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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

06 March 2013

06/03/2013 - Gracie Barra Bristol (Tripod Sweep & Closed Guard Back Take)

Update Jan 2014: I've since moved to Artemis BJJ in the centre of Bristol. Artemis BJJ currently has classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 19:30-20:30 at Bristol Sports Centre: for full details, head over to the Locations page.

Class #492
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 06/03/2013

I headed down to Geeza's class straight from the private lesson. I was especially keen to attend to today, as Geeza said in his text message he was covering one of my favourite techniques, the tripod sweep. I'm always interested to glean more details on techniques I teach in my own classes, so was hoping Geeza would have a different take (which he did). Which means I can add that into the class I'll teach tomorrow.

The 'self defence' bit was basically a double leg takedown, driving straight forward. Due to being positioned as 'self defence', this was off ducking a looping overhand punch. I'm more familiar with slipping round to the back, as that's something I've drilled more often: in tonight's version, you drive straight forward, putting yourself in their guard. I had to be careful when it was my partner's turn, as heavy impact on the ground is exactly what my injury doesn't need. Hence why I was completely ignoring the proper way to breakfall, instead putting my hand behind me and lowering myself down slowly.

Getting on to the tripod sweep, grab their sleeve with both hands, putting your feet on the hips. This helps control the distance. From there, leave one foot on the hip while the other drops down behind their other heel (I prefer behind the knee, so that already reminded me of a variation I can add when I teach it). Leaving a hand on the sleeve, use your same side hand on the hip-foot side to grab their ankle.

Geeza prefers to cup their ankle, which requires good timing: the other option is to get a grasp of their trouser cuff. There appears to be some disagreement between black belts as to which is the better grip, but the latter makes most sense to me. First time I learned it 2008, Nic G advised cupping the ankle, which looking back seems to be true every time I've learned this sweep so far. If Geeza is reading this, you're right: Roger has always emphasised grabbing the trouser leg rather than cupping the ankle, as this is the post I was thinking of. ;)

From here, you're going to push with your hip foot, pull with your other foot and block with your ankle gripping hand. That should knock them over, meaning you can come on top. Again, Geeza does this differently to the method I normally use, as he moves back rather than forwards. After you've knocked them down, put your hooking foot on the floor, bring your other leg behind you. Let go of their sleeve.

Stand up, holding on to their trouser leg, pulling up and then pushing the leg towards them. That will make it difficult for them to recover, as you move around to a dominant position like side control or knee on belly. Standing up when someone has your foot in the air is hard. My instructor at RGA Bucks, Kev Capel, teaches the technique the same way in this video:

I was expecting Geeza to follow up with the sickle sweep, but instead he showed a back take, presumably in keeping with the Gracie Barra Fundamentals syllabus. They have the standard grips inside your closed guard. Grab the hand by your chest with both hands, gripping the sleeve on either side of their wrist. Thrust that hand away from you (same direction as the side their arm is on), also turning slightly and moving your shoulder back for increased leverage.

Maintaining your grip, pull their arm back across the other way as far as you can. Let go with your near arm and reach around their back, aiming to lock them to your body in an awkward position turned on their side. Clamp your chest to your back, so that you can then release the grip on their sleeve and use that hand for base. Slide your knee out, then swing the other leg over to establish your first hook. From there, you can roll them into back control.

Specific sparring was from open guard, with the proviso that the person standing can't kneel. This was a perfect follow-up to my private lesson earlier, as now I could practice my passing. It was all white belts and none of them were significantly heavier than me, which is a good environment for testing out techniques you haven't used often. The first hurdle to overcome was reaching the starting position for the pass. Which I didn't.

The difficulty was getting in tight enough to then step my leg forward, driving into the back of their knee, in order to get a grip on the collar and pull their shoulders off the mat. I wasn't able to stop them pushing me back with their legs, though I did still get the knee cut several times more sloppily. However, it seemed that when they push you away with their legs like that, it can set up the bullfighter pass quite nicely. That's something I'll ask Dónal about.

I could perhaps use the knuckles into the shin grip more: my natural grip is inside the knees, as that also means I can pop their foot off my hip with my elbow and then punch my hands into the mat for the bullfighter. I was also using my back-up half guard grip a lot, where you have an elbow behind their head, gripping their back, facing their legs. I used that to force half guard and pass from there a few times. However, I was clearly using too much strength, as I was breathing heavily afterwards (I didn't get a break during king of the hill, which obviously contributed, but still, I shouldn't have been using that much energy).

On the bottom, I went for the tripod and sickle over and over again, which generally proved successful, but then it was small white belts. I was pleased that my leg appeared to hold up ok, meaning that is the first bit of sparring I've been able to do without feeling crippled since September, which is cool.

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