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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

03 April 2012

03/04/2012 - Gracie Barra Bristol (Escaping Side Control)

Class #451
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Luke Chamberlain, Bristol, UK - 03/04/2012

I received an email a little while ago asking if I'd answer a few short questions for a blog article. I'm always happy to talk about myself (I don't think it's possible to blog without at least a small strain of narcissism ;D), and here is the result, on Dan Faggella's blog, The Science of Skill. I'm one of twelve sites he contacted, including Georgette, Seymour from Meerkatsu, Julia from Jiu-Jiu and Dave from Jiu Jitsu Lab.

Dónal is unfortunately suffering from food poisoning at the moment, so as Geeza was also away, Luke was in charge tonight. He's a good teacher and obviously growing in confidence, so I hope that in future he'll become a regular part of the schedule. It's beneficial to have a range of perspectives, as well as a range of sizes and games. That was evident in the first technique he taught. It was the same basic technique I taught last week, escaping side control to your knee, but with a different spin due to a different teacher with a different training background.

Luke uses Geeza's terminology of 'cup and knife' for the framing arms (or was it seashell? Can't remember now), where the knife your forearm pressing into their neck, while the cup is your hand by their hip. In this variation, the elbow further along from that arm goes right to your opponent's opposite hip. It then proceeds as normal, bridging up and into them, making space to thread your neck-arm through to their far arm. Shrimp by straight-arming your 'cup' hand into their hip, then turn to your belly, reaching high with your arm over their back.

That's to stop them simply running around to turtle in that direction, which means you're ready for them to move the other way and recover guard if necessary. Alternatively if they just try to drop their weight, grab hold of their same side knee, then bring your own knees up to shift into turtle.

Next up was the other standard escaping, where you shrimp to guard. Again Luke's method was slightly different. As before, you frame your arms then bridge into them, making space to bring your knee through. The unusual part is that your other leg comes over their back. Underhook their arm with what was your hip arm, then adjust your legs into guard (you may need to shrimp a little more to make space to get your leg out). It is a little reminiscent of Roy Dean's methord, where he moves straight into an attack.

The last escape is one I don't generally use, where you escape to butterfly guard, so it was good to get a reminder. It is the same as the previous guard recovery, up until you bring your knee through. This time, you don't bring your knee all the way: instead, you just insert it far enough to block their knee. What happens after that depends on your flexibility. If you're able, put your other foot inside their thigh, establishing a butterfly hook. You could also hook it by their ribs.

If you aren't flexible enough for that, then again brace against their hip with a straight arm, using that to shrimp out until you have enough space that you can insert your butterfly hook. Once that's in, switch your hip hand to overhook their same side arm, reaching for the collar as you would with an overhook/overwrap guard. Secure both butterfly hooks, then readjust so you're sitting up, ready to attack.

Sparring started off specific from side control. I was pleased to be able to work with Vikki again, as she's a really good training partner (not far off my size, technical and gives helpful advice). I started off trying to shift to north-south and go for the kimura, but couldn't quite isolate the arm and properly stabilize my position. I then shifted to see if I could get that step-over triangle, but Vikki was wise to that so I wasn't able to lock my legs under her head.

Finally, I also tried getting a gift wrap, but I need to be careful of fingers: I don't think I was actually grabbing the fingers, but one of them started to get bent back. We stopped as soon as she let me know, but something for me to be aware of in future with that position.

That was followed by two rounds of free sparring, where I started with John. He has a fair bit of size on me, so I immediately looked to move to the top, but got stuck in his knee shield half guard. I was able to switch into an omoplata set-up when he tried to take the back, but I failed to flatten him out. I also totally messed up following that with sweep into side control: instead, I ended up underneath his side control, which definitely wasn't the idea! ;)

To finish I was with Vikki again. This time, I wanted to pull butterfly guard, but didn't close the distance well enough. Falling back into spider guard, I fiddled with Abmar Barbosa sweep where you put the leg across into their far armpit, but couldn't get the set-up. Towards the end I was just about to move into an overhook guard, which I probably wouldn't have secured, but the clock ran out at that point regardless.

It's a shame Vikki is leaving in a few weeks. As Kirsty isn't normally in the same class as me, tonight was a rare opportunity to train with my preferred kind of training partner (a woman about my size, due to the fact that in my experience, women are more mature, considerate and helpful to drill and roll with) since the old days at RGA where there were loads of good women about my size or bigger, like Christina, Indra and Joanna, along with skilled smaller partners too, like Dominique and Pippa.

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