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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

14 May 2014

14/05/2014 - Teaching (Deep 'Relson Grip' & Collar Choke Variations)

Teaching #154
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 14/05/2014

A basic but very useful grip is to get a really deep grasp of the collar. I learned this from Roy Dean's demonstration on his Brown Belt Requirements DVD, where he calls it the 'Relson' choke: I've been using it regularly ever since. To get the deep grip choke, first establish that grip. You may find it helps to sit up to get it in really deep. As Dean discusses on his DVD, an especially deep grip can help your choke as well as give you authoritative control.

Often people will let you get a grip on their collar from guard, unlike the same situation from under mount, despite the threat being similar. If possible, it's a good idea to open up the collar with your same side hand to help get your other hand in as deep as possible. Like John Will says, this will also take the slack out of their gi.

Once you have it, this deep 'Relson' grip provides three main advantages. Firstly, you get great control, as you can pull them down towards you. Secondly, it could be the beginning of a choke. Lift their chin with your forearm to make some space, then insert your other grip. Due to the depth of your first grip, the second hand doesn't need to go as far. Turn your thumbs inwards (away from you, towards them) for the choke, pulling in with your elbows (don't flare them out).

Jason Scully has a number of great tips over on The Grapplers Guide, with a couple of videos about collar chokes from closed guard. He suggests angling off to help get that second grip in, rather than staying square on. He also advises grabbing their collar with both hands to pull them down and insert your first grip, should you have trouble breaking their posture. As Scully points out, you can also push with your initial grip, towards their neck, to help open up the space.

Secondly, even if you don't land the choke, just having the grip will make them start to worry about that choke rather than thinking about passing. Thirdly, it means you can establish a collar and elbow grip. There are various attacks you can do from there, the most common of which are probably armbars, scissor and push sweeps.

Should that grip slip, then you still have a more orthodox collar choke available, or the numerous options from a collar and elbow/sleeve grip, if you established that hold. Should you switch to the standard 'palm up, palm up' collar choke, you can try another Roy Dean trick. Shoot your arms up straight, aiming to get your thumbs touching behind their neck at the back of their collar (ideally, gripping right by the tag), then grip as normal. Remember to turn your thumbs inwards rather than out (or to put it another way, turn them away from your face rather than towards it. Imagine they've been tied together with a string, so you can't open up any space between them). Turning them outwards will work too, but inwards should be tighter.

There is also the 'palm up, palm down' choke, where your second hand grabs their opposite shoulder. You can then drive your forearm into the neck from there, sliding it into position for the choke. Another Jason Scully tip at this point is to bring your second arm up high by your head, so that if they try to block, you can dig your elbow straight past their hand and into the neck. He again recommends angling off, this time towards the shoulder you're trying to grab. To help that spin, push off your initial collar grip, push towards their far shoulder.


Teaching Notes: While I've described lots of different chokes above, in class I was planning to just teach the first one, holding the other two in reserve. Previously I would have gone through the details of all three during the main technical demonstration, but in keeping with the tips from Dónal last week, I'm trying to trim down my demonstrations. I can still mention the other stuff, but save it for when I'm wondering around, if it seems apropos.

As it turned out, I did mention the second option of shooting your arms straight for the basic palm up/palm up choke. I don't think that overloaded people with detail, but it's hard to tell. I made sure to ask, but feedback isn't always easy to get. It's a shame Dónal wasn't able to make it to class tonight, given that he's been offering some excellent advice on teaching recently.

I added in various drills, mostly guard passing, which I think helped. I will try to vary that up. I'd still like to regularly add in stuff to cover side control, mount, the back and guard, though tonight the drills were all about guard. I don't really have anything for the back, so will need to think of some good drills from there. I haven't checked Galvao's book for a while (which gave me some ideas about side control drills a year or two ago), so perhaps that has got something. Jason Scully has loads of drills on his website too.

The one thing I'll emphasise when teaching next time is to make sure you're not trying to choke with your arms extended up. People are getting the 'shoot your arms straight' part of the palm up/palm up choke, but not necessarily pulling them back in and bringing the elbows down. That could be a down-side of combining it with the deep grip choke. I might experiment teaching them in isolation at some point, but next week I want to move on to posture on top in guard (although I think I'll do another submission at the other location, because observing sparring, they could do with a kimura, IMO).

It would be good to fit in the scissor sweep whenever we do closed guard as our position of the month again. I've been meaning to try out the one from Kid Peligro's ebook, Secrets of the Closed Guard, as that looks like an interesting variation. I've never been great with the scissor sweep, so that detail might be what I'm looking for to tighten it up.

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