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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

01 August 2013

01/08/2013 - No Gi (Passing Quarter Guard)

Class #514
Gracie Barra Bristol, (No-Gi), Miles Pearson, Bristol, UK - 01/08/2013

The schedule for nogi has changed slightly, as classes are now 19:30-21:00 rather than 19:00-20:30. That works out quite nicely, as it means I can eat with my girlfriend rather than having to eat sandwiches on my own to make sure I'm leaving enough time between eating and training (I like to leave at least an hour, preferably two). Tonight we were continuing on top mount, but interestingly due to the position Miles picked, it combined elements of passing half guard as well, along with back control.

That's because both techniques were based around quarter guard, which is a common term for when they've trying to get half guard, but have only managed to trap your foot (as per the picture, although most often, you would be in more of a mount position with both knees on the mat: Saulo is most of the way through a half guard pass). This is BJJ, so I'm sure there are a bunch of other names for the same thing. It is something I first encountered as a new blue belt, back in August 2008, when Rob T mentioned it as a way to escape knee-on-belly.

The basic quarter guard pass (which you could argue is also part of maintaining mount), begins by reaching under the armpit on the same side as your trapped knee. Grab their same side shoulder, locking it in, then complete the immobilisation of their skull by clamping your head to the other side. This should stop them being able to turn. Raise up your legs (maintaining plenty of pressure on their upper body: you have the control points of their head and at least one shoulder, making it tough for them), then slide your trapped knee to the other side of their body. From here you should be able to slide free. If you need to create more space to extricate your trapped foot, use your free leg to kick their upper knee.

Miles followed up with a far more complicated and lower percentage response, where you end up taking the back. I would never use this in sparring, but as I very frequently use the heel drag escape from mount (which begins with quarter guard), it is good to know that the person on top might attempt this. After they put you in quarter guard, adjust your foot so you're hooking over their top foot with your shin. The idea is to keep it in place, as if they can uncross their legs, the back take will fail.

Next, turn your body towards their legs, away from your trapped side, pushing your free foot into the heel/ankle of your trapped foot. Do a static forward roll motion, bringing your arm between your legs (as much as you can do while sat astride somebody). Reach for their trailing leg and grab it, then extend your legs (watch out that you don't end up doing a calf slicer, unless you're trying this technique in a competition setting that allows slicers). Hopefully this will put you into a sort of banana split position, where you immediately wrap your arms around their nearest leg, still pushing on your own foot to get the rotation. From there, you're going to try and take their back by again adjusting to grab the neck.

Sparring started off with specific from quarter guard, king of the hill, split into group. Staying on top, I found that in that position you need to immediately go for something as they have already initiated your escape. If you delay, they'll probably get at least to half guard. I therefore went straight to underhook the shoulder, or if I couldn't get that, gripping their head and/or armpit. I generally managed that, though a few times I found myself in half guard.

Underneath, I could normally finish the heel drag, as that is my favourite escape. Once or twice I ended up just opening space, but could then use the butterfly type escapes I taught last week to complete my exit from underneath them. The most complex situation was when Luke attempted the rolling back take we had just learned, but fortunately for me he didn't have control of my legs. That meant I could swivel through and end up in his guard (helped by the fact he is much bigger than me, so inevitably leaves space I can exploit, particularly in nogi).

I'm still watching the Essential Grips clip from No Gi Essentials before each nogi class, which has therefore been my focus when it came to free sparring. Previously I found it really difficult to get the wrist and elbow grip Dean advocates as everything was so sweaty, but tonight it was perhaps a bit cooler as I managed it a few times. I didn't do a whole lot with it, but just getting the grip was an improvement from before, as I could then push into their hips with my feet.

The knee cut worked a few times, helped by the slipperiness. I wasn't doing a whole lot with submissions, though I randomly ended up in a vague head and arm choke type position. Very sloppy though: the first tap was just from their arm being pressed into their mouth, so that wasn't anything to rely upon. I was in the middle of trying to set something up when that happened, so hadn't even realised they were in that position.

I also again landed the Henry Akins sweep, this time without them putting their knee in my tailbone. I'm liking the mechanics of it, so plan to keep on testing it whenever I'm in closed guard, gi or nogi.

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