| bjj resources

 BJJ FAQ  Academy

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

08 October 2009

08/10/2009 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #249

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 08/10/2009

I wouldn't normally treat the second hour on Thursdays as a separate lesson, because previously it has just been a load of extra sparring. However, tonight was different: tonight Kev used it for a no-gi class instead. Good thing I had a t-shirt with me, because I hadn't realised it wouldn't be the usual hour of rolling with the gi. Makes sense though, as there are a few people preparing for a no-gi competition.

Things started off by drilling the single leg, followed by takedown sparring. This is by far my least favourite part of a BJJ class, so I'm glad it doesn't happen often. As usual, I was incredibly defensive, but fortunately for me, sparring consisted of one person restricted to attack while the other could only defend (though I remained very tentative when it came to my turn to attack).

It was then time for full sparring, although starting from guard. I'm normally wary of white belts due to their tendency to lack control, but that is even more the case in no-gi. So, I made a bee-line for blue belts, starting with Howard, who is becoming my most regular training partner.

I started in guard, trying to stay tight and look for triangles from Rener and Ryron's Punch Block Series (as demonstrated on Gracie Combatives). However, I couldn't keep it sufficiently tight, especially as I was telegraphing my triangle attempts.

After that, I got stuck under mount, particularly technical mount. I'm not overly familiar with being under there, but I have been reading Jiu Jitsu University a lot recently. I vaguely remembered Saulo's advice on escaping technical mount, though I don't think I got into the right survival position. Still, managed to wedge my way out and slip my knee through, probably because it is easier to spin without a gi.

Next up was Kev, who as a brown belt has by far the best control in the room. Naturally I couldn't do a lot, but he let me work in guard, where I again attempted to stay tight, looking for that Gracie Combatives controlling posture and triangles. As he inevitably passed, I tried to switch to reverse de la Riva, without any success. Every time I spar Kev, I always get stuck under a version of side control where he is moving to scarf hold, which I find really tough to escape (at least it feels like something between side control and scarf hold: he doesn't normally have the arm, but does face towards my head up on his side a bit).

Sitting out the following round, I finished my sparring with Callum. He had been planning to sit out himself, but decided to go for one more. That fatigue is probably why I was able to maintain a top position, where I kept finding myself in a sloppy half guard. He was slipping free each time, but I had a hold round his head and then fought for the underhook. My knee was gradually being edged out, so the other main battle was wriggling that knee back through, so I could maintain better control.

Instead of further sparring or a warm-down, Kev managed to cram in some handy technique. He asked people what they have most trouble with, so I immediately said grips. Kev's suggestion led into an armbar from guard.

The grip starts by grabbing their same side wrist, pulling it across your body while simultaneously bringing them towards you with your legs. You should also use your opposite hand to grasp just above their elbow, near the tricep. That should mean you can then clamp the top of their arm under your own elbow, making for a secure hold on the arm.

To further increase your control, either grab around their head to keep them from posturing up, or reach around to grip their armpit. This sets you up for the armbar, particularly if they try to bring their head out. Push off their same side hip, swivel into position, then shove their head out of the way as you swing your leg over.

Kev finished things off with a nogi guard pass. This was basically the 'rape choke' option (again, an unfortunate name for a technique: there must be a better term that isn't so offensive) he showed us a while ago, where you press into their neck and stand up to get them to open their guard.

Alternately, you can push your hands into their biceps in order to stand. You then step on a bicep and straighten up, which should break their guard open. Of course, this won't work all that well if you're too short, so it will be most effective against those your own size or smaller.


  1. Yeah, I am not a fan of take-downs. We have a couple of really spastic white belts in our class and one of them took out my knee trying to literally pick me up and throw me down. On behalf of all white belts, I apologize for our craziness. ;)

  2. I'd imagine its even worse in the US, with all those big wrestlers. ;)