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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 June 2014

30/06/2014 - Teaching | Half Guard | Shoulder Pressure Pass

Teaching #162
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 30/06/2014

Your opening goal is to get them flat on the mat: there are passes you can do while they are on their side, but generally speaking it is much easier if their back is pinned to the floor. A simple method, drawing on the Ribeiro brothers, is to drive your free knee into their hip, block their head with your same side arm, then step your trapped leg up and away from you. Having generated some space, drive the trapped knee forwards as your return it to the mat, which should also help you drive your opponent to the mat as well.

If you are able to get the cross-face and an underhook, there is now the option of generating lots of shoulder pressure. This is my favourite way to pass the half guard: both Saulo and his brother refer to this as the 'esgrima pass', but I call it the shoulder pressure pass in the interests of clarity. Cross-face their head, so that they can't turn in that direction. Put your own head on the other side, locking their head into place: your shoulder and head work together to form a vice. It should now become hard for them to move, because their head is stuck.

From here, come up on your feet so that all your weight is driving through your shoulder. Even if you're small, this should maximise your weight. I'm only 66kgs, but if I can get all of that weight against somebody's head, it becomes more significant. From there, bounce your trapped knee to wriggle it free. As soon as it is clear of their legs, twist in the direction of your cross-facing arm and put that knee on the mat. You can then kick their leg off your foot: some people prefer to kick the top leg, but I would generally go for the bottom leg. Turning your hips to the ceiling can also help if you're struggling to get that foot loose.

Teaching Notes: A few people were putting their head next to an arm rather than directly next to their partner's head. That method looks like it works too: I prefer putting my head right next to theirs, as I find that is better for immobilising, but that's just my preference. When half guard comes round again, I'll add in the opposite side pass, along with the variation on the shoulder pressure pass I was practicing at open mat a couple of days ago.

There wasn't as much emphasis on the underhook as I remember from last time, which is important to prevent them taking your back. However, could be that the head (or arm, for some people) pressure acts in the same way. You could also pull up on their other arm, or perhaps grab their gi, as a few people were doing.

I'm still not sparring much (if at all) on Mondays. I need to remember to do a bit of king of the hill so I can jump in. I also keep forgetting to take pictures for the Artemis BJJ Facebook page: I'll set a reminder or something next time. :)

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