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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 December 2011

27/12/2011 - RGA Bucks (The Back)

Class #439
RGA Bucks, (BJJ), Yas Wilson, Aylesbury, UK - 27/12/2011

Hope you all had a great christmas! I stuffed myself with biscuits, beef wellington and cheese, so it was good to make a start on working that off at RGA Bucks. I made sure to walk rather than accepting the offer of a lift from my parents (who were themselves on the way to a gym), to get in some extra beef-burning. It is a roughly 30-40 minute walk from their house, so I normally go on foot: if I lived here, then I'd probably cycle it instead.

Kev wasn't there, so I couldn't congratulate him on his shiny new black belt, but there were plenty of top notch training partners, like Sahid, Tom and fellow BJJ reviewer Dan, not to mention Yas herself. The topic for tonight was the back, and in classic RGA Bucks fashion, Yas covered both the attack and the defence.

To start with offence, Yas ran through the basic RNC. Her finish was slightly different, as she likes to push on the shoulder by your choking hand. That helps to cinch your grip in tight. Rather than then slipping the arm behind and squeezing, Yas does something more akin to an ezequiel without the gi (which is interesting, as I was just chatting about that with a cool female BJJer from NZL via email). Once she has the first arm wrapped around the front of the neck, she grabs her second arm. The second hand then goes to her choking arm shoulder. From there, slide it down into their neck, just like an ezequiel.

Next up was the basic sliding choke, similar to how I taught it recently. That was followed by escaping the back, which handily will be the topic of my GB Bristol class on Thursday. Again, this was relatively simple: base on your legs to put them on their back, then walk your shoulders to the mat. Move to the side to clear their hook (using your hand if you need to and your neck is protected), then once your hip is over, grab their opposite pant leg to stop them mounting or recovering back mount. Keep on pushing your hips back, until you can settle into side control.

Sahid had a couple of additional thoughts on this one while we were drilling, such as the tip to get your head underneath theirs (and therefore if you have the back mount, make sure they don't get their head underneath yours). I also continued to drill back mount escapes for a few minutes after class, during the open mat, mainly looking at two other options.

The first was an escape Sahid had mentioned earlier, which he calls 'bobbing and weaving'. Pull the arm they have by your shoulder over your head, then fall in the direction of that arm. You're looking to trap it between your head and your arm: Tom also suggested grabbing their tricep, to further prevent them from pulling their arm free. Still on that side, pop your hips over as before, but as you move around to side control, keep facing their head. That should set you up nicely for a d'arce choke, which I think Kev taught yesterday.

My second option was to play around with another escape Dónal had suggested, though I don't think I remembered all the details. This is slightly different, as you start by scooting down. Hook an arm under their leg to establish half guard, after which you can look to spin to come on top. Be careful that your other arm is also safe (e.g., hide it under their hooked leg), as otherwise they might be able to go for an armbar or even a triangle.

I may throw those in during my lesson on Thursday, but we'll see if I need to. At the moment, I intend to kick things off with a few basic body triangle escapes, then one other escape. The bobbing and weaving thing might be a useful addition, as I haven't shown it before, plus it also provides a different approach to the orthodox back escape.

Sparring started with specific from the back, where I was looking to trap their feet with my legs, or push off a hook with one of my feet. I'm still a bit prone to latching onto the arm when I think I've almost escaped, which I did again with Sahid. I asked him if he thought there was anything I could do to improve that, and he suggested that perhaps I was simply holding on to the arm too tightly. Instead, when I'm in that position, the focus should be turning to side control, rather than really yanking that arm in underneath my armpit.

On the back, I was able to play with bow and arrow chokes with the white belts, as well as seeing how I could adjust when they moved to escape. Release a hook and pushing off the mat works, but that is less successful with the higher belts, who tend to be wise to it. I wasn't getting anywhere with guys like Sahid: size is probably a factor, but still, my technique was sloppy.

In free sparring, I seemed to be getting d'arce choked by everyone who isn't a white belt. Which was fun. Again, I'm smaller, but nevertheless, I must be leaving myself vulnerable to that attack, so I'll have to be more careful of my arm, as well as paying more attention to grips they secure on me. As ever, Sahid is a good person to spar, because he'll always be able to come up with suggestions afterwards (which is great for someone like me who is keen to pepper everybody with questions).

For escaping the d'arce, he said the basic option is to arch your back to make space. If they are already locking it in, trying to grab under your own leg with the arm they want to choke you with. That will buy you some time to hopefully wriggle your way free. I think I was curled up and trying to turn, which wasn't getting me anywhere: staying curled up only helps them get the choke on faster.

Sahid was also good for testing out my beloved running escape posture. Against a lot of people, you'll find they're staring at the posture looking confused, so you can stall until you're ready to try and spin free. However, Sahid had a solution: he drove his knee over my rear leg, trapping it in place, meaning he could then move into a dominant position. If he couldn't get that rear leg, then he tried to step over both.

Awesome stuff, as by having people break down my running escape posture, that will help me make it better. Clearly I need to make sure that people can't shove their knee over, either by adjusting my legs, or perhaps using one of my hands to block that knee. At the same time, my arms need to be defending against the knee sneaking past my hip or choke attempts. One of the great things about BJJ is that you constantly have to think several moves ahead, with multiple options in your head. ;)

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