Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 07/01/2015
The GrappleThon for this year is one I've been wanting to do for a long time, as in 2015 we're supporting Equality Now. I've had a direct debit with that charity for around a decade now. As International Women's Day falls on a weekend in 2015, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finally do a GrappleThon for them. Full details of the event here, and if you'd like to help me reach my £500 target, you can donate here.
I'm also excited that tonight will be the first ever women's class I've taught that isn't free. Naturally you get worries going through your head, like "will any of the current students turn up now that they have to pay?", but fortunately that small hysterical voice was soon quelled as the students rolled in. I've also been pushing the class in the media, so hopefully that press release will start popping up in various places (this is the original they'll be based off), like over on 365Bristol. It's also been covered by SportWatch, who have some personal experience to draw on after trying out a class a little while ago. :)
For what's called the upa escape from the mount ('trap and roll' is another common term), a typical starting point would be when they try to establish their first grip on your collar (or your neck, if you aren't wearing a gi) for a choke. That provides you with a chance to trap their arm. The usual grip would be to grab their wrist with your opposite hand, then just above their elbow with your other hand. This is the preferred grip on Gracie Combatives. The reasoning is that this grip prevents your opponent from drawing back their arm for a punch.
There are various other possibilities, such as the option I first learned, which was gripping their wrist with your same side hand, then grabbing the crook of their elbow with your opposite hand. That has the advantage of helping you wedge your elbow and arm into their chest, which provides additional leverage when rolling them over. Having said that, you can still use your elbow with the Gracie Combatives grip, it's just slightly less effective as your arm starts further away from their torso.
Whatever grip you choose, you then need to trap their leg on that same side. Otherwise, they will be able to use their leg for base as you attempt to roll them. In order to prevent that, step your same side foot over their lower leg, hooking it in tightly to your bum. This means they are now like a chair with two of its legs missing. If you feel your control is too loose, slide your foot further across towards the other side of your bum, which should eat up some more space.
Even if they can't post with their leg, they might be able to use their knee, so you want to have their leg as tightly locked to your body as possible. Also, be careful that you don't end up hooking both their feet, or leave your other leg in range of their hook. It is possible for the person on top to defend the escape by securing a hook with their free leg by your non-trapping leg. Therefore, try to keep the leg they might be able to control out of range.
A common problem is that you're having trouble trapping their foot, because it is too high up. If that happens, try using your elbow (or even your hand, if you need more reach, but that could leave your neck vulnerable) to shove their knee backwards, until their lower leg is in range. This is an advantage of the Gracie Combatives grip, as putting a hand behind their triceps puts your elbow in a good position for shoving back their knee.
Yet another option, if their arm is not in range, is to bridge enough to bump them forward, nudging them in the bum with your knee if you want more leverage. That should mean they are forced to post out their hands for balance, a difficult instinct to ignore. That puts their arm within reach. You can then wrap both of your arms around one of theirs, gable gripping your hands (palm to palm). Suck that arm into your chest, clamping it at the elbow.
To finish, you're going to bridge towards that trapped side. As with basic side control escapes, get your heels close to your bum first for maximum leverage. Bridge up and over your shoulder, turning to your knees: this puts you inside their guard. Make sure that you're bridging over your shoulder and not simply rolling over to your side. If you don't raise your hips properly, you may merely give up your back.
If you find you need more leverage, most commonly if they are posting with their free hand to stop your roll, you could attempt to dislodge that by pushing their arm off the ground. Alternatively, the legendary Rickson Gracie has a great detail, which he demonstrated in a video a while ago. Simply angle your head away from the shoulder you're rolling over: this increases your range of motion.
When you've successfully rolled them over, that puts you in the guard position. Remember to posture up when you reach that position: if you are leaning forwards, they can pull you down right into a submission.
Teaching Notes: I may reconsider about teaching this with the knee bump to knock them forward and grab their arm. The problem is it can lead to people leaning back and avoiding any grips with their arms on top. That only really makes sense in the very specific situation of not wanting somebody to grab your arm for this particular escape. It is far more likely that you will grab them on a collar to attack, or at least wrap your arm under the head.
So I think next time, I'll revert to you having a grip. However, I need to set up the context for that, so it's a grip that the person on top wants to have to help their attack. If people have a gi on, then they want to go for a choke. If they don't (often the case in the women's class: it's only Zoe, Tracey, Ruth and Jenni that have a gi at the moment), then they will still probably want to grab under the head for a more controlling mount.
I like to grab under the head for more control, though it does mean I have to teach the second variation of the upa, where you 'comb your hair' to trap that arm against your head, then roll. Still, there's normally plenty of time, so that could be a good solution. Start with the normal version and say about grips, then move on to under the head. That also means I can bring in some details about mount control on top, handily.