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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

30 November 2013

30/11/2013 - RGA Aylesbury (Taking the Back & Chokes)

Class #537
RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Kev Capel, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK - 30/11/2013

I'm back in Aylesbury this weekend, part of my intention to get over there more regularly (ideally every couple of months on average across the year). Kev began by attacking the turtle, where he suggests you start off with a leg over their back. That makes it hard for them to roll back to guard over a shoulder, as you can follow them in either direction into side control or even the back.

Reach to grab a lapel (not too deep, or they will trap your arm and roll you), then pull them diagonally over their hip. Put in your hook as you do so, using the Marcelo hip extension if you need to open them up before inserting your second hook.

Having taken their back, go for the single arm short choke, something else Donal has covered in private lessons. They aren't going to let you have that easily and will block with both arms. Use your armpit hand to grab their wrist, shove it down, then bring your leg over the crook of their elbow. To secure that in place, hook your instep under their wrist.

They only have one hand left to defend their neck, but that can still be an annoyance. Switch your arms to try and wriggle it across their neck. They will almost certainly block that too by grabbing your arm. With your free hand, dig under their defending elbow, until you can reach inside and grab their wrist. Shove it down, keeping that for control. You can then finish your choke, either with a single arm, moving to a sliding choke, or a bow and arrow variation.

Do not be tempted to bring your leg over that arm too. That puts them into a deep half guard type position. They can use that to shrug off your legs and slip down out of your back control, meaning you lose a strong attacking position and possibly even puts them on top, if they react quickly. Never have both legs over.

Finally, for the other person, you can escape the turtle. Reverse engineering what you did earlier, don't let them get a leg over your back. Blcok that immediately by stepping your nearest leg next to theirs, hooking it ideally. Reach to grab their knee next to you, which will probably be raised. Avoid having your elbow high: instead, keep your arm in line with their leg. Shift your hip, spinning through to guard.

In terms of sparring, the tail-end of the warm-up was guard passage. On top, I wasn't having much luck except against white belts. Even there, I was being lazy and waiting for them to open their guard, then single stack passing around their side. The brown belts were sweeping me easily (I don't think I rolled with a purple at that point, but they would have no doubt swept me easily too).

On the few occasions I got underneath I had even less success, getting passed by everyone. Rolling with a blue, I couldn't get my deep collar grip established, eventually leading to him standing up than leg drag passing me. I need to consider ways to get the opening for the deep collar grip, because once I have it in properly it's a good control. Perhaps pull them in to get them to lean back and expose their neck? Or the opposite, hip bump so they come forward and bring the collar in range? Something to play with.

At the end, I got in a bunch of free sparring. I still can't get my deep grip: several people just moved their head around, which I think can be used to go for a funky baseball bat but it looks a bit flashy and has a sacrifice element to it I don't like. But worth trying, as that happened at least three or four times. Alternatively, I need to spend more time on getting a better grip, leaving less slack.

I sort of got the Akins hip shift sweep, but that was with a smaller partner. That put me in mount, where I used Donal's tips (via Roger Gracie) about getting in tight on mount. I moved up into the armpits and got their elbows in the air, then reached in past the arm to go for the back. That's where I messed up, as I wasn't tight enough to the shoulder with my chest, so ended up slipping off and putting myself in guard.

With a purple belt, I had to be wary of my feet, making sure I didn't put them past their hip where they could drop back for an achilles lock. I found myself on top half guard a few times: The control is not as good when I have my arm past their head, driving the elbow back, compared to a cross-face. However, there is a risk that they can escape as I try to switch from the first to the second, which I think happened during this roll once or twice.

I was looking for the kimura from there, but failed to isolate properly. When I did finally get an americana locked on, I no longer had strong enough positional control, as he was able to turn and escape. It was an enjoyable roll, as Stuart kept a steady, technical pace. I get the impression that he could have sped up and given me a much harder time. ;)

With another purple belt I was throwing up triangle attempts under side control. That's not a high percentage submission, but I get tempted to try it for control when their head is low and I have my legs around their far arm. It failed miserably the first time, but the second time helped me recover my guard.

On top with a bigger blue belt, I was practicing my side control maintenance again. It was a good reminder that I shouldn't get complacent about that: while I can hold a number of people my size or bigger white belts, if somebody more experienced and bigger is underneath, they can still roll me straight over (and I'm no doubt leaving some gaps for them to exploit there, so it's not purely a matter of strength).

I was pleased that earlier in the roll I managed to do a very slow back-step pass against de la Riva. I dropped my head to his hip then gradually shifted my weight back to stop him scooting underneath, until I could get an arm under the head and put myself into the familiar opposite side half guard passing position. Having said that, he was specifically working his guard as it's an area he doesn't go much, so somebody with a trickier de la Riva would probably have taken my back.

As always there was lots of sitting in the running escape not doing anything. That's something I've covered in a private with Donal, but as I end up there so frequently, it's important that I look at it with Kev too in a future private (in today's private, which was right after this lesson, we covered a different topic).

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