RGA Bucks, (BJJ), Oli Geddes, Aylesbury, UK - 08/07/2012
This weekend my family celebrated my father's 60th and my younger niece's 2nd birthday, so it was time to head back to Bucks for a visit. I try to make it up for all the birthdays, though I think I'll miss two in 2012 due to holidays abroad. Still, that normally means I can get back to Aylesbury around five or six times in a year. That tends to be a good excuse to go catch up with the team at RGA Bucks, which will be even easier after September when the Saturday open mats join the schedule.
Instead of that, Kev kindly invited me along to a seminar which was taking place on the Sunday. It was going to be Nic Gregoriades, who recently taught an excellent class at Gracie Barra Bristol, but due to unforeseen circumstances he had to pull out. Another old instructor of mine, Oli Geddes, generously filled in for him. I last saw Oli a bit more recently than Nic, as Oli has taught classes at GB Bristol too: I previously trained with him late last year.
Oli wasn't the only black belt present: Kev is now a black belt too. I wasn't able to congratulate him last time I was at RGA Bucks, so it was nice to be able to do it in person this time. He's also been building up his YouTube channel over the last year: very cool, as I can therefore still benefit from his instruction even though I'm in the wrong part of the country to train regularly at RGA Bucks. I'm looking forward to seeing him go through one of his signature submissions, the bow and arrow choke: he's caught me with that many times.
Oli's focus for today's seminar was a topic I've yet to approach in depth, mainly because it scares me: leglocks. However, it was good timing, because Mike down at GB Bristol recently asked about leglocks, so today helped to beef up my knowledge a bit. I knew there was a nifty set-up that involved stepping through so that you're facing the floor (checking back, I can see that Kev taught it here), but couldn't remember it. Oli more than refreshed my memory: he crammed it full of about ten different options. Fortunately he was kind enough to let me shoot a quick reference video at the end of the seminar, so I'll be peppering this post with some screenshots from that.
With so much to cover, Oli jumped straight into the technique. This wasn't going to be a basic level class, as right from the off we were switching from some kind of shin control open guard into what Oli called Lagarto guard, then x-guard, sweep and finish with a footlock. For that first straight ankle lock, you being with your same side shin pressed on the front of their shin, while your same side arm wraps behind their knee. Your free hand grips the material by the inside of their other knee, so that you can make a fist.
From there, drop back and lift their shin-trapped leg. As that leg elevates, pull their leg around the outside of your own, in order to put their foot next to your hip. You also want to wrap your arm around their same side leg again, but this time you're lower, behind the ankle. Hook it deep, so that the heel is in the crook of your elbow.
While you're doing all that, you're also going to adjust your leg position. The leg you were using to press into their shin now goes behind their leg, then you bring the foot of that leg around the outside, pressing into their hip, with the other foot tight.
When you've established that position, you can switch into x-guard. So, your other foot presses into the outside of their other leg, your shin pressure leg moves in front and inside, so that the knee is behind their shin leg, the foot wrapping the outside of their other hip. You can then push them off balance.
You're also still wrapping up their leg. By switching your legs, you'll also turn your body over, so that you're now facing away from them. Drive your hips down and arch your back, which should apply pressure to their ankle for the submission. This is legal for whitebelts on up in IBJJF rules, as it still counts as a straight ankle lock. It's always worth noting that there are many other competitions besides the IBJJF with different rules, but given that the IBJJF is currently the most powerful tournament business in BJJ, a lot of academies follow their lead in terms of regulations.
The next technique I can remember does something comparable, with a straight ankle lock from spider guard, except that you're switching to the previous guard to get that submission. Start with both sleeves gripped, one foot into the same side hip, the other foot pressing into their other arm (for spider guard, that means the crook of their elbow, so that you can bend their arm around your foot).
Maintaining your sleeve grip, switch your bicep foot to their same side knee and push that out. You hip foot will move inside their leg then go around the outside, to put that foot on their hip, while again you're simultaneously hooking behind their ankle with your same side arm. When you've pushed that leg out to disrupt their base, you can then bring the hip foot into x-guard: so, the knee goes behind their same side leg, while the foot hooks around the outside of their other hip.
From here, you're now going to use your sleeve grip to pull them down, passing that sleeve to the hand you have behind their leg. That then frees your other hand to grab the gi material behind their neck (or their collar if you can't reach that far, but behind the neck is better). Pull them down even further, then kick with your legs to roll them over. This is therefore a bit like the de la Riva sweeps I learned at Gracie Barra Birmingham two years ago, but from x-guard.
You'll end up on top, retaining that grip on their ankle you got right near the start. Once on top, you can let go of their sleeve. That gives you enough space to slide your knee on the non-trapped ankle side to their head. Your other knee is going to slide towards their head as well, but due to it's position, it will be able to scoop up both their leg and arm on that side in the process. This scrunches them up, so they're in a terrible position to defend.
The finish is a little different because of the need to keep your knees squeezed. You therefore can't spread your knees to drop your hips and drive through, or you'll give them a chance to wriggle free. Instead, you want to rely on arching your back and pushing out with your chest, in order to apply the ankle lock.
Of course, that assumes you know how to perform the waiter sweep, which if you're like me and rarely venture outside of fundamental guards probably isn't a particular familiar option. If you're in half guard, you want to swivel underneath them to get even deeper: hence the name deep half guard. You now have both legs and both arms around theirs.
