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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

26 August 2011

26/08/2011 - Gracie Barra Fundamentals (Closed Guard)

Class #415
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 26/08/2011

Randomly, a Sherdog thread threw up this pretty cool link. It's a manga about a guy training at a shooto club, but with lots of technical BJJ on display. I presume the person behind it, Hiroki Endo, trains in something. He's also done good previous work, which I'm reading my way through at the moment: Eden: It's An Endless World.

Tonight Geeza went through a couple of triangle escapes, starting with a late escape. They are about to lock in the triangle. Your counter is to bring the elbow of your trapped arm to the mat. Make sure your arm is tucked behind, as they are able to grab it and pull towards their head, you'll get stuck in a bent armlock. Geeza stopped there, but to break free you could try driving with legs.

Next, they don't have the triangle quite there, so this is a slightly earlier escape. Before they can fully lock their legs, posture up. With the leg on the same side as the arm you have inside, step over their head. To finish, drop back, then cross your legs to provide the leverage to slip free.

Interestingly, for the triangle set-up on all of these, Geeza grabbed the hand by the hips and shoved it low, popping over to get the triangle. That's different to what I've seen before, which is to take the hand on the collar, shove it to their chest, then lift your hips up over the top for the triangle.

The final technique was a guard recovery for when they are passing you with a single underhook. Grab their collar, then with your free leg, push off their same side hip. That should help you produce some space for your underhooked foot to push off their shoulder. Once you've managed that, swivel the foot around to hook their armpit, then pull them back into closed guard.

For specific sparring, it was guard passage, but they already have one of your legs up on their shoulder. On top, I was therefore looking for the basic single underhooked, reaching to grab their collar and drive forward. I also found that at one point the tip from the triangle escape, where you step over their head, helped provide some additional control for me to pass.

However, you also need to be careful of getting swept: Oli got a nice technique on me, where I think he basically pushed into my arm to bring me over. He also managed to shrimp out and get to his knees at one point, which I need to watch out for: other times I was able to get a solid grip around his head and shoulders, then push forward to put him on his back. That can work, but it's a bit sloppy, and will be rather less effective if they're at all bigger than you.

Underneath, I think I was mostly with either children or fairly new white belts, so I was trying to let them practice the technique. My main goal was to see if I could recover from bad positions: there is no point just spinning quickly back to full guard simply because you can, as you're not going to learn anything that way with less experienced (or much smaller, as is the case with children) training partners.

Just so I don't forget, I'm going to note down that I need to start marking cards now on Thursdays (which wasn't previously the case). The pen is in the box lid, so I can do that at the start during the warm-up when they're running round the mats. It normally isn't more than ten people anyway, so that won't take long.


  1. If you like 'Eden' try 'All Rounder Meguru', which is also by Hiroki Endo. It's, "about a young man training in Shooto style MMA".

    More manga please!

  2. Heh - cheers Muhammad, but I'm already well aware of Meguru. Did you not notice the large picture from it I posted, followed by a link? ;)

    I don't often bother with manga (though I love anime), but Endo's work has been very enjoyable so far. Hopefully it will get adapted to anime in the future.