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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

28 April 2014

28/04/2014 - American Top Team West Palm Beach (Open Mat)

Class #563
American Top Team (BJJ), Open Mat, West Palm Beach, FL, USA - 28/04/2014

A photo posted by Can (Jun) (@slideyfoot) on

One of my favourite bloggers for many years now has been the erudite Megan, who runs Tangled Triangle and Groundwork. She managed to arrange for us to head into the spacious ATT West Palm Beach gym and hit the mats for around 1.5hrs of rolling and drilling. We started off with some light rolling, where again I was playing with the gi lapel from guard, as it is so much easier on my fingers than spider guard. I was mostly just trying to maintain my guard, wriggling around to square back up: I think I am relying too much on flexibility sometimes with that, as my legs occasionally get into odd positions that probably aren't entirely safe.

I can't remember how exactly, but I later ended up on top, passing from half guard with the knee cut to then shift to side control and mount, my favourite progression from the top. In mount I was attempting to walk up into the armpits and trap the arms like always.

This time I did something different, deciding to feed my lapel to the arm I have under the head, then step off into side control to finish off the spinning gi lapel choke (I need to think of a name for that: I know there was a name for it on MGinAction that I mentioned last time I tauht this, so I'll look that up next time I'm on a laptop rather than my phone).

That's a transition I don't think about often, but it's worth considering. I'm not sure I'm comfortable giving up mount for side control, as it's lower down the positional hierarchy, but then again if I have a submission cinched in, it is perhaps a sensible exception. I went for the bow and arrow as well at some point, which I'm continuing to try and improve (for the possibly dubious reason that I kind of think I should due to calling my club 'Artemis BJJ'. ;D).

We then got into a load of drilling. Megan had mentioned she wanted to work on her mount control, so I shared what I do, especially thrusting the hips through and clamping the soles of your feet to their sides, as well as tucking your feet under their bum. I also mentioned the 'think of mount as guard except you're sat on them' idea, as I've found that a helpful concept to keep in mind.

A bit of specific sparring enabled me to add in some other possibilities, such as the way I tend to escape mount by digging under their knee with my elbow. If they turn to technical mount, I push their raised leg over and around my knee to get some leverage to squeeze through and escape.

It seemed that if Megan put her bum further back, sitting towards rather than her weight coming forwards, I had much less space. I'm not certain if that reduces control, but it felt tougher for me to escape. Switching swiftly to the back worked for Megan too, as then I didn't have time to start shoving my knee through.

I also shared the low mount escape Michel Verhoeven showed me at his seminar, where he does a series of short bumps to get his arm under, putting the hand by the opposite hip. He stiff arms into that hip and shoves, with the intention of opening up enough space to initiate an escape.

We also had a play with stuff from guard. I gave one of Mikal's sweeps a go, where he pushes their arm back then hooks it with the leg he has around their back, locking his instep by the crook of their elbow. He uses that to then roll them over. Megan suggested that it could be a nifty way to set up a triangle too, which felt very smooth when she did it.

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