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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

12 January 2010

12/01/2010 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #275

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 12/01/2010

At the Aylesbury Open Mat, Kev mentioned two options from the guard he thought would work well for a guy my size (and he's a good person to ask, as he's a comparable weight). First, the overhook from guard, which I've been playing with for a while. The second I've never tried: I think it is called the Shawn Williams guard, also known as the London position, which Eddie Bravo removed from his system because he felt there was a real danger of them spinning out and passing.

Bravo's criticisms aside, since Kev recommended it, I've been wanting to see it taught. Conveniently, that is just what Kev did for the advanced class, where he referred to it as 'London' (I'm sure he called it Shawn Williams guard last year, but my memory must be playing tricks on me).

For Kev's version of the guard, you wrap your same side arm behind your knee, reaching through to grab their collar. That knee should be driving across, while your leg stays heavy on their back. Make certain that your elbow is locked tight to your side, leaving them no room to free their arm. Your other foot is by their other hip: naturally you want to make sure they can't push that leg to the ground and try to pass.

The Shawn Williams guard, as per Stephan Kesting's excellent guard glossary, looks a little different, but that's probably because it is no-gi. Rather than grabbing the collar, Williams locks his hands together, on the same side of their neck. Kev mentioned that you could also just hold the shoulder. Kev's variation is therefore probably closer to what Kesting calls the 'leghook guard', as the hands are locked behind the neck.

From here, you have several attacks, two of which Kev covered today in combination (the omoplata is another good option). To get there, the set-up we worked today was off a kimura attempt. You sit up and go for the kimura, then they defend by clasping their hands round your torso.

That means you can shift to the other side and hook behind your leg, moving into Shawn Williams/Leghook guard (I'm not sure which one is closer, due to the collar grip Kev uses). Make sure that your knee is high enough for you to reach through for their collar. Alternatively, you can walk your hand up their gi until you make it to the collar, and transition into a submission.

The armbar is relatively simple. Pull their non trapped sleeve across, push off their hip with your free leg in order to swivel, then bring that leg over their head. You're now in place for a tight armbar, which is difficult for them to defend as you already have total control over their other arm.

If they manage to pull their arm free before you can finish the armbar, then just like the normal armbar, you can shift into a triangle. Their arm is out of the way, leaving you free to bring your leg to their neck, then cross your ankles. Remove your hand from behind your knee, then lift your hips to move their arm across, pull your shin down towards you and secure the triangle.

My sparring was defensive as usual, so again I need to be threatening from the guard. I did sort of get into an omoplata against a big white belt (though I should note, I spent the rest of the round getting mangled), but couldn't flatten him out. I was attempting to sit up, but he managed to move round and gradually crush his way free: I should have secured better control by reaching over his back faster, as opposed to dangling off his arm with my legs.

I was looking to go for the twisting guard break with Callum, but never got further than stepping my leg up to his hip. He'd either derail the effort by getting one of my arms or a deep grip on the collar. Still, its great I at least feel I have something to go for now, rather than sitting there staring at people, waiting to be submitted or swept.

Thursday training may or may not happen, as the snow is refusing to let up. It is due to snow all day on Wednesday, which is likely to ice up the roads. Still, I bashed up my eye during the beginner session, as during the no-hands open guard I ended up rolling on my face. I wouldn't mind giving that a chance to heal up.


  1. Yeah same story here re weather. Esp frustrating when you pay by monthly dd and you cant physically get to class. That London guard thing we are taught as 'our version' of the rubber guard. It works but the hardest part is getting, or waiting, for uke to place his hand on the floor which tends not to occur with savvy blue belts and above. But its come in useful since i basically only ever play bottom game.

  2. I can imagine getting that arm is the tough part. Out of interest, are there any methods you've had success with when trying this out in sparring?

    Kev's option was to go for a kimura and then move to the other arm, but no doubt there are various alternatives.

  3. Collar drag from guard if it takes uke by surprise he plants his hand/s on the floor. TBH i don't even do that mnost times, I just unbalance the uke and tug real hard from guard so his head starts to go down and he loses posture, then I open guard and chance it by whipping my leg up onto the higher part of his back. At the very least, I can get a hang-glider sort of guard and it makes it harder for uke to posture back up. I dunno, I have no idea what I'm doing half the time. But then that's the fun I guess.