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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

03 February 2010

02/02/2010 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #283
RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 02/02/2010

Kev went over some points about maintaining the mount to begin the lesson, commenting that shifting to technical mount is a good option if they being to escape. He also noted that if they manage to get their knee through and under your leg, you've pretty much lost mount. At that point, it would be sensible to shift into a pass, rather than struggling to get back to mount and probably getting reversed.

The technique he showed was a choke from technical mount, much the same as one he has shown before. As they elbow escape, shift into technical mount. Reach under their top arm and open up the collar, feeding it to your other hand, which will be around their head. Bring your top arm behind their head, then knife hand downwards while straightening your arm. That should put on the choke, presuming you've got a decent grip on their collar with your other hand.

Next was something rather more unorthodox, a shoulder lock from mount. This is a bit low percentage, but Kev mentioned he has managed to land it on people who are being especially defensive, clamming up with their arms crossed. Start by pulling out one side of their gi on the same side as the arm they have on top. Bring that gi lapel over their arm, towards the elbow. Feed it through to your same side hand, then bring your opposite hand over and underneath, switching your grip.

You are now simply going to gradually tighten that lapel, pulling the material with the lower hand, locking it in place with the upper hand, then pulling it again. As you do so, their arm will be twisted in an increasingly painful fashion, until eventually they're put in a shoulder lock.

After submitting me later in class, Kev also showed me a straightforward escape from a bow and arrow choke. All you do if reach under your leg and grab the same side lapel their holding for the choke. Push with your leg to straighten it out, which will mean they are no longer able to pull the collar into your neck. That should give you some time to work your way free: it's effectively a stalling tactic for breathing room.

During free sparring, I found myself under side control a lot. I'm happy under orthodox side control, but I run into trouble when they shift their base. I think it's modified scarf hold, because they don't have control of my arm, so must have reached under the far arm. Either way, I find that a lot more problematic to escape, so definitely need to review my scarf hold escapes. I was shifting my legs towards their head, to try and bring a leg round, but I think I'm still missing a few elements.

I'm also still playing around with the triangle position under side control. Not everyone puts themselves in position for me to try it, but there are a few who keep their head low, meaning that I can trap it with my leg. It doesn't normally go anywhere as an attack, but I found tonight it definitely helped me escape, as it distracted them from maintaining their position.

With Callum, I've been ending up in the exact same position for months. We start from our knees, I move to pass, he goes up on his side. I'm sort of in his half guard, but I can't secure an underhook, his knee is in the way of my torso, and I can't get much of a grip with my other arm.

I want to try and flatten him out, but that knee stops me coming forward. The other option I've been trying to push his knees together, control the hips, then move round. So far, that hasn't been working for me, but then I think I'm still doing it wrong: as I end up there so often with Callum, should have plenty of opportunity to practice.

I'm also still not threatening properly in open guard. I have some idea of what to do when I have my legs hooked, such as going for a tripod sweep, but I'm far less active in spider guard. I can get the grips, but then I normally find myself just maintaining the position, circling my legs, pushing them back as they try to pass.

I need to threaten a sweep, so that the initiative isn't completely with my partner. Again, something I'll have to review, as I'm sure I've been shown various spider guard sweeps over the years: Gustavo was also teaching open guard sweeps at RGA, so I'll check back in my notes.

I won't be training on Thursday again, as I'm visiting my gf down in Bristol: it's becoming a relatively regular pattern of every two weeks or so (though that will change once one or both of us settle into a proper job).


  1. Ok, you can actually flatten him out without an underhook. What you do is you keep your hands on the mat near you - not up over near the head or you won't get the arm back. Hook your leg that's stuck in the half guard towards you and walk your feet over in that direction while leaning into them with your chest.

    You should be low on them, not up near the chest. Turn your head towards their legs and put your arm across them, trying to get their arm trapped. From there you can use your knee and free arm to get the leg loose and pass.

  2. Hey Slidey,

    The open half guard (I've also referred to it as the "z guard" on my blog) gave me fits as well. Eventually, I took a private to learn some techniques to pass it.

    Here are the techniques I learned. I have reasonably good success with these, and they've even worked (only once or twice) against brown belts who didn't see it coming.

    Pass for the Open Half Guard With Ankles Crossed:
    1. Start in opponent's open half guard with his ankles crossed
    2. Grip opp's collar near the mat
    3. Cut knee into your opp's hip by rotating your hips 90 degrees
    4. Hold opp's collar tight and close to you to keep him from escaping
    5. Sit back on your heels, while keeping your head and shoulder low - almost hugging opp's top knee with your shoulders
    6. Pop hips up (stand/squat up) and drive opp's knee up with your hips
    7. Rapid transition into opp's closed half guard. Now you only have to pass the closed half guard (which is significantly easier to do, in my opinion)

    Pass for the Open Half Guard Without Ankles Crossed:

    1. Grip opp's collar (top portion)
    2. Move knee over opp's bottom leg (sort of across the thigh)
    3. Bring other knee up and post off of this leg (stand / squat up)
    4. Open knee of crossed leg to flatten opp out
    5. Connect elbow to knee
    6. Pivot opp back to the original side
    7. Arch back with head under chin

    When I was a kid, I had family not too far from Bristol in Bournemouth / Dorset. It was a beautiful place in the summer!

  3. Thanks guys, I'll have to give those a try.

    @Dolph: Bournemouth has some good BJJ in the area these days: you should come back for another visit. ;)

  4. @ Slidey - We may get to Bournemouth when the dollar is stronger against the pound and euro than it is right now. Our big trip this year will be Thailand in November, and it looks like there are several good BJJ schools I can check out while over there.

  5. Cool, you could go train with Jem and Luke.