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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

27 June 2011

27/06/2011 - Gracie Barra Fundamentals

Class #407
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 27/06/2011

Geeza has mentioned to me in the past that for maintaining side control, you need different approaches depending on the kind of escape they are attempting to accomplish. Tonight's lesson went into further detail on that point, focusing on how you progress to mount from side control.

The first side control to mount transition was for when you're facing somebody who likes to play the top game. The main goal of a top player under side control is to swim their arm through and gain the underhook, so they can start to turn to their knees. Therefore it is imperative that you secure the underhook instead, immobilising their arm with the standard side control using a gable grip, your other arm under their head.

To progress to mount, you want to get your knee over their belt line, twisting their torso by walking your fingers up towards their head. When you can get your knee to the mat, fling your lower leg out to slap the mat. This is to avoid being sucked into half guard: you'll need to swivel your hips slightly to bypass the danger zone.

If you want to go from side control to mount on a bottom player, Geeza recommended a quite different type of side control. Rather than an underhook, the bottom player will be looking to sneak their knee under, in order to recover guard. To block that, bring your hand to their near hip. Your other arm will be over their head, with your elbow slotted by their shoulder. This is comparable to reverse scarf hold, which indeed is the position you'll be moving to next.

Grab their knee and push it to the mat, then swing your leg over the top. You need to make sure you've got control of their knee, or they will try to snatch half guard as your leg comes over. In other words, this is a bit like what I taught a while back, except that with Geeza's position, you're already almost in reverse scarf hold.

I almost never use that method of maintaining side control, so as we were given the choice of where to start in specific sparring, I took the opportunity to practice that side control variation with the hand by their hip. We started in side control, but if you managed to escape or get to mount, next time you had to start in the opposite position.

I began underneath, with Oli, who also wanted to try that hand on the hip (as he knows I'm more of a bottom player). I was able to do the running escape, although again it was a little sloppy so I almost got my back taken. Later on, in the same position, I managed to just about time the Tran escape where you bridge, ending up in top half guard.

When I was on top in that position (strangely enough, both times against the same white belt), I found that if I had the arm over, the elbow seemed to help stop them bridge into me. Despite their efforts to upa, I was able to slide through into mount. However, the second time one of us must have done something different, as this time he was able to snatch my leg into half guard.

Finally, with another white belt, I found that he kept giving me his arm by gripping too deep around my back (which I'm guessing meant I was turning from the running escape). That meant I could lock it to me and roll him over. As so often happens, although I had the arm and was pressing my back into him, I wasn't able to control the hips. They could therefore simply get back to their knees, or otherwise move back on top.

About the third time that happened, I tried something different. It wasn't very technical, but with my free hand, I grabbed his head to stop him moving. That gave me enough control to be able to turn around and move into sidemount. I'm sure there is a better way of doing that: I was trying to use a grip on the pant leg too, but that didn't seem to give me the control I wanted.

Incidentally, if like me you found the latest update of Firefox killed your Google toolbar, try this. Seems to do the trick. Also, I booked my accommodation for the ADCC in September: I'll be staying near the arena at a cheapo hostel. There is a group of us going up from Gracie Barra Bristol, and I'm also looking forward to meeting up with old friends (like the crew from RGA Bucks, along with hopefully some of my even older training partners from RGA HQ I haven't seen in ages, like Dominique, Christina, Tran etc) and new (e.g., if Caleb does a 'coffee with the family' thing, like he does for the Worlds).

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