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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

13 February 2013

13/02/2013 - Dónal Private Lesson (Knee Cut Pass, Dealing with de la Riva)

Class #487 - Private #003
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 13/02/2013

This time round, Steve was there to share the private. That's useful, as it means I can watch Dónal demonstrate the details on somebody else, and it is also handy for taking a video afterwards (last time it was static, balanced on a drum, this time I could move around and zoom in as necessary). The slight drawback is that you have less time on what you specifically want to work, as naturally the time needs to be divided equally, but that's fine because you also pay less as a result. :)

We continued with the guard pass from last time, the knee cut pass. The first thing I wanted to cover was avoiding the triangle, as Matt slapped a fast submission on me when I visited the Chris Rees Academy and tried this pass recently. As I thought, I think the problem was reaching for the collar without having established a grip on the other leg. I also should be driving my leg into the back of their knee, and make sure my reaching arm stays inside my own knee.

Some other tips to remember on the basic knee cut (if you want to re-read the full details, see the write-up from last time) are first of all to immediately sink down into a crouch. You then also want to stop them stretching you out by pushing on your non-driving leg: to do that, simply twist it inwards, so they have less purchase for pushing. Once you've slipped through and are looking to flatten them out, drive your forehead into their shoulder to help get them flat on the mat.

The rest of the lesson was firstly bringing Steve up to speed on the details of the pass, then dealing with the de la Riva hook (that picture of Norby reminds me that they might sit up too, which we didn't cover). My usual tactic is to simply flare my knee out to pop the hook off, but Dónal shared a more thorough strategy. If they just put in the hook without also grabbing your trouser cuff, start by getting your grips on their legs. Use the knuckle down grip as usual on the non-hooked leg, then control the inside of the knee on the hooking leg. Step the foot of your hooked leg forward, probably past their belt line (but it depends on the length of your legs and their legs). Make sure you aren't bringing your other leg in, as that will thin your base and result in less stability.

Next, drive your knee forward. This will press your weight down into their foot and significantly reduce the efficacy of their de la Riva hook. From there, switch your hand from the inside of their knee to their collar, again getting that deep grip and pulling their shoulders off the mat. You can then progress with the pass as normal: they may well remove their hook on their own, due to the discomfort.

More likely they will also be grabbing your trouser cuff, which is more of a hindrance. However, you are still going to proceed with the pass as normal: the execution will end up being slightly different. When you've used the above method to nullify their hook, drag them across forcefully to the side with their collar, as you normally would. It is more important than usual if they have that grip, as yanking them may be enough to knock their hand off your trouser cuff.

If it isn't, you'll then collapse your weight into their top leg, driving your hip down. That additional weight and leverage is likely to break their grip. If they're stubborn they may be able to hold it, but it is not going to be pleasant for them as you're basically sitting on their hand. Once that grip is off, you can continue to slide through as before.

Next week, I think I might ask for some tips on spider guard. It's unfortunate I can't spar properly at the moment, as that would be the best way to work out what people tend to do when I try this pass, but hopefully I'll be back into normal sparring soon. There has been some improvement with my groin injury, but it isn't up to full on sparring from guard just yet.

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