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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

23 January 2011

23/01/2011 - RGA Aylesbury (Beginner)

Class #374
RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Kev Capel, Aylesbury, UK - 23/01/2011

After worrying that my knee might have exploded last week, it appears to be recovering fairly quickly. There was a party in London the next day (hence fancy dress pics of me on Facebook, which is very typical for parties at that house: my gf has awesome friends), which involved a lot of limping around the capital and hobbling up and down stairs. Fortunately, my leg started to work again over the course of the week, although I'm still holding off on sparring or anything involving torsion on the leg.

Also, I only just realised my old training buddy Will has moved his excellent post on Portuguese terminology for BJJ to its own site, BJJ Amy has that linked on her blog, which is where I saw it recently. Which amuses me, because I'm in regular email contact with Will: I somehow managed to miss it from the first hand source. Finally, speaking of blogs, Hannah put up a list of her top fifty here, which includes a bunch of familiar names.

Last time I showed up at an Aylesbury Sunday class, the whole three hours was open mat. However, things have changed since 2009, as now it is split into two sessions, and thirty minutes longer. The first is a normal beginner class, for an hour and a half. After that, there is another hour of drilling, before moving into the actual open mat.

I had been intending to do several hours of drilling on the overhook guard choke (or at least that's what I call it: arm wrap choke is another common name), because I never seem to be able to threaten with the submission even if I can secure the position. Fortunately for me, Kev was teaching chokes for the beginner lesson, so similar principles applied although the position was slightly different.

Kev began with the classic cross choke from guard. After getting a deep initial grip, a useful point to keep in mind is to swing your torso to the opposite direction in order to help establish the second grip. You can then square back up before sinking the submission.

That was followed by a standard variation, where after the first grip, your second hand grabs around the back of their gi. Maintaining your grip, you then swing that second arm to the side your first hand is grasping. Bring the elbow of the second arm tight to their chest, then complete the choke as normal.

Kev completed the technical section with a guard pass, knee sliding through to side control. However, that involved plenty of twisting and turning with the legs, so I decided it probably wouldn't be a good idea to put that strain on my damaged knee. I could at least let Callum do the drill on me, although I couldn't offer up much resistance with my legs for him to work against.

As specific sparring was from guard, I decided against that too. Callum kindly stayed to drill with me, meaning that I got my chance to do some drilling on that overhook guard choke. There are a couple of options, one of which is easier to apply but less effective. That's the one I started with: I drilled the second during the open mat. Either way, first you have to get into the arm wrap/overhook.

They will probably be grabbing your gi somewhere between your chest and stomach. Grab their sleeve with one hand, then reach your other hand underneath to hold your own wrist, making a figure-four. Wrench up with your figure-four to break their grip (you could also try raising your hips then dropping them as you wrench to increase the leverage). Pull the sleeve behind your head, while simultaneously swimming through with the other arm, so that you end up overhooking their arm.

With the overhooking hand, reach through and grasp their opposite collar. Keep the elbow of your overhooking arm locked to your body, so they can't free their arm. This is a good controlling position, where you have a number of attacks: omoplata, armbar, triangle and the one I wanted to practice, a choke.

The application is similar to the variation of the cross choke we did earlier. Again, either grab the back of their gi, around their shoulder, or get your thumb into their collar. Then bring that arm to the other side of their head. Depending on your grip on their collar, you can bring your forearm into their throat. Pull on the gi with your overhook arm to cut off one artery, then press your forearm into the other side of their neck to block the other. As you have access to the throat, you can also try pressing into that, but it makes for a less efficient submission.

Matt Thornton demonstrates something similar in his 'A.P.E Guard' disc from Functional JKD 3 (which incidentally is a great set, so I should get round to reviewing it at some point). Even if that submission doesn't work, it should at least force them to defend. This is where you can go for a triangle, especially if as likely they use their other arm to block. That motion could give you the chance you need to bring your leg over and begin your triangle set up.


  1. Hey, if you have any suggestions for bjjphrases let me know....
    It has been lagging since I'm out of Brazil....

  2. Hmm. Maybe something on the common BJJ nicknames? I seem to remember there was a site listing a few. Stuff like the -inho on the end of first names to make them diminutive, or common BJJ animal names, like jacare for crocodile.