either side control or knee on belly. Clearly I'm doing something very wrong which is constantly giving the knee on belly to my partners when I'm under side control. I've been trying to concentrate on getting to my side, but I also need to think about blocking the knee on belly. I could try being tighter, such as the old standard foot on the knee to reduce space, as well as bridge more often and more explosively.

I also managed to bust up my toe from a sweep, as one of my training partners caught a toe as they rolled me over. Later on my leg completely cramped up, as I was trying to recover guard. I was spinning on my back, reaching for their leg with my foot, but I couldn't get any purchase. That meant I was scrabbling with the end of my foot, which merely resulted in the aforementioned cramp.

Last week Simon was advising me to turn into the choke from knee-on-belly in order to escape, which I tried to do tonight. Helped, but he still caught me with something else. Still a good principle to keep in mind, as part of the general concept of getting to your side when underneath.

Simon then provided some tips on escaping the baseball bat choke from knee-on-belly, but I'm not sure I've managed to remember them properly. I think the idea is to bring one arm through, bent at right angles, then use the other arm to push while turning into them. You can also try and get your knee in to make further space.

My friend enjoyed the class, especially the fitness side of things, so hopefully he'll be able to pop back at some point (though he's pretty busy the rest of the summer, so might well be a good while). Also rather nice to get a lift there and back: no late night cycling this week, which was a very refreshing change!


  1. Hi Slidey,

    Seems like you are spending a lot of time under knee-on-belly these days.

    Have you tried Saulo's method for escaping knee-on-belly (from video series #1)?

    Instead of trying to shrimp away and get on your side, you use your elbow to hold their knee in place while you bridge - or "bump" as Saulo calls it - AWAY from them.

    When you finish your bump and return your hips to the ground, you should be back under regular ol' side control. It ain't ideal, but it's better being under knee-on-belly!

    This technique totally powered-up my knee-on-belly escape game. Try it and see if you like it!

  2. Yes, I've gone through the Saulo DVDs several times, and watched the knee on belly escapes with particular interest.

    However, I get nervous about trying that elbow around the knee escape: makes me feel like the arm is vulnerable, and I'm never sure if its a sufficiently shallow knee on belly that I should be going for that or the one where you lock their leg and shrimp.

    As I'm under knee-on-belly so much, seems like now would be a great time to finally give it a proper go, so cheers for the reminder! ;)