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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

23 November 2011

23/11/2011 - Teaching (Attacking Half Guard)

Teaching #029
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 23/11/2011

I don't normally show up to Wednesdays, but as my evenings have been busy recently, I decided it would be a good chance to get in some extra training. As it turned out, it was fortunate I chose today to try it out, as Donal unfortunately had a puncture in his bike tyre on the way over. That meant he had to wheel his bike all the way home, so wasn't able to make it to class. Instead, I found myself with a surprise extra teaching session.

It is the first time I've taught a class without having anything prepared, but that wasn't a problem, as Donal's Wednesday classes are a repeat of the Tuesday class. Given that I had been there on Tuesday, I could therefore just teach the same half guard back take Donal showed, which would be a good test of how much I'd managed to remember.

So, to copy what I wrote down for yesterday, start by swimming the arm you have by their head under their neck, circling your hand around. Don't reach over their head with their arm, just swivel your hand: otherwise, you arm becomes vulnerable to submission. Once the hand is through, you can then brace your forearm into their throat, to prevent them driving their weight through their shoulder into your neck.

You now want to get on your side. Kick your leg forwards to swing your body up. You can either have your knee by your elbow, to try and maintain that space, or you can stick your knee on their hip. As you pop up onto your side, slide in and sink right down, so that your ear is by their belly button. Switch your arm to grip around their back. Also turn your knee outwards to give yourself base.

The next step, which Donal added on Tuesday, is to take the back. Grab their opposite lapel and pull it across their waist, clamping your elbow around their hip. You need to be careful when doing that, as if you reach in too far with your arm, they can reach back, hook your elbow and roll you. You also need to make sure you are curling your arm around their hip, rather than keeping it too high. The idea is to secure both their hips: one with your elbow, the other with the tension created by pulling their gi lapel tightly across.

Your other hand is going to grab the gi material behind their same side elbow. Straighten your arm, so that you are driving their arm into the mat using your skeletal structure rather than muscle power. You don't want them to be able to post with that hand, or they will be able to prevent your back take. Finally, move off to the side slightly, pulling on that trapped lapel. This should yank them along in your wake, enabling you to swivel them right into back mount.

Also like yesterday, I went through Donal's two main tips for making space under half guard. The first was very simple: wait. Normally, they will eventually make a move, which is when you can react by exploiting any space they leave as a result, getting the arm into their neck.

Alternatively, you can use the Demian Maia approach to escaping side control. Reach up with the arm you have by their head so that your bicep whacks into the side of their head. You want to use that to bump their head to the side, in order to create some space. Make sure that you're pressing towards the top of their head: if you're too low, then there won't be enough leverage (so, the same principle as with a muay thai clinch: you grab higher up behind their head, or you won't be able to pull their head down effectively).

I also emphasised that you need to be careful they don't knock your arm across and move into an arm triangle, which is the problem I have with that type of escape. Like I said earlier, any time you extend your arm away from your body, you are putting yourself at risk. However, it is useful in certain situations, not to mention then Demian Maia is really damn good at jiu jitsu, so I'm sure he knows what he's doing. ;)

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