Hit Fit, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 21/11/2013
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Tonight, Dónal wanted to share some of the techniques he'd recently picked up at a Roger Gracie seminar, appropriately on mount. If you're having trouble getting past their defence from mount, because they have crossed their arms over their neck, you can use a frame against their shoulders to bring your knees under their elbows. That will mean you can shove those knees into their armpits, seriously impacting their ability to escape your mount.
The first of three ways to do that is simply placing your hands by the mat directly in front of each shoulder, pressing your wrists against them. Secondly, you can put your elbows by their shoulders, which also means you can sink a bit lower and frees your hands to go on top of their head, helping to pull you up higher. Thirdly, try putting your hands directly on the front of their shoulders rather than on the mat, then lean forwards. You may need the additional leverage of your feet on their hips, but either way, from here you can attempt to pry their elbows up in order to get your knees underneath.
If you have an arm under their head and they start pushing on your knee, then depending on which side, you can either move to a submission or continue the process above. If they are pushing on the same side as your under-the-head arm, that means they only have one hand defending their neck. There should be enough space to reach your hand on that side through, curling it behind their wrist as an entry point, after which you can move into an ezequiel. If they are pushing on the other side, simply yank their arm up by the elbow and progress under the armpits as before.
Once you've got up into their armpits and their elbows are raised, you can move into either taking the back (my preference) or an armbar (which I generally don't like because I find the risk of losing position is too high, but then my armbars are crap so that's unsurprising ;D). Shove your hand past their opposite bicep, with your thumb on top, so making a sort of knife-hand.
Should you have trouble sliding it past, then with your free hand grab the elbow of the arm you're trying to control, pushing it across towards their other arm. This is counter-intuitive, but it does seem to create some space. Wedging your arm right through, you can now wrap their arm, using that to take the back or set up your armbar. Move into s-mount (which I last taught back in 2011), switching the arm you have threaded through theirs if necessary: i.e., rather than pushing your arm through from the inside, you reach around the outside and insert the other arm.
Doing that, you can then grab your own wrist, lean into their sternum and push off the other leg slightly. That will drive your weight through your bum into their chest. With your free hand, shove their elbow away from you, which should hopefully leave their remaining arm (which due to that switch you are already controlling) vulnerable to an armbar.
We then did some specific sparring from mount, where I had the pleasure of going with an experienced purple belt who was visiting the class. When I was on top, he immediately escaped the first time. I was much more careful after that, paying close attention to his arms, blocking them with my hips, shifting my body position to increase weight where necessary and also reaching deep under his back with my legs for control. I think he was using the same escape Michel Verhoeven taught at his seminar to defeat the kind of low mount I like, where you do a few small bumps and reach underneath to the opposite hip with your arm. As ever, I was only able to maintain, rather than initiate much offence.
Underneath, I relied upon the usual heel-drag, but also staying patient and waiting for my opportunity to exploit some space. The purple belt was going for more attacks than most people do, meaning I could sneak into the gaps as he did, but at the same time he was going pretty light. A few times I suspect he would have caught me before I escaped if he upped the pace, such as when he was moving into an americana and I spun through to his guard.
Free sparring started off with one of the white belts, where I was able to get on top with a rather sloppy sit-up sweep. I should be pulling back on their elbow quicker, as well as shifting into a kimura or some other attack if the sweep is blocked. Getting to mount, I again mostly just held it, unable to get the grips I wanted for the americana or the ezequiel. I should have moved up higher, then gone for it: I'm still too concerned about risking position.
Next up was a blue belt, where I stayed on the bottom with closed guard, repeatedly trying to set up that deep Relson grip choke. I got the grip, but grabbed the cloth by the shoulder. That's too obvious, so instead I should have reached underneath my arm and grabbed the far lapel, just like I taught it recently. I have a bad habit of not following my own BJJ advice. ;)
Hanging around a bit longer after the hour was up, I went with the same white belt from earlier, but this time took off my gi. It's cold at the Hit Fit gym, so I always wear both spats and a rash guard underneath. Rolling nogi levelled the playing field, as not only is my nogi crappy, I rely a lot on gi grips, plus the white belt has been doing MMA a while.
I ended up in guard for most of it, trying to control behind the head, looking for guillotines and the sit-up sweep again. At some point I think I might have gotten on top, but was not able to get anything going from there, especially as I can't go for an ezequiel in nogi. Eventually I got reversed, putting me in his guard. I am pretty much stuck when it comes to passing in nogi, as again I rely on having a grip on their collar to secure me in place.
Without that, I revert to the lazy and dangerous option of waiting for them to open their guard enough to slip an arm out and get a single underhook pass. The reason that's dangerous is because you're susceptible to get triangled or armbarred if you're not careful. It worked on this occasion, putting me in side control, but I think he got his guard back anyway.
Good to roll nogi occasionally, as it reminds me how much I depend on grips, though personally I don't really care. I've no interest in developing a game that works both in gi and nogi, because I find that means you lose a massive proportion of all the stuff that is fun in the gi: i.e., collar chokes, wrapping the gi up around various body parts and grips. So, I just need to develop a separate nogi game, which is going to take a while given how rarely I take off the gi. ;D