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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

18 July 2011

18/07/2011 - Gracie Barra Fundamentals

Class #410
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 18/07/2011

Like I mentioned earlier, GB Bristol is currently being visited by Roberto Traven black belt, Paul Thatcher. He also works for Fight! magazine as a photographer, so today I had the pleasure of attending a photo shoot at the club. I would suspect that the presence of a camera probably had something to do with the enormous turn-out tonight. ;)

After squeezing all those people into a series of photos, Geeza mentioned another member of the club had recently won his MMA fight. At that same event, Geeza noticed that a lot of the bouts featured people getting stuck in basic schoolyard headlocks. Therefore, tonight was all about headlock escapes, covering three variations.

If they just have their arms wrapped around your head, but have left some space, make a frame against their neck. Your arm by their stomach should have the elbow on the floor. The hand of that arm can therefore be used as a solid brace against your other wrist, driving into their neck.

Walk your feet away from them, keeping your belly button pointed towards the ceiling. Whenever you can reach, swing your leg over their head, then roll them to the mat. At the very least, that sets up your escape, but it can also lead to an armbar or even a choke with your legs (that tends to be low percentage, but it can work, as demonstrated by Sheila Bird).

If they're in the same position but this time don't leave any space, bring your hips close to theirs. You want to get your foot over, creating a hook around their leg. That should help you turn to your knees. From there, you can pull up on their wrist for a submission, or simply use it to escape.

Finally, if they have your arm in something approaching scarf hold (but still holding your head rather than under the far armpit), link your arms around their back. Bump into them forcefully to get their leg to move forward. Immediately insert your knee into that space, looking to get your hips underneath theirs. If you can achieve that, it should be a simple matter of leverage to roll them over your body, putting you in the top position.

My drilling partner Liam mentioned that Kirsty, who has a high level background in judo, gave him some handy tips for holding scarf hold. Normally, people have one leg kicked out by the head, the other knee raised. However, Kirsty suggested that Liam keep both legs curled, with the knees on the mat pointing towards their head. This has the advantage that it becomes difficult to either hook the leg or slide a knee underneath, and it also seems to enhance the pressure.

That will be my last class for this week, as I'm off to a wedding on Thursday. I'll be back to Bristol on Tuesday, ready to get back to teaching open guard later in the week. :)

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