Bristol Sports Centre, (Artemis BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 12/03/2014
The Artemis BJJ GrappleThon fundraising is only a month away! The Meerkatsu t-shirts have arrived from Tatami Fightwear (who have both supported the GrappleThons I've run every year so far, plus a whole bunch of others) and the fundraising is hotting up. We're almost at the £2,000 mark: if you want to help push us past that barrier, head over to the donation page, here. :)
For those intending to take part on the 12th April in Bristol (you would be very welcome!), then all the details you need can be found here. If you want to be in with a chance of earning a Meerkatsu 'Heavenly Bow & Arrow' shirt, then then only way to do it is to set up a JustGiving page and raise money for Kinergy at the GrappleThon: details on how to do that over on the Artemis BJJ here.
As a rule of thumb, if you're underneath, you don't want to be flat on your back. So, start your elbow escape by turning to your side, getting a shoulder off the floor. Saulo notes that you should be doing this as early as possible: if they are working to mount from side control, set up your escape during the transition, rather than waiting for them to secure their mount. Work an elbow inside their knee and set up your frame, in order to push into the leg.
There are several ways of framing for that push. I personally like to keep defending my neck throughout, using my elbows to dig into their leg. That keeps my neck safe, but it does limit your range and reduce leverage: you'll need to curl in towards their leg to generate enough push. The other main option is to extend your arms further towards their hip, leaving your neck vulnerable but considerably beefing up your leverage. That frame is also handy for stopping them moving up higher in mount.
When I went to the seminar with the Dutch black belt under Rickson, Michel Verhoeven, he began by reaching across to their opposite hip with his hand, keeping his arms slightly bent. He then pushed on the hip: if they were higher up, he would form a frame with his arms and push. That second option is the one my fellow Artemis BJJ co-founder Dónal likes to teach, putting one arm across their hip (the hand is by one hip, the elbow by their other hip). For extra leverage, brace that first arm with your other hand, against your wrist. Stephan Kesting recommends keeping the hand of the hip-arm in a fist, to lock in the grip (so your second hand doesn't slide off as easily).
Whichever option you use, the idea is to make enough space from the combination of your shrimp and bridge to pull your leg through. As with side control escapes, don't just bridge and plop back down, it needs to combine with your shrimp. The leg you're trying to pull free should be flat: if it isn't, they will be able to trap it with their leg. Having that leg flat also makes it easier to pull out. You other foot will be on the floor with the knee raised, in order to provide the push for your shrimp.
After you're on your side, bump slightly, then pry their leg open with your elbow. Aim to pop your knee through between their legs initially. If you can pull the whole leg out in one, great, but don't be greedy. Getting that first knee through will mean you can then brace your leg against their thigh, aiding your second shrimp to free your other leg. Once one of your legs is fully out, you can then use it to wrap around one of theirs, or put your free leg around their back.
Again, there are a few variations at this point. The classic elbow escape involves pulling your knee between their legs, having opened up space by bridging and shrimping. An alternative is to slide that leg underneath. This version is less about prying their knee open, as instead you're using your elbow or your hand to push it over your trapped leg. Rener stiff-arms into their knee when he demonstrates this in Gracie Combatives, though that could leave you very open to chokes in a normal gi class. As you push their knee backwards, simultaneously bring your trapped knee towards your chest, sliding it along the floor and under their leg.
When your leg is free, getting half guard may be a possibility, which offers up numerous sweeping opportunities and a few attacks as well. However, generally I'd recommend you keep working towards full guard. To do that, continue shrimping (towards the trapped leg side: you should be able to base the trapped leg foot on the floor if you've already got your knee into their thigh) and framing until both legs are free. Another option is to put the leg around their back.
Teaching Notes: Quite a lot packed into this lesson, with three variations on the frame and two on pulling the knee free. I think having those multiple frames is ok, but next time I may just stick with getting the knee between the legs rather than slipping under. Sliding the knee underneath has a lot of similarities to my favoured escape, the heel drag. I think I will therefore just fold it into that lesson next time: a number of people (e.g., there was a blue belt there) just did the heel drag anyway.
I also need to emphasise that if people are using my preferred frame, curling in towards the leg makes it easier, at least for me. Saulo's late escape, where he bridges into the leg then lifts it over into half guard, would be worth teaching at some point too. I'll have to have a think where to fit that in: there are quite a few escapes that would be worth teaching. This should become easier when I'm regularly teaching twice a week, as then I have eight lessons a month to play with for each position, rather than just four.
Having said that, I'm covering Dónal's class at Hit Fit tomorrow, but I'll just teach the same thing again (with some tweaks based on what I learned this lesson). Fitting in at least one round of free sparring would be good too, judging by feedback. Squeezing it into an hour isn't always easy, but I could probably make enough time by being a bit more economical on specific sparring and the technique review at the end. Matter of experimenting, as always. :)