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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

06 October 2009

06/10/2009 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #246

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 06/10/2009

While reading one of my favourite blogs, BJJ Grrl, I noticed that Leslie from BJJ Grrl has found a whole load of blogs I've never seen before, which is cool: BJJ Kids, GrappleThink, Dev's Blog, Cabbage BJJ, Neil vs BJJ and Goatfury (though I've obviously heard of Andrew Smith, as he's fairly active on forums and runs US Grappling). I've added all those to the Index: if there are any bloggers reading this who aren't on there, let me know by posting up a link to your blog in the comments, and I'll add you on there. The more the merrier!

I didn't make it to class last Thursday, as I wanted to spend more time with my gf. As we're again in the annoying situation of having to live apart, BJJ might suffer a little due to visits, but I should normally be able to get in two nights a week at RGA Wycombe. Hopefully one of us will find a job soon, so that we can live somewhere permanently. Birmingham remains the preferred option (which would also mean training under Braulio at GB Brum, a very tempting prospect), but we'll see what happens.

Anyway, Kev's theme for tonight was the mount. We started with some basic points on getting to a high mount, with two options. First, wedge your arm in by their elbow, walk your hand up the floor towards their head to make space, then fill that space with your knee: repeat for each side until you get their arms right over their face.

The second option is to grab their sleeve and pull up, lifting your leg, then turning your knee back down to suck up any room by their arm. Both of these options were intended to set up the armbar we were shown next.

Its a pretty basic armbar from mount, as once you've got that high mount position with their arms over their face (Kev mentioned this is sometimes called the 'bow tie', due to the way the arms are squished over your face), you can then select the arm they have on top.

Slide your same side knee to their head, while the opposite leg will first raise (still keeping the foot tight to their side), then move to trap their arm. You want to have your foot near the shoulder, so the leg is diagonally across the arm.

Finally, slide your same side knee over their head and drop back for the armbar, making sure that you use the momentum of that drop to get the arm, maintaining a close hold. You don't want to fall back and then try to pull the arm down, as you'll no longer have much weight behind that pull.

There was one interesting difference from the way I've normally been shown this, which is that Kev advocates crossing your feet for the armbar from mount. The reason is that he feels its tighter, and prevents them escaping by just pushing a leg off their head. However, in guard you should always keep the feet uncrossed, in order to press down with your legs.

Next, Kev went through my favourite mount escape, the heel drag, which I first learned from Johannes at the inaugural Belfast throwdown. Keeping your elbows tight to stop them sliding forward to high mount, get up on your side. Use a slight bridge into them and your elbow to push their leg back. Step your leg over both your other leg and their leg, so that you can then use your heel to drag their foot over your other leg.

You can then either go to half guard, which is what I normally end up doing, or keep on shrimping and get to full guard or open guard. That is where I'd like to be, but generally I can't make enough space. Roy Dean does an excellent demonstration of this in the mount escapes section of Blue Belt Requirements.

Specific from mount was interesting. Underneath, I'm trying to work on Saulo's survival position from Jiu Jitsu University, especially making a frame against their hips with your arms. This has proven effective, though I think it also makes it tempting to try and explode with your arms. At least it did for me, meaning that I was escaping sometimes, but purely because I shoved hard with my arms, rather than smooth technique. Not very useful.

On top, I was far more successful than I've been in the past. Specifically, I seem to be able to hold the position, but not launch any offence. I'm continuing to grapevine the legs and switch arms under the head, along with the low swim: like I said last week, this is largely thanks to the Gracie Combatives sessions I've been doing for my girlfriend. She's definitely getting the hang of it, and going through Rener and Ryron's lessons appears to be rubbing off on me.

I was able to maintain mount for a while against the two blue belts I rolled with, and steadily improved at switching to s-mount looking for attacks. I wasn't getting anything in the way of attacks from mount itself, except for some hopeless ezequiel attempts: collar chokes are something I should also be trying, but I get too paranoid about losing my base.

I also felt I was progressively getting closer to taking the back. Switching to s-mount and staying tight eventually led to the opportunity. However, it also quite often meant I got caught by their leg under mine as I tried to switch, giving them the leverage and space to slip free. I secured both hooks during the last roll, but my bodyweight was too far forward, so I was easily shrugged off into guard. Still, taking the back from mount is where my girlfriend is currently up to on Gracie Combatives, so maybe that will help! ;)


  1. I found three more -- first 3 on my blogroll page. I usually stalk post comments and follow the links people leave behind. ;)

  2. Awesome, more I can add! Between you and Georgette, I barely even need to look myself anymore. :D