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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

26 September 2015

26/09/2015 - Private with Kev | Half Guard | Passing

Class #666 - Private #021
RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Kev Capel, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK - 26/09/2015

It has been a while since I last saw Kev, as he has been recovering from a knee injury. I made sure to get some time with him for my visit in September, booking in another private lesson. Previously, I have come in with a clear idea of what I wanted to work on. As any reader of this blog will know, I like to be prepared.

This time, I took a different tack. I've already been through my major problem areas with Kev (back escapes and open guard), and I didn't think I had progressed sufficiently far with what he showed me before to warrant another specific lesson on those topics. So instead, I asked to just spar for a bit, then Kev could point out any tweaks that might help.

The first thing he suggested was something he did to me, with a back attack. I tried to move to the non-choking side and get my head under his, but he locked in a sliding collar choke. When I moved to the choking side to relieve the pressure, Kev said that actually makes it harder to finish the sliding choke. However, it sets him up perfectly to switch into a RNC, which he did. To block that choke, he uses his chin, but not the classic white belt chin tuck. Instead, his chin is on the other side of your attacking arm, so the chin is underneath that side of the arm.

The majority of the tips focused around half guard on top. I have for several years been using Dónal's tip on grips, when you can't get the underhook. Instead, gripping their lower collar, drop your elbow and use that to maintain control. It has worked for me in the past, but with Kev, he easily rolled me over every time. He suggested the safer option of wrapping around their back, locking your elbow in to achieve your control.

On the cross face, Kev simply puts his hand on the mat by their head and drives his arm into the side of their face. That makes for a strong barrier, it is easy to adjust and reapply, and best of all it won't mash up your fingers. JT Torres taught another variation at RGA Bucks a while ago, which Kev wanted with me. Torres calls it 'presenting the dish'. With your palm up, press that into the middle of their shoulder blades. Your elbow goes high and pressed into the side of their face. It doesn't feel like you're doing a lot, but it is a surprisingly powerful grip.

I have also been playing with several lapel attacks from half guard. They all involve pulling out your opponents gi lapel, then either pushing that over or under their arm. Underneath presents a brabo choke option, over the top is an americana and choke. However, Kev notes that with somebody who has a good half guard, they are going to be hard to get. It is better to focus on getting your knee free, then progressing into either a knee cut or a switch to mount, depending on their reaction.

For the mount, you drive into quarter mount, getting an underhook on the non crossfacing side. Keep walking that up high, until it is right against their head. You can then use your crossfacing arm to grab the triceps and lock it to their head, like on that side control to mount transition. Your other arm goes on top of their head, then crush through to mount. That can a little mean on their face, especially the nose, so be careful when you do that in class.

Pulling out the gi does have some uses, such as helping you flatten them out. Drag that gi way across, so it acts as a pin on their shoulder. On the brabo, it can work, but if you try and do it from half guard, when you switch your hand across to grab by their neck, your arm is in a similar position to that low elbow control. Therefore there is that same risk of getting rolled. Better to go from a more secure position like knee on belly, or mount.

When I pass the half guard with a knee cut, I have assumed that basing out is a good idea, to give you stability. On the contrary, Kev recommended bringing that free knee in tight to their hip (but don't lock your legs, or they can move you as one unit and take your back). Also, if they are hooking underneath your leg with theirs, on the leg that is raised, cut your knee underneath their leg. You almost put yourself right into a leg drag, moving straight into mount.

The last couple of things were locking in grips on the top of their belt in side control, to realling immobilise their hips. Finally, sparring with the sitting guard, Kev did that thing I can remember from Ryan Hall's DVD where he grips arounds the waist and uses that to prevent the guard. I can remember Hall had a defence to it on Defensive Guard, so I'll give that another watch. Awesome! More great stuff to bring back to Artemis BJJ. :D

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