RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 08/12/2009
This week it looks like Kev will be focusing on knee on belly, a position I don't think I've ever tried in sparring. I've never felt secure there, as it seems to rely a lot on mobility and speed. I much prefer positions that allow a more slow and methodical approach, rather than fast and dynamic, as I feel more in control that way. So, it was very useful to have a lesson dedicated to a position I don't know at all well, with both offence and defence.
Kev started off by drilling the position itself, popping up from side control. Your shin goes on their stomach, along the belt line, while your other foot is behind you, at a roughly forty-five degree angle. If it's too close to their head they can hook it, while if it's too far towards their feet, you won't be able to adjust when they shrimp. You also want to hold their collar to prevent them turning towards you, and on the inside of their knee. This also means you can pull up and fold them around your knee, which is extremely uncomfortable for the person on the bottom.
There is also the option Maurição teaches, a man famous for this position, as he has apparently cracked bones with his knee on belly. Or more specifically, knee on chest: this is the essential difference Maurição likes to emphasise. I can remember he and Nick G discussed it during a lesson back when I was at RGA HQ. However, seeing as this is a position almost entirely alien to me, I should keep my options open in terms of which type I want to try out.
To escape from knee on belly, put your hand nearest their pressuring knee on the knot of their belt. Be careful about your elbow, as you don't want to leave them space to attack your arm: you'll be keeping that limb close to their leg. Your other hand grabs their trouser leg by their knee.
Move your feet slightly out away from them, then shrimp your hips away. Lock your arms out to prevent them simply driving back into you, then move back into guard. You'll need make a powerful shrimping motion in order to create enough space, and may also need to shrimp again to readjust.
For the person on top, Kev demonstrated an armbar from knee on belly. This was the classic set up, where they are pushing on your knee in order to relieve the pressure. By doing so, they leave a triangle of space. Insert the arm your have nearest to theirs into that space, grabbing around their arm. Pull that arm up towards you, then step your other leg round to the top of their back, keeping it as tight as possible. You may need to push on their head to get your leg past.
Your other leg, which was pressing into their stomach, barely moves. Simply put that foot on the floor, rather than stepping anywhere. You can now swivel around their arm, keeping your knees pinched, then drop back for the armbar.
I found specific sparring tough, as I'd expected. I rarely lasted more than a couple of seconds on top before Callum or Howard replaced their guard, as I couldn't beat that initial shrimp. More weight through the knee might help, as would developing greater mobility with knee on belly.
Kev had some good advice on what to do if they shrimp away and you feel yourself losing the position. Bring your knee down to the floor, driving it into their side, while also putting your free hand (the other will be gripping their collar) over to their far hip. Establishing those two controls should stop them from moving their hips. You can now use the arm you have by their head to cross-face them, putting them flat on their back, then re-establish knee on belly.