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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

09 June 2010

09/06/2010 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #317
Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Rob Stevens, Birmingham, UK - 09/06/2010

Rob continued where he left off last week, moving from maintaining the mount to taking the back from technical mount. There was a quick recap of last week, where you’re in mount and they turn towards you to start the elbow escape. Immediately bring the heel pressing on their front to their hip, while the knee next to their back shifts up towards their head. Make sure you lean forward and press your weight into their top arm.

The situation for this technique is that they’re defending their neck, with their hand near to their opposite shoulder. With your top arm, press on the back of their top elbow, to make sure they can’t turn towards you. Your other arm will reach behind and around their head, grabbing the wrist they have near their shoulder.

Rolling them over the knee you have behind their head, roll in the direction away from their back, still holding them in tight. This should enable you to take their back. If they somehow manage to turn and you’re about to lose the position, simply yank up on their arm and return to full mount.

This also works in half guard, in exactly the same way. The only real difference is that they might be able to block your second hook with their knee. That isn’t a problem, as you can lock your feet anyway, into a sort of half-back take. Apparently, this can get you two points in a competition, though I’m not too up on rules, so not sure of the specifics.

We did lots of drilling on that, which was good. That proved to be the only technique, however, as we then progressed to specific sparring from mount, in Rob’s preferred groups of ones, twos and threes. Also like last week, the person whose turn it was stayed on top, not the bottom.

I was generally able to escape from the bottom, either by sneaking my knee in, or somehow creating space then popping out either the back door or getting to guard. Bradley very nearly caught me with a nice triangle attempt when I went for a bridge and roll, which left me wondering if he would have had it if he was bigger.

On top, it was a mixed bag. Some people bumped me off quickly, while one or two I managed to hold on for a good while. As before, I was taking Rob’s earlier advice about reaching under their head and then grabbing the collar, from a low grapevine mount. That’s been working well for me, so I tried to progress into attacking for the Ezequiel. Unfortunately, I wasn’t combining the choke attack with a shift to technical mount well enough, so after the third or so attempt on one partner, I got rolled. With the second partner, I was at least able to adjust into a higher mount, so that was an improvement.

For free sparring, I started off with Rosie. I was looking to practice Braulio’s spider guard again, but failed to keep the necessary tight spider hook on her arm. I later went for an attack I’ve been playing with for a bit longer, the overhook from guard. This went a bit better, as I was able to switch to an omoplata. However, I didn’t secure an arm over her back very well, leaving it a bit late in the technique. So, like Bradley, I suspect that had she been bigger, she would have completed her attempts to escape.

I also had a chance to put Kev W’s passing principles into practice, though I think I may not be pushing on the hip enough. I can’t be certain I had the right positioning on her knee either. I did manage to cut under the arm with my hips, but again, I’m not sure how much size was a factor.

I then had an active roll with Christian, who is always good to roll with. We’re a similar size, so that means we can both be energetic, because we’re both still able to move each other around. So, when I grab his leg and try to use that to break his balance and escape, it at least has a chance of working, which I find is very rarely the case with somebody bigger. It also helps with submission escapes and the like.

Next up was a bigger guy, who I think was called Ian, but might be misremembering. By this point I was knackered, so it proved a good test of my defences when I didn’t have any strength left (not that it would have helped much with the size difference anyway). He eventually caught me in a choke, which I was trying to defend by getting my fingers into my gi, never a great option.

Really, really knackered, especially with the humidity, I was then with the instructor, Rob, who naturally got me in all sorts of submissions. He even stopped at one point and went for something else, noting he’d already got that choke earlier! ;)

Rob also gave me some good advice on pulling butterfly guard, which adds to what Kintanon has already suggested (as per his handy video). As you move in, grabbing their collar, have the knee of your hooking leg out wide, so not so high up that they can easily push it to one side and pass. Your other foot shouldn’t be too close, so that it is ready to either establish another hook, or potentially kick out their knee.

You can also switch sides if they look like they’re about to initiate a pass, bring the other knee out wide while the original hook becomes your base. That may also give you a chance to control their other arm, as you may now have an arm over the top of it.

The class overran a little, so I had to leave before the warm down in order to catch my train. Or so I thought: it got cancelled, meaning I had an hour wait for the next one. Sod’s law: should have stayed after all!

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