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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

15 October 2014

15/10/2014 - Teaching | Women's Class | Kneeling Break & Single Underhook Pass

Teaching #212
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 15/10/2014

There are three main ways of opening the guard. The most reliable is standing up, bringing gravity to bear on them, though this has the disadvantage of leaving you more vulnerable to sweeps. The most risky is baiting a submission to get them to open, as that obviously puts you in danger of getting caught if you're not careful. Finally, you can open the guard from the knees, which has the advantage of using less energy and leaving you with good base, but it does keep you in the 'submission zone'.

That last one is what I wanted to cover today. The basic method of opening from the knees starts by setting up your grips, grabbing both collars with one hand, by their chest, your other hand by their hip. Dónal has a handy tip about twisting up those two collars, rolling them over each other so that there is no slack when you grip, though that may sometimes be tough to secure.

Also try to jam your palm or fist into their sternum to lock it in place. Regarding your hand on the hip, measure your gripping position by bringing your elbow back to their knee. Once your elbow gets to their knee, grab whatever trouser material is then under your hand, pressing your weight through that hand into the mat to try and pin their hips.

From there, get your knee underneath their butt cheek, meaning they are slightly raised up onto your leg. Your other knee slides out to the side, so you're now making a right angle with your two knees. Still keeping your back curved, slowly wriggle backwards, shifting your sideways knee back and continuing to wriggle until you can pop open their ankles. As soon as you do, immediately shove their leg to the mat with your elbow and/or hand, then begin your pass.

Saulo's version, as per that earlier picture, has the knee off to the side with the leg stretched out, using a sort of dip rather than relying on scooting back. As ever in jiu jitsu, there are numerous variations: you can reach your destination following a multitude of paths.

The first guard pass many people learn is the single underhook, sometimes known as a smash pass (although confusingly, there is also a completely different pass you might see called the 'smash pass'. The joys of BJJ's non-standardised terminology). That combines well with the kneeling break. After you've opened their guard (this can also work off a failed armbar or triangle attempt on their part), you need to get one of your arms under their leg. Your other elbow – and this is absolutely key – must not slip in front of their other knee. If it does, then you're at risk of being triangled: they simply need to pull the arm forwards to move into a triangle set up, as your first arm is already out of the picture.

You don't want to leave that first arm under their leg, as unless you're much bigger, their leg is always going to be able to outpower your arm. Therefore you need to get their leg up onto your shoulder, either bumping it with your arm, or dropping down to put your shoulder in place. At that point, drive forward so that you're shoving their knee into their face. When you've got them stacked, reach your stacking-side arm around their leg and grab their collar. I tend to go four fingers in, but a thumb in grip sets you up for a simple (if somewhat crappy, so it's mainly for distraction) forearm choke (there is also the higher percentage breadcutter choke available here). You can try grabbing their opposite shoulder too, especially if they aren't wearing a gi.

Keep on driving forward, until they become so uncomfortable that they basically want you to pass. Don't lift your head to get past their legs. You are going to squash your body into them until you can slide by their legs, using constant forward pressure. At most, you might need to nudge their legs with your shoulder. To further enhance your stack, you can grab the back of their trousers, or alternatively put your knee there as a wedge. Remember to stay on your toes throughout: you want your weight on them, not the mat.
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Teaching Notes: I was very impressed with how the women did today. Of those in attendance, none had more than 8 classes under their belt, but when it came to sparring, they all looked fluid. Started in closed guard, they were passing to side control, taking mount, reversing, back to pass. I even saw them instinctively using butterfly guard, as well as rolling backwards into turtle to stop a guard pass. You should all be proud of yourselves, awesome stuff. :)

Seeing how well the class went, I don't think I'd change anything for next time. Although I was intending to use the John Will teaching method, but again forgot (except for the review at the end, as usual). Next time! ;)

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