For the waiter sweep, you want to use an underhooking arm to bend their leg around yours. Keep on lifting so it is off the floor and drag it towards your head, then kick your legs up to go for the sweep. It's just before this point that the person on top can use Oli's technique to counter. As they try to lift your leg and kick for the sweep, hook the one on the outside of your trapped leg, enveloping their foot in your armpit.
Immediately turn your knee downwards into order to put it by their head like before: if they get far enough in their sweep to lift your leg off the floor and towards their head, it's too late. You need to get the knee turned before that point. Once you have that, the ankle lock is the same as before, squeezing your knees to scrunch them up then arching your back and driving your chest forward for the submission.
Oli then dialled it back a bit to a slightly more simple ankle lock from x-guard. Instead of sweeping them and sliding through to the top, you'll sweep and stay on your back. To get into x-guard, your same side knee goes behind their leg, the instep of that foot around the front of their other hip. Your other foot presses into the knee of that other leg, to stretch them out and keep them off balance.
From there, again like before, you are wrapping with your arm, so their ankle is snug in the crook of your elbow. Bring the knee of your hip leg backwards, so that now the instep is hooking around the front of their same side hip. Your knee pressing foot goes back as well, pushing on that same hip but a little higher up than your first foot. You can now turn your knees to twist their leg and knock them to the floor.
You'll remain on your back, taking the opportunity to establish a solid ankle lock position. Their ankle is still in the crook of your elbow, which means you can reach that hand to the crook of your other elbow, crossing your arms. Your leg on the same side as your ankle hugging arm is underneath their leg, the knee pointing away from you, the foot hooked inside their thigh.
The other leg goes over the top, pressing into their hip: you can use this to push and stretch them out further. Turn onto your ankle hugging side and arch your back. It might feel like your arm is too deep, but after today I can say it does definitely apply pressure to your ankle, so seems to work.
Next up was a toe hold from butterfly guard, where things get a little more dangerous: this is not normally competition legal for anyone below brown belt, but always check the rules before you compete. From butterfly, grab their opposite collar, but not too deep: you still want to be able to pry under their chin with your forearm if necessary, like the overhook guard from Nic G's class. Your other hand grips the gi material on the outside of their same side knee.
Unusually, your inside knee moves across to their ribs. You're going to flare out that knee to shift them sideways. Fall to your back, pulling their leg up with your grip. Your flaring knee will probably have shifted down to their hip. Swivel the other leg around the outside of their same side leg, again putting the foot into their hip. The hand which was gripping by their knee now slides down to grab their foot.
Oli noted that if you can, grip around the toes to bend them down. Do so without actually grabbing the toes themselves: you're still grabbing the meat of the foot, but enveloping the toes with your hands, meaning you can bend them down. The reason for that is they can begin to defend your attack by curling their toes up to make their foot solid. If you take that possibility away, it's easier to manipulate their foot.
Having grasped the end of their foot with one hand, push it around your leg. Bring your other hand behind their ankle and grab your own wrist. You're then looking to push their foot, as if you were literally trying to shove their big toe into their bottom. A somewhat crude image, but it's helpful for remembering the proper direction of rotation. Again, this is dangerous, so do this with gradual control.
If you're stood in their open guard, you can wrap their foot to immediately drop back for an ankle lock. Some people try to do this instead of passing, which is not advisable: learning how to pass the guard is incredibly hard (in six years, I still suck at it), so you want as much practice with passing as possible. Still, it's worth having this up your sleeve if they keep dangling their feet in front of you.
Wrap the arm with your arm as in the previous techniques, then if you're being nasty, step on the inside of their thigh of the wrapped leg and fall back. Oli mentioned how both Buchecha and Ary Farias have done this to vicious effect, basically stamping on their opponent to set up the submission. Drop to the mat on your side, again with your ankle hug side leg underneath their leg, while your other foot is over the top, pressing into their same side hip. Raised slightly off the floor and looking over your shoulder nearest the mat, arch your back for the tap.
Oli finished up with a very unpleasant foot lock: I'm not sure exactly what this would be called, but from what Oli said I think it is the same one Victor Estima has been using successfully in recent competitions. You're in their open guard and they have a foot on your hip. For the submission, that foot needs to be turned so that their toes are pointing diagonally at your opposite shoulder. In drilling we were turning it by hand, but in sparring I am sure there are various ways you could get the foot into place.
be very careful, this will fuck up their knee. Drilling this incredibly lightly with Sahid, I could still immediately feel a lot of tension in my knee. For good reason, only brown belts and above can do this in the IBJJF and I certainly hope that's the case in other competitions. Oli mentioned that David 'Morcegao' (a recenty promoted brown belt who is well-known on UK BJJ forums) goes through this attack on his YouTube channel, so check that out for some more details on the Estima footlock.
I think there were a few others I didn't manage to capture in a video at the end, so my memory may be more hazy on those. I believe one of them was a straight ankle lock from 50/50. I wouldn't know 50/50 guard if it smacked me in the face with a wet fish, but you basically just wrap under their ankle and grab your collar, then push on their knee with your other hand. Turn to the side and arch your back, if I'm remembering correctly.
Thanks again to Kev for inviting me down, to Oli for the seminar and letting me take a video, not forgetting Sahid for being an excellent training partner, as always. :D