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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

10 April 2011

10/04/2011 - RGA Aylesbury

Class #386
RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Yasmine Wilson, Aylesbury, UK - 10/04/2011

Kev was taking his son to a judo tournament today, so Yas took the class. Which was cool, as I haven't been taught by a woman before. Even better, she went through one of my favourite set of techniques, escaping side control. The first escape was the basic guard recovery. Bridge into them, insert your knee, then square up and slip your leg around them to re-establish guard.

I was also fortunate today in that I had a particularly helpful drilling partner, a recent blue belt called Stuart. He was just as keen as I was to work on the details: for the guard recovery, we were interested in the best posture to retain the guard as you square back up. The important point is to prevent them moving past your knee and re-establishing side control. I would normally put both hands on their shoulder (on the passing side) to prevent that.

However, as Yas showed, you can also grab their arm and pull them forward, so that their posture is broken. They also can't then push down on your knee to begin the pass. A third option that came up during drilling was to combine the two, grabbing their collar but making your hand into a fist, pushing your knuckles against their shoulder. With your other hand, you can grab their arm, again to stop them controlling your knee. That would also enable you to move into attacks from guard.

Speaking of attacks, Yas then showed how to go for an armbar from under side control. This was reminiscent of the Braulio technique, though leaning towards an escape rather than a full-on submission attempt. If they try to move into underhooking your far arm as you bridge and shrimp, you can try bringing your hips up and getting your leg over their head. That means you can then progress into an armbar attempt. Most likely they'll be able to get their arm free, but it is then a simple matter for you to adjust your leg position, transitioning to open guard.

Finally, Yas went through the escape to knees. This is something I still don't try often enough, and when I do, it isn't with enough conviction. Generally what happens is that I'll turn to my knees and grab their legs. However, they'll get one free, then I'll end up either turtled with them going for my back, or the usual running escape survival posture.

Yas suggested that if you lose your grip on one of their legs, you can simply switch your head to the side you're still controlling, then proceed to drive through that way instead. Stuart also mentioned that the wrestler's sit-out is another good option, especially if you already have something of a frame due to your head position.

Like on Friday, my knee seemed to last through the warm-up, although I decided against testing it for the breakfalls and shrimping. I hadn't rolled with Stuart before today, so I wasn't sure about his control, but decided to give it a go during the specific sparring from side control.

Turned out to be a good decision, as Stuart was careful not to jar my knee or yank on that leg. So, I was able to practice my control from the top, looking to switch my arms and move round to north-south, along with scarf hold. I had a brief go at the far arm, but as ever had trouble isolating it (though I'm remembering to use my head, which is something I want to improve: handy third limb once you have the technique down).

Underneath, I gave the head switch a try when turning to my knees. It worked, but Stuart was going pretty light, so I imagine he could have sprawled or otherwise scuppered the attempt if he wasn't watching out for the injured knee. I also got tempted to try for a triangle at one point: my knee soon let me know that wasn't a good idea, so I stopped after I felt a slight twinge (though given I'm very cautious by nature, hard to know if that was actually a twinge, or if I'm being a hypochondriac and imagining things).

I also did my usual running escape, and also tried another one I've been attempting intermittently for a while now, having seen a Braulio video on the topic. When they have both their arms over, the idea is to grab behind their elbow, lock out your arm, then sit up and roll them. I struggle to sit up, and also don't feel I ever have enough control over them.

However, trying it with Stuart, then asking afterwards, I think I've been missing something fundamental: they can just switch their other arm to block. So, I just need to grab that arm as well and pull it towards me, then go for the escape. Re-watching the video, I can see that Braulio doesn't grab Norbi's other arm, but seems to have it trapped underneath him, achieving the same result. He's also more into the armpit than the elbow, which I find more difficult to control.

Another side control escape I keep failing to get is one I first saw quite a while ago, the 'shin-in-elbow trick' from Strategic Guard (I've got a picture of it on the review). Looking at that scan, I think I was using the correct shin to start with, but thought I wasn't, so unnecessarily switched.

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