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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

01 May 2011

01/05/2011 - RGA Aylesbury Open Mat

Class #393
RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Sahid Khamlichi, Aylesbury, UK - 01/05/2011

After the class on the Roger Gracie choke, Sahid continued into the 'skills and drills' part of the open mat. I may be teaching at some point in the future, so I'm paying particularly close attention to drills I might want to use for warm-ups and the like. I'm keen to avoid the "run around the room, do some sit-ups and press-ups," in favour of jiu jitsu specific movements and drills.

The skills and drills normally starts with four corner shrimping. Presuming the mat space is a square (or at least has corners), then you start in the bottom left corner, shrimping up the length of the mat as usual. When you get to the top left, you shrimp across. That's definitely the most difficult motion, so I'll give a quick explanation.

You're on your back with your legs bent and raised, knees fairly close together. Swing your knees in one direction, while twisting your torso in the other. That should bounce you sideways, so you can do that all the way along the mat. Using that to reach the top right corner, you shrimp forwards down the mat, then at the bottom right, shrimp sideways to the bottom left to start again.

Sahid then moved into mount based drills. The first is a drill for the armbar from mount. They lie on the floor, with both arms pointed straight up. You sit in mount, then post your hands on their chest, around one of their arms. On the isolated arm side, shift your knee to their head. Your other knee bumps behind their far arm, then curls around into a dog leg position, putting you in s-mount.

You can then swivel to bring your legs over, drop back while squeezing your knees and controlling the arm, then apply the submission (lightly, as this is only a drill). Disengage, shrimp your hips out so that you're facing them, then go back into mount and repeat on the other side.

The next drill was the same, except that this time, they've grabbed the outside of their other arm to stop you taking the submission. You still have your arm wrapped around one of theirs, as you were intending to drop back for an armbar. However, now hand of their free arm is grabbing the tricep of their trapped arm.

So, instead of dropping back, switch the arm you have hooked through. You can then slide your free hand in between the top of their arms, grabbing the tricep of their far arm. Shift from a dog leg position into a crouch, then twist to the other side, so that you now have a dog leg on the opposite side to where you started. From here, drop back for the armbar.

Finally, Sahid demonstrated a drill for escaping the mount, with different mechanics to the common elbow escape and upa. Bridge them forward, placing your hands on their hips and keeping your arms straight. The idea is to have them briefly suspended on your hands, so you can bring both knees between their legs. From there, you could go into butterfly guard.

However, you could also do what Sahid did next, which is shift into a footlock. Kick one of your legs straight, then bring your lower leg around the outside of theirs, pushing your foot into their same side hip. Knock them backwards, while wrapping around their ankle with your arms. The bony part of your forearm needs to be pressing into their Achilles tendon.

You want to end up turned on your side, your outside foot by their hip, squeezing your knees together. Your outside foot must not go past their hip, or you're liable to get disqualified (due to the potential dangerous pressure on their knee, depending on which way either of you turns to either apply a submission or try to escape). If you've got your arms in position on their tendon – easier said than done – lean back and squeeze for the submission.

After the skills and drills, it was open mat, meaning I could practice spider guard with one of the white belts. I began with the same techniques I worked at Factory BJJ earlier this week. We mainly concentrated on Adam's sweep, testing just how far they could move to side control and still get swept. Ideally you don't want to leave it too late, and you also have to be careful that they don't bring their free arm across your body and post it on the other side. That makes it hard to complete the sweep.

We played around with ways you might stop them doing that, which was fun but probably not very effective. Still, it seemed that if you could triangle their lassoed arm and keep them from getting it loose, you then had both your arms free. Grabbing their posting arm and under their leg enabled me to complete the sweep, though rather sloppily. I doubt that would work too often: as always, better to not get into that situation by applying the technique properly in the first place.

My training partner also had a suggestion for a spider guard sweep they wanted to work. This was handy for me, as the situation is that you've got your deep lasso grip and a foot into the other bicep, but they've raised their knee by your lasso, inside of their arm. Hook under that knee with your non-lassoing leg, also using your free arm to grab their same side sleeve.

Push that sleeve under their knee too, then knock them over in the direction of the non-lassoed side. I'm not sure if you're supposed to come up in mount or side control here, but I found it easiest to roll into top half guard, a bit like on Nick Brooks sweep from last year. Also like Nick's sweep, you can maintain your sleeve grip, pushing it straight to then attack their arm.

A final sweep from the same position involves bringing your lassoing foot to the opposite armpit, so that leg is across their chest. Your other foot is pressing into their same side bicep, which you've further trapped by holding that sleeve. Push your other foot high and towards the lassoed arm side, also lifting with the foot in the armpit.

From there, you can sort of roll into mount, although you're in a weird position as you end up sat on your leg, which is across their neck. Apparently that's from a Robson Moura DVD, though I'm not sure which one. Possibly cross-guard? Reminds me I need to watch the Moura stuff again, which I previously abandoned a few years ago as it looked too advanced for me.

We sparred from spider guard for a little while, to see if we could apply any of those techniques on each other before the grips were broken or somebody passed. We couldn't: so, more drilling required! ;)

My parents have continued the house moving process since Sunday, hence why it took me a while to get this post up: brief lull in all the packing and moving at the moment. I'll hopefully have a review polished off by either Friday or Saturday, although I've then got another house to get stuck into, in Bristol (not moving yet, as first the floors, roof and various other bits have to be sorted. My DIY is pants, so this should be interesting...)


  1. Hey man, love your blog.

    Can you give me a clue of the fees for RGA Aylesbury? I live close and trained briefly at RGA London but it was so expensive!

  2. Thanks!

    Unless Kev has changed things recently, there are two options. The cheapest way is to pay a £50 direct debit, which gets you access to all the lessons in Aylesbury and Wycombe, along with an issue of GracieMag.

    Alternatively, you can also pay £50 for a block of seven lessons, which you can take whenever. I've been on that more flexible option, as I'll often be busy for a week or two, so the direct debit wouldn't have made sense for me.

    it's an awesome club with a great instructor, which is also very reasonably priced for BJJ. Especially if you're nearby, I'd strongly recommend RGA Bucks.