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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

22 December 2014

22/12/2014 - Teaching | Closed Guard | Xmas Standing Guard Break & Single Underhook Pass

Teaching #253
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 22/12/2014

It's ALMOST XMAS! Exciting stuff! Tonight was therefore the last of three special Artemis BJJ classes. We're still open over xmas, but mainly Saturdays: go here for the full schedule. Everybody is welcome to join us, so if you're in need to mat time over xmas, pop over to PHNX Fitness in Kingswood (full directions on that link). :)

I covered kneeling guard breaks last week, so I went with standing today, which adds the power of gravity to your guard break. Start by shoving their sleeve/wrist into their belt knot/belly button. With your other hand, push into their sternum, but be careful you aren't tempted to lean forward as a result. Keep your posture upright.

Raise your knee on the same side as your sleeve/wrist gripping arm, stepping forward with that foot. Basing off your hands (again, don't lean forwards), stand up into a crouch, then stand right up, thrusting your hips forward. Pull up on their sleeve/wrist (if you've lost it, grab their collar, if they are wearing a gi). You then want to push their knee off your hip on the other side, stepping back with your leg on the non-sleeve/wrist gripping side to help.

If you're having trouble getting that knee off, try bouncing your hips to open their ankles, like you were struggling to take off a tight pair of jeans. At the same time, splay your hand by the knee you want to shove (Roger Gracie calls this 'making his hand big') in order to help push down.

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). After you've opened their guard, 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.

Teaching Notes: Main thing I did differently to how I usually teach this was the game you can see pictured at the top. As it is the last class I'm teaching before Christmas Day, I wanted to do something fun and silly, but hopefully still useful. It didn't quite work, but everybody was laughing and smiling, so clearly it was at least fun. 'Fun' is my primary goal when I teach, so I'm still happy with how it went. :D

However, next time, I think I'll buy some more xmas hats. We were doing a sort of 'British bulldog' type thing, but with grappling and the rule that you couldn't stand up (at most, you were allowed to go on one knee). The idea was that there was a Team Santa Hat and a Team Belt. The Belts had to nick the hats of the heads of the idea team, while Team Santa Hat had to steal belts. If you got what you wanted from an opposing team member, they become a member of your team.

Of course, it turns out hats are way easier to remove than belts (unsurprisingly). So after both teams had switched roles, we then also did one where everyone was wearing a belt. But then I didn't have quite enough santa hats, so people just had to remember. Next time, more santa hats! ;)

To everyone reading this, HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS!!!

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