Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 06/08/2014
Following on from our successful first Artemis Bristol BJJ class for women, I moved on to another basic technique, this time an attack from mount. The americana is probably the simplest attack from mount you can do without a gi: the cross-collar choke is arguably as or more basic (in terms of the concept at least, the details can be complex), but that requires some kind of fabric to grip by the neck.
To begin the americana, grab their wrist with your opposite hand. Grasp their elbow with your other hand. Keeping both of your arms straight, lean diagonally forwards, using your weight to drive their arm to the ground (as per the picture, you can also follow Cindy Omatsu's example and use your head to add further leverage). The elbow of your wrist-gripping arm goes next to their head. Remove the grip you have on their elbow, then with your palm facing up, slip that hand underneath their elbow. As it slips under, turn your hand so the palm faces down.
With the hand you just slipped under, grab your other wrist. This means you now have a 'figure-four' on their arm, a solid grip. To complete the submission, keep your head down and lift their elbow, pushing their knuckles back in a straight line along the ground, like a paintbrush. You want to move their knuckles, rather than pulling their elbow down as well: that goes up (but only slightly), their knuckles go back. Also, keep the knuckles in contact with the mat.
You can also vary your angle, which will affect how far you have to push their knuckles. For example, Saulo Ribeiro teaches sucking the trapped arm in to their body, then lifting the elbow. His angle is such that he doesn't need to paint the hand back at all. It will also vary depending on the flexibility of your training partner's shoulder. Finally, you can try twisting your fists downwards, like you were revving a motorbike. That should further increase your leverage.
Mixed class on the butterfly sweep was up next.
Teaching Notes: I spent a lot less time talking this time round, something I need to keep up. I was going to split the technique into two slices (to use Rener Gracie's terminology), as well as reducing drilling time from four minutes to two in order to fit that in. The second slice would have been looking at the most common response to a locked in americana. They will try to bridge free, possibly rolling over to secure their own mount. Rener has a useful suggestion on dealing with that escape attempt: he hooks his leg under theirs. This is the leg on the side you are not attacking, putting you into a diagonal configuration on top of them. You other knee moves out slightly for base and you drive your hips into them (like you would in low mount).
However, looking at how the class was getting on with the americana, I decided they could do with more time on that initial bit I taught. I'm thinking next time, I'll adjust the timings again. The first lesson last week was four minutes, but I think that was too long. This time it was two, but that was too short (though I did add on another bit of practicing for two minutes each, with a different partner). So I'll see how three minutes goes next week. It probably also depends on the technique: the trap and roll is perhaps more intuitive than the americana, so doesn't take as long to understand.
That ended up with quite a lot of sparring: as with last week, people were keen to jump into sparring, with lots of smiling and laughing. There were two people who wanted to watch a couple of rounds first, so after they had watched a couple, I took the opportunity to run through last week's technique with them. They had a go in the final round of sparring, which was cool to see.
Turn-out this week was a little less than last time, but not by much. Also, on the plus side four people returned from the previous class (and there were a few I knew already wouldn't be able to pop along this week, so that hopefully means even more returning next week :D).