RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Kev Capel, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK - 05/04/2013
Over the last couple of years, I think I've got three major problem areas: working from the guard (at least against anyone good: I can normally stall somebody less experienced), passing the guard and escaping the back. Kev went through some options for the guard a while ago, so this time round I wanted to look at the back. I also had in mind that I'd probably get stuck there a lot during my US training holiday, so it would make sense to have something solid to work on while trapped there. :)
This is also something Dónal went through during the private lessons I took with him last year. I have to say, most of that has completely gone out of my head, so it's a good thing I take copious notes and that Dónal was also happy for me to take video. I ran through that escape with Kev, where you start by pushing their head across and putting your foot up to stop then rolling you, then wriggling your shoulders to the mat. When you've got your back to the mat, grab their knee with your far arm. I like to use the near arm to go under their head and get a sort of cross-face grip: if I can't get that, I'll go over the top. From there, you can kick your leg free and move to side control.
It seems that when I've been caught in the back over the last few months, I've just tried to stay tight and grab their arm, attempting to turn to little effect as they still have a strong grip. I should try and get back to that previous escape I learned, especially the little trick I tried in open mats, where you pin the arm by your armpit by keeping your elbow tight, using the same side hand to grab their opposite sleeve.
Today's private was different to most of the others, as we did a lot of specific sparring, which helped Kev point out some small details and make a few corrections. After I showed him what I do (or rather, should be doing, as per that Dónal lesson), Kev went through his main option, an escape which begins by sliding downwards. It's the same motion Saulo does for his 'scoop escape', but in this case they have their grips.
As you've scooted down, you should be much closer to their feet. It means that it becomes harder for them to put on a choke, but you do need to watch out for armbar attempts. Keep your elbows tight and don't forget about your neck. To knock their foot off, you could use your foot, but due to being lower down it may be easier to simply push with your hand. From there, you can escape as before.
When you've got your hips over their leg, Kev likes to immediately put his weight onto them by pushing off his feet. He reaches over their far leg locking by their far hip, securing a sort of low reverse scarf hold. You can then keep shifting your hips back into side control, or use it to go to mount if you're able to control their legs. Kev goes all the way back to north-south, whereas I'd probably go to side control at the moment.
We got into a conceptual discussion as a result of all the specific sparring, which was helpful. First, it's possible to bring in John's control point framework and apply it to the back, in particular his secondary control points inside the knees and elbows. When escaping, you want to get underneath their elbows and knees, meaning that you also don't want them to get underneath YOUR elbows.
Second, you can view escaping the back rather like escaping the mount: some of the same principles apply. Escaping the mount, you're looking to dig your elbows into their knees, prying your way out. You can do much the same thing from the back, prying under their arms to make space, or indeed making space by their knee and slipping into deep half. There's also a link in that to do the heel drag escape from mount, I curl in towards the knee make it easier, a little bit like Kev dropping down closer to the feet.
However, you always need to watch out for basic chokes: I was occasionally focusing too much on breaking the unusual controls Kev was using on my arms and forgetting about the ever-present risk to my neck if I left it vulnerable. In terms of controlling the back, Kev mentioned something he calls Also, 'straitjacket control', where he grabs both sleeves and pulls them in tight. He's been doing something similar to control the elbows from north-south too, which has been a very high percentage set up for him. Mainly the armbar, I think, which is still a submission I tend to avoid because of the risk of losing position.
With the legs, there is a grapevine you can do which is reminiscent of the lockdown from half guard. Bring your leg either outside or inside the leg, then hook your instep around their lower leg: inside is better as that ends up being stronger. Just like the half guard lockdown, this should make it easier to affect their base and move their leg around. E.g., I felt like I had almost escaped during sparring at one point, but then Kev got that grapevine and pulled me right back into his control.
I wasn't able to hang around for the rest of class, as right before training, my parents offered to take me down to London for the day, as it was my birthday yesterday. Due to the rescheduled private, that meant I still had plenty of time to fit in some museum hopping, followed by a tasty meal at Bincho, a Japanese restaurant that specialises in yakitori (Japanese mini-kebabs, essentially).
I also had a chance to wander through the Assyrian section of the British Museum. Although the audioguide didn't have all that much to say, it did discuss three of the exhibits (as well as talk more generally about Assyrian history, lion hunts and those winged bulls with bearded human heads). There are also secondary bits on that audioguide, which is quite swish. There are accompanying videos, highlights, plus a 'touch and listen' part. That shows you a photo of what you're looking at, with areas highlighted that open up further discussions when you press on them.
You can also select a guided tour from a menu of around six options, IIRC. I didn't have much time, so selected the 45 minute walk through the Egyptian section of the museum. Unfortunately, as it's the school holidays and a Saturday, the Egyptian section was stuffed with tour groups of children who I doubt particularly wanted to be there. Still, it just meant it took a bit longer to squeeze your way to the relevant exhibit. The guide gives you specific directions, with a highlighted map and a photo of what you should be looking at, although with my total lack of a sense of direction I was able to miss a couple despite all that hand-holding. All in all, I think the audio guide is well worth the £4.50 (I think? Birthday privileges meant my father paid for it ;D) it costs to pick up.