Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 05/01/2015
Biggest ever class today, which was cool: I'm guessing that might be because of New Year? I've been trying to tag more photos on Facebook with 'Artemis BJJ' as the location (following Andrew Smith's advice for BJJ marketing), so that might have helped too. Either way, it gave me an idea of how many can safely spar at once. That's useful to know ahead of the GrappleThon in March (we're up to £215 on the fundraising so far: please keep those donations coming!), as if the last three are anything to go by, there will be loads of people in the afternoon. Fortunately there's a large mat space downstairs too. I think that will become available at 4pm on the Saturday of the GrappleThon? I'll have to double-check, but should be.
You can set up the tripod sweep in lots of ways. I went for the simple option of hooking their leg, using that to pull yourself in towards them and grab their other leg with your other hand. When you grab for the ankle, you can control it in two main ways. Simply grabbing their heel is the quickest, but that means there is a chance they can kick their foot forwards and dislodge your grip. If you grab the trouser cuff instead, that escape becomes much harder for them.
With the heel grab, a good tip from my instructor Kev Capel is to pull that ankle onto your hip, clamping it there. This should also help with off-balancing them. You can also simply sit on it. Either way, remember to keep your other hook behind their knee tense, as you don't want them to free that leg and step around, because that will enable them to regain their balance. You can also put it lower on the leg, or even right behind their foot, but be careful, as just like the heel grip, that can increase the risk that they'll step out and avoid your control.
Once you knock them down, because you have that grip on their sleeve, you can pull yourself up as they go back, moving through into side control. It also stops them basing with that hand, as you're sweeping in that direction (which is why you use a cross grip, rather than same side). Should you lose your sleeve grip, the sweep is still there, but it will be harder to sit up and move through to side control.
If you're having trouble knocking them down, angle the direction of your push a little, in the direction you want them to fall. It is important that you react decisively after you've knocked them down. Otherwise, they'll simply get up first, returning to your guard. That would mean you were back where you started.
As ever, there are a couple of options. My preference is to come up and slide your inside knee over their leg, leaning your body towards them: you may find it useful to keep hold of their foot (which means you are both basing on your hand and maintaining control of their leg) to stop them moving, but you can still pass without doing so. Your other foot will step over their other leg, like a typical knee slide pass. From there, you can grab their sleeve, underhook their far armpit, them slide through into modified scarf hold. If for some reason you get your knee stuck in their gi, which has happened to me in the past, change your grip to their elbow, drop your bodyweight and move into side control. Here's Kev demonstrating the full sweep:
You'll notice the finish is different in that video: instead of the tight knee slide, you can do a sort of technical stand-up which ends up with a looser pass. For the stand-up, after you've knocked them down, put your hooking foot on the floor, bringing your other leg behind you. So, the hand that was grabbing the heel now pushes into their leg, pinning it to the floor and becoming your basing hand. Your other leg becomes your second base point, then you stand up from there. You remaining hand may or may not be gripping their sleeve, but this works either way.
From there, stand up, still holding on to their trouser leg (you could also keep hold of the sleeve, which will enable you to pull on both limbs for the pass, but it makes it harder to stand up), pulling up. That will make it difficult for them to recover, as you move around to a dominant position like side control or knee on belly. Standing up when someone has your foot in the air is hard.
Teaching Notes: I should add in a diagonal motion next week to help when I do the similar sickle sweep. Easiest would be a knee cut drill, so I'll do that when I teach the sickle tomorrow at PHNX Fitness. It was a big class tonight as per that Instagram pic at the top of this post, which was interesting from a teaching perspective.
It meant that I made sure to try the John Will method when teaching, rather than just using it at the end. With so many people (which is of course a good thing for a club, it's great to have more people! :D), I wasn't going to be able to get round everybody during drilling to check they were ok. That's when the Will thing of having them all face the same way as you go through it step by step comes in especially handy. However, next time I get a big class like that, I need to arrange them better.
Everyone against the wall probably makes the most sense, as that should make it easy to scan the room. I also think I was still thinking too much about what I was demonstrating rather than spending long enough looking at what each person was doing. I could go through it twice like that I guess, or have them go through it once on their own as I walk down the line (that's what John Will did at his seminar, IIRC, so yeah, I'll do that next time).
Tonight also made me think that an assistant instructor would come in handy, if there is ever a student looking to teach in the future who wants to get some practice.