Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 21/08/2013
I originally was considering doing some more work on closed guard sweeps for today's private lesson, but yesterday's sparring reminded me that my ability to open the closed guard remains really pants. I therefore went for that instead, getting in some basic closed guard breaks. I could have quite happily spent the entire lesson on just that, but as this was a dual private lesson, Liam naturally had some input too. Fortunately, he wanted to work on something closely related, which was passing after you had opened the guard.
The closed guard break from the knees is among the first techniques I ever learned, back in 2006, but I've been struggling with it ever since. Indeed, it was the topic of my first private lesson in 2010, so I've come full circle. The basic method starts by setting up your grips, grabbing both collars with one hand, by their chest, your other hand by their hip. Put your knee under the tailbone, then wriggle back until you can pop their ankles apart. Saulo's version, as per that picture, has the knee off to the side with the leg stretched out, using a sort of dip rather than relying on scooting back.
Dónal added in some small but important details (which he's taught before, but clearly I did not fully understand them). I think the main thing I've been missing is twisting up their collars so that there is no slack when you grip, along with jamming your palm or fist into their sternum to lock it in place. Normally what happens is that I find my arm gets stretched out and lose my posture: by securing it more firmly, that should be avoided. With your hand on the hip, measure it by bringing your elbow back to their knee, then grabbing the material that puts next to your hand.
From there, get your knee underneath their tailbone, meaning they are raised up onto your leg. Curve your back, then slowly wriggling backwards, with your other knee out to the side. In drilling, this was effective, but I suspect I'm going to run into problems when adding in more resistance. Still, both Dónal and Liam were commenting how this is their go-to guard break: I'm hopeful that after today I can finally get it working for me regularly. ;)
The main part of the lesson focused on then passing the closed guard, directly from that guard break: I refer to this one as the leg pin pass. This particular version is one I think I've also seen before, back in 2010 when I was at GB Birmingham, but I didn't understand all the details at the time.
Once you've split the ankles apart, use your elbow or hand to push their knee to the mat. Immediately kick your foot forward into the crook of their knee, then drive your knee to the mat next to their hip. That initial kick, combined with keeping your foot engaged, should twist their leg away from you in such a way that they will find it hard to adjust into a defensive posture.
Your other knee raises up, then pushes forward, so their other leg ends up on your hip. Push your hips in that direction, so that they can't lock their legs back together. Get a cross-face on the grounded leg side, while swimming your arm under their raised leg. From there, do a back-step so you're sat next to them, then drive forward into side control, pushing your knees under their legs so they can't sneak a knee through. You also may need to secure their far elbow, so they can't turn.
Quite often when you are in the middle of that pass, they will try to block your hip with their hand: I certainly do. However, that also means that their elbow is away from their side, which provides you with the opportunity to bring your same side arm (i.e., the one you would have used to cross-face) underneath their arm. Twist your arm so the palm is facing up, scooping under their arm to push it over their face.
Back-step as before, this time bringing your body around so that you're pressuring by their shoulder. Again be sure to also secure their far elbow to stop them turning. From this position, you may well be able to move straight into a gift-wrap and take the back. Alternatively, you may be able to feed their collar to your arm under their head and apply a variety of chokes.