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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

18 July 2015

18/07/2015 - RGA Bucks | Closed Guard | Sweeps When They Stand

Class #653
RGA Bucks (BJJ), Dan Lewis, Aylesbury, UK - 18/07/2015

At RGA Bucks, the class goes through more techniques and with less drilling time: although I wouldn't teach that way myself, as a student and given I only get up to RGA Bucks every two months, it's perfect for me. It means there is lots of technique when I visit, plus I get plenty of sparring time to make sure I can roll with everybody I want to (priority is old training partners, along with people around my size).

Dan taught three options for when they stand in your closed guard, which fits in nicely with the month of closed guard at Artemis BJJ in June. Each one was predicated off a slightly different reaction by your partner. In the first scenario, after they've stood, they are trying to get their knees under your bum for a guard break (apparently a lot of people at RGA Bucks have been doing what Dan called the 'table top' position, because JT Torres taught it at a seminar recently).

First you want a cross grip on their sleeve. You might get that before they stand, but normally they will break the grip before beginning to rise up. Once you have that, you also want a collar grip. This is to stop them being able to sit back into that 'table top': if you're pulling down on their collar, you should be able to use their broken posture to keep them where you want.

Open your guard and slide down to their knees, reclosing around their legs. For the table top attempt their feet have to step in close together, setting you up for a sweep. Extend your legs, then lift slightly, turning them over to the side of the cross-gripped sleeve. Stay tight. Depending on where you land, you can either drive your knee forwards to secure mount, or squash them as you pass to side control.

Second option was the usual handstand sweep (like I taught last month), starting with the version where you grab their sleeve. As Dan noted, the sleeve grabbing one can be hard, as they can turn out their foot and resist. That's when you add the extra leverage from pushing off your hand into the handstand sweep.

The final technique was an omoplata. You've attempted the handstand sweep, but it isn't working. Instead, feed the cross grip over to the other hand, under the leg. Take time to establish that grip, pushing it in tight with both hands. Then grab their collar and pull down. Walk you leg up over their back, into the armpit. Don't try to immediately leap into the omoplata leg position, as they can potentially shrug that off and posture up.

To make it more gradual with greater control, bring your free leg over their head and push down at an angle, like you would to control their posture during an armbar. Bringing them down to the mat, maintaining your sleeve grip. Switch your grips, then the hand that was grabbing the leg grabs their belt. Push their arm around your leg, then you can disengage the sleeve grip, get up onto your elbow and switch the belt grip to their far hip. You can sweep from there too if you don't get the positioning, locking your legs and rolling through, making sure you lift your arm out of the way.

Sparring started off with Chris, my white belt drilling partner. It was cool to hear that he has been reading my blog for a while: always great to meet somebody who reads this blog! :D It was specifics from closed guard, meaning I was looking for underhooks to get into the collar clamp position I've been playing with since last month. I got the angle, pressing on his head, where we stayed for a while (he did a good job of staying patient, looking for an escape).

I went for the omoplata once I got my leg past his shoulder, but my body was a bit squished up preventing me from extending properly. I managed to turn it into a triangle by swinging around, a combination I don't normally get but should work on more. As I've gotten into this underhook thing, that should mean the omoplata becomes a much bigger part of my game.

On top, I was being a bit lazy, sticking with kneeling passes and seeing if I could get Jason Scully's sideways variation on the tailbone break, along with his 'eat the belt'. Couldn't get either, as Chris had decent control of my arm. I eventually got through with the normal kneeling break.

Then in free sparring, I went with Gareth, a purple from New Zealand who has been down to visit us at Artemis BJJ. He's a bit bigger than me, so I immediately looked to get on top and stay heavy. I wanted the breadcutter, moving to north south. I had the arm under, but getting the right positioning by the neck was causing me trouble. I should have remembered to push on the far arm and move into an armbar. Eventually I got rolled over, into the typical "getting squashed during pass attempt" position, same as what happens with Chris J back at Artemis BJJ. I need to work on 'walls' in open guard, maybe sit up more? Koala guard is another option, also breaking grips more actively.

There was a lot more motion with Stu (another purple, who runs RGA Milton Keynes with his partner Hayley, who is also cool: she wasn't feeling well and sat out of sparring, where I had a good chat with her to catch up), probably because he's smaller. He was going for my neck and back. I just about wriggled free, looking for knee cuts. I mostly tried for the kimura, but not securing it from good positions: e.g., I had it during his pass, under side control, when he was moving to my back, etc.

As he kept turning to turtle, I got into the crucifix, but forgot about getting the collar with an arm around the neck. We ended up in reverse mount, most unusual, then he was able to gradually catch me with a bow and arrow right at the end. I popped out of the first attempt, but then he got it tighter and I couldn't manage to get his elbow. Nicely done! :)


  1. Hi Can. It was good to meet and train with you in Aylesbury. Thanks for the tips and feedback and for your patience. All the best, Chris.

    1. Great to meet you too, Chris! I'll be back again at the end of September, when I should hopefully get a chance to catch up with Kev too. :)