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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

11 September 2013

11/09/2013 - Private (Closed Guard Gi Tail Grip)

Class #523 - Private #015
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 11/09/2013

Quite often when I'm sparring and get to closed guard, I'll break down their posture, wrap my arm over their back...then just sit there without much happening. I have several sweeps I like to go for, mainly the windscreen wiper and the sit-up sweep, but I feel I should have a couple of other options to attempt from that position. That's therefore what I wanted to work on with Dónal today: as ever, he more than delivered! :)

Once you've broken down their posture and have wrapped them up, Dónal suggests going for a particular gi grip. If you can get it, that becomes a powerful platform for launching several attacks. To initially get the gi tail grip, put your thumb in their collar as low as you can with your same side hand, while still remaining above their belt.

Slide it down, then briefly remove your leg on that side in order to punch your collar-gripping hand outwards. You don't want to have your leg swung out for too long as that may give them an escape opportunity, so you might also find that you have to do it gradually. Yanking the gi out in one motion is preferable, as then they have less reaction time, but you may not always get that luxury.

Pull that gi lapel across their back, feeding it to your other hand. It should be possible to do this while still holding them down, so don't relieve the pressure on their back. Your other hand should grab the gi lapel with the palm facing towards you. Grip it tightly and pull down, so your forearm is tight against their neck. Bend your wrist towards you, also tilting it slightly towards their neck, so that little bony outcrop by your wrist (on the thumb side) presses into the carotid.

From that grip, there are a number of different attacks. The simplest is a choke, much like the palm up palm down choke, with some similarities to the submission from mount I went through with Berry on Sunday. Punch your grip away from your while also shifting your hips, with the intention of knocking your partner to one side, transferring them towards your non-gi gripping arm side. Ideally that will mean you're now looking at their ear on the non-gi grip side, so can use your free arm to grab the gi material by their shoulder. That arm becomes a brace, then you squeeze and twist with your gi grip for the choke.

If you can't get them across for whatever reason, there is the option of a triangle instead. Put your hand slightly above their same side elbow with your free hand, then shove that backwards, swinging your leg over the top. Make sure you get over their shoulder too, or they can make space to escape. A handy tip when you can't budge their arm from the ground is to pop up on your shoulders and turn: this should lighten their arm, meaning your can scoop under their elbow and pull it across.

From there you can lock up the triangle as normal, though you'll need to release your gi grip first. Having said that, the gi grip is handy for keeping their posture broken as you set up the triangle. It might be possible to get a tap just squeezing with your grip in place and legs locked, but it would be low percentage.

Finally, you can try and take the back. You've set up your position as before, but aren't able to bump them over for the choke or push the arm back for the triangle. You can instead switch your gi grip to pushing their arm across their body, clamping your chest to their shoulder to prevent them pulling that arm back out again. Your other arm reaches for their far armpit, meaning that you can then flip them into the back position.

It's also worth keeping in mind that people may well put their hand on the mat when you initially get that grip, opening up the possibility of getting an overhook. As their hand is on the mat, the classic sit-up series and kimura could be there too, but I would have thought it would be hard to switch from a grip grip into a diagonal sit up and figure four. Still, something to play with.

Also, that gi grip is similar to what Roy Dean demonstrates on Brown Belt Requirements. He starts off from side control, using it for various chokes, before rolling through and applying the same grip from the closed guard. I'm keen to improve my chokes from side control as well, so this could be a good option to investigate next week (especially as it would follow on nicely from today).

I'm off to Doc Martin Land next week, so won't be back training until the week after that. :)

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