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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

14 September 2012

14/09/2012 - Gracie Barra Bristol

Class #468
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 14/09/2012

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The theme for this fortnight is passing the guard: tonight focused on a few principles of passing posture, in a Gracie Barra Fundamentals class I last saw Geeza teach a little over a year ago. The self defence bit was a takedown from a headlock, where you turn your head towards them, grabbing their hip and pushing your other hand into the back of their knee. Step backwards and take them down into side control, basing out with your hands immediately. Shift a knee up to their head, stepping the other leg over and bringing it tight to their hip. Make a frame on their neck with your hands to push up and free your head, finishing with an armbar.

The main technique discussed proper posture in the guard. You begin in a poor position where they've already broken your posture, controlling your head. To recover your posture, first stay safe by clamping your knees and elbows to their hips. Put one knee in the middle of their butt cheek (if you bring it too close to the tailbone, they may be able to sweep you), sliding the other knee outwards. Circle your head out in the direction of that slid-out knee, returning to a good upright posture.

Grab their same side collar with each of your hands, then swinging your head like a pendulum, use the momentum to come to your feet. You stay in a sort of horse stance or crouch, your elbows resting on your knees, head slightly forward, pulling on their collars. This is a very stable position: it is difficult for them to sweep you from here.

To actually get the guard open, if they don't open it already in order to go for a sweep, release one collar and raise up, tucking the elbow of the other arm inside their leg (to avoid offering them a triangle). Reach back with your free hand, inserting it by their locked feet. Turn your body and bring your arm under their leg, aiming to pop their legs open. Keep twisting and grab their far collar or shoulder. From there, you can move into the standard smash pass, driving through their leg until you can slip through to side control.

Sparring was the same as last time we did this lesson: the person on the bottom was just looking to keep their posture broken, while the person on top was looking to stand up with posture. Unfortunately for me, class was divided by height rather than weight, so there were quite a few guys my height or less, but about twice the width! ;p

So, that meant trying to escape their grip was an interesting challenge. With Arnaud, I tried to move into the tailbone break, but I think I misjudged and basically ended up ramming my knee into his balls. Admittedly effective, but for all the wrong reasons. So, I'll need to be more careful with the angle of my knee next time, using leverage to open the guard rather than the natural instinct to protect your testicles. ;)

Underneath, I was looking to wrap up the head, possibly getting an overhook. That sort of worked, but I should have also attempted to establish a deep collar grip too. Knowing that your partner only needs to stand up to end the roll changes the dynamic, as normally I'd be quite happy to switch to open guard. This is therefore a good drill to ensure that you don't give up your closed guard so easily.

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