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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

27 June 2013

27/06/2013 - No Gi (Omoplata Sweep to Armbar)

Class #506
Gracie Barra Bristol, (No-Gi), Miles Pearson, Bristol, UK - 27/06/2013

Back to the nogi tonight with Miles, working from closed guard. It's been very muggy today, which made for an extremely sweaty session, but that's great for working control. The topic was closed guard, more specifically the omoplata sweep. Grab their opposite wrist, with your thumb towards them, clamping their hand to their own torso. Swivel and kick into their trapped arm with your legs (try to get the back of your knee right into their armpit), at the same time shooting your free hand underneath their same side leg. Bring that in as close to your body as possible.

Stretch them out with your legs, then get your hip slightly underneath them. This should enable you to roll them directly over you. Maintaining control of their arm, turn towards their legs. As you establish control with your bodyweight and by putting your free elbow into their far hip, you can let go of their arm and either continue into side control, or shift your hips back for reverse scarf, then mount.

There is also the option of transitioning to an armbar. As you turn and come up, instead of looking to get side control, focus on grabbing just below the elbow of their trapped arm and pulling up and in towards your body. Sit on their chest, then wait for their reaction. If they try and roll you over, there is the option of still going for the omoplata.

If they raise their head, stick the leg you have nearest to that head underneath it, so their head is on top of your calf. You then want to adjust and turn until your instep is under their head. Quickly swing the other leg over the top (if you are too slow with this, they can grab it and stop your submission). Wrap their arm tightly with one of yours, while the other arm grasps their leg to stop them scampering away. Finish the armbar from there.

Sparring started from closed guard, with the proviso that you had to stay on your knees when passing, with no submissions from the bottom, just sweeps. On the bottom, I went for sit-up sweeps, though I was generally with less experienced people. On top, again I was with someone less experienced. I wasn't able to open the guard with the classic knee in the tailbone break, unable to get sufficient leverage (which I can never manage in the gi either: I struggle to get the necessary extension).

Waiting for my moment, I snuck my arm underneath, clamped their hip in close and looked for the single underhook pass. To stop them spinning away, I reached around the outside with my free arm, grabbing the far side of their neck, using that to complete the pass. However, I suspect a higher belt wouldn't have let me do that.

With free sparring, I started off with Liam, a fellow purple who is also bigger. He was going fairly light, otherwise I would have been choked out several times. As it was, he didn't cinch it in tightly, meaning I could sneak my arms in and make some space. That's a false sense of security though, because he wasn't going full pelt. I kept failing to overwrap his arm when slipping out too, ending up right back in choking range.

On top, where I briefly manage to stay at the start, I used my favoured half guard control people often give me when we go from the knees. That translates relatively well to nogi, as I put one elbow into the back of the head, the other arm wrapping up one of theirs. However, I don't really do anything with it. I need to work out how to turn that into a submission or setting up a pass. At the moment, what I mainly try to do is work to flatten them out, which doesn't always work that well.

However, sometimes it does, like when I was sparring somebody less experienced, getting me to mount. I again used what I'm familiar with from the gi, which is Kev's mount control where you cross your feet. I was attempting to walk up with my feet and work under the arm for an americana, but the lack of friction in nogi made that rather more difficult.

He escaped, which gave me another chance to work on controls from closed guard. Before the lesson I rewatched the nogi-applicable segment from Carlos Machado's excellent butterfly sweep dissection, Unstoppable. I didn't expect to get anywhere near a sweep, so followed my own advice and looked for a specific component of the sweep: the initial control gripping the shoulder with a gable grip. That turned out to be hard enough, as with almost everybody I struggled to secure the initial underhook I needed.

It was easier to wrap the head, though I think I'm doing something drastically wrong there. I keep having a sore right arm, a clear indication I'm using too much force. Using my legs more would make sense, or even better if I could bring my skeletal structure into play somehow.

Another control I was working was reaching further to grab their far armpit, which seemed relatively stable. Not that I was able to do much with it, but for nogi, getting any kind of control is my current goal, as I can't do anything until I've got a handle on that.

I eventually got a sit-up sweep again to put them back in mount, where it repeated the earlier slow lack of submission. He was able to get out this time by being energetic, where again the lack of friction was noticeable. Having no gi material to grab makes it harder to stop them wriggling free, which is good practice for my mount control: it has to be tighter to function in nogi.

I also had a roll with Oli, one of the better blue belts. He has a relaxed approach to sparring and often likes to try out random stuff. He's therefore fun to roll with, as he doesn't take it too seriously. I played around with triangles from under side control: I had one locked in and wanted to isolate the non trapped arm, but Oli was wise to it and immediately hid his elbow.

He managed to escape and started going for my back, using the Marcelo Garcia tactic of locking in the seatbelt grip, then manoeuvring around behind me. By the time he got to a good position, the timer rang, though I suspect I would have ended up in a similar situation to Liam earlier, defending and failing to escape.

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