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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

30 June 2009

30/06/2009 - Nova Força

Class #231

Nova Força Epsom (BJJ), Tim Radcliffe, Epsom, UK - 30/06/2009

I've had a few weeks off due to a bunch of job interviews (none of which came to anything, unfortunately: just have to keep plugging away, like the massive horde of other people applying for the same jobs...), so good to get back on the mats. Ricardo is in Brazil at the moment, so instead class was taken by his top student, brown belt Tim (who incidentally won yet another MMA fight recently).

Tim kicked off with a gi choke. Start by pulling one side of their gi out of their belt (if its already loose, so much the better), then feed it around their back to your other hand. Shift your torso to that side, then change hands. This frees up your first hand to grip whatever material you can on the back of their gi, still on the same side (if you try to grip on the other side, your partner is likely to see it coming and defend). Finally, bring that arm over their head whilst maintaining your grip, then bring your wrists up for the choke.

Next, Tim demonstrated a basic loop choke. Grab their opposite collar, with a deep grip. Break their posture by pulling that collar towards you, while also pushing their head down and to the side with your other hand. Next, slide that other hand across the back of their head and under your own elbow, hooking with the back of your hand. Finally, raise the elbow of your collar-gripping arm for the submission.

Rowan Cunningham, who puts out the best free BJJ videos on the net (unfortunately not the most famous, as the Abhaya vids aren't heavily publicised or flashy), has a typically excellent demonstration up on YouTube, where he calls it an 'encircled collar choke'. I first saw this choke when Aesopian put up the Abhaya vids, probably on Bullshido somewhere:

Tim mentioned as he was walking around that you need to be quick with this, so its something to spring on your opponent if you have a collar grip but see they aren't defending their neck. Even if you don't get the choke, you're likely to still manage a sweep, as in order to avoid getting submitted they'll probably have to roll out. You can simply follow them and end up in mount.

Sparring today put me mostly under side control, which is good as I always like to try and improve my escapes from there. As per Saulo's advice (both in his book and DVD), I was concentrating on keeping my head stuck to the floor to prevent the cross-face, while also blocking their arm with my hand.

While I did ok getting that far into Saulo's 'survival position', I was rather less successful getting onto my side. I also wasn't preventing the knee on belly too well, as usual, but I think I managed to use my elbow and knee as a barrier slightly better than last time. The difficulty is getting them properly locked together, with forearm to upper leg, rather than just touching elbow to knee.

From knee-on-belly, I also couldn't avoid Mark's choke, so must have done Simon's defence wrong. I know you're suppose to swim your arms in and turn towards them, but forgot which arm went where.

With one of the white belts, I managed to get to my knees from side control, but couldn't then trap an arm in order to roll them. I was thinking about the wrestler's sit-out too, but didn't feel I had the space to get free: as their arm was ready to look for chokes, my neck felt exposed. In retrospect, I probably should have been less hesitant and just gone for something, as eventually I tried to spin to guard as they left some space, which merely landed me back under side control.

My last spar was against somebody fairly new, so I had a chance to play around with triangles. I'm still missing lots of important details, like proper head control, so even as a noobie they were able to slip out, but it was nice to confirm the 'trigger' position Ryan Hall talks about. Whenever somebody is trying to open your guard by driving their elbow into your thigh, you can open your guard and cause them to lean to one side. This leaves your partner vulnerable to the triangle, as you can now fling your leg over that arm and to their neck, locking your other leg in place.


  1. Oli uses the loop choke often in comps. Even just trying it puts the opponent on the defensive which leads to other attacks. Can't say I've ever got it to work with me though.

  2. Yeah, my training partner Mark (who incidentally used to train with Oli when they both first started out at Nova Forca with Ricardo) said he's really keen on this choke too.

    I've never had any success with it either, but then firstly I'm terrible at submissions anyway, and secondly it could be the whole surprise element Tim talked about.