Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 12/10/2015
Starting from high mount, keep low, your arm based out, putting your head on the same side to concentrate your weight. Remember to keep your feet tucked under their bum for control. Drive your first grip in, which normally is going to be blocked by their arms crossed over their chest. To work past that, Roger advises that you pull open their collar low on their lapel (or at least lower than their elbows. You don't want to get stuck trying to yank out the collar from directly underneath their tightly crossed arms). You can then slide your arm through. To make that extra-solid, Roger Gracie told me to brace your own elbow against your hip. You can then wriggle forwards, driving your arm in front of you with the combined power of your hips, legs and arm. Also form your hand into a wedge, as this will help cut past their blocking arms.
Either way, once you have the grip, lift them up towards you slightly, twisting your hand so that you create a small gap between their neck and collar. Into that gap, insert the thumb of your free hand, to establish your second grip. You can also drop your elbow to the other side, so that you're pressuring into their neck.
Slide that thumb behind their head to the other side of their neck. As you do, also move your head to the other side of their head. Next, bring the arm of your thumb grip to the other side of their head, 'shaving' close to their face. This is to set up the choke, putting your wrists on both sides of their neck.
Once you've got the thumb arm into position, so that both carotid arteries are blocked off, move your forehead to the floor directly above their head. Twist your wrists and drop your weight into them to finish the choke. Roy Dean provides a handy pointer here, which is to shift your hips forward slightly, still basing on your head. That will give you a little extra leverage, should you need it.
I focused on my preferred cross choke variation from Michel Verhoeven. After you've inserted your first hand, start to raise your partner towards you slightly. Bring your second arm around to the other side of their head, then 'shave' back across their face to position that arm by their neck. Grab a handful of gi by their shoulder, then drop your elbow so your forearm is over their throat. This second arm doesn't move after that point: the choke comes from twisting the first hand and drawing that first elbow back.
Teaching & Sparring Notes: Getting past the arm defence can be a problem, which I tried to resolve by giving advice on the shape of the hand this time round (keeping in mind you don't want to get stuck on their thumb). Interestingly, a few people were coming up on one leg to increase their leverage. Personally I'd be wary of that, because it gives the person on the bottom space to escape, but I'll be curious to see if that proves effective for people.
In sparring, I'm continuing to get up high, but not finishing all that successfully. I wanted to practice balancing with the one arm in, so it was good to have a play with that, although I'm also looking to move into submission that don't depend so much on grips. Armbar would be the obvious option, possibly americana too, but that tends to be so much lower percentage.
Something to keep playing with, and importantly, paying as much attention as possible to their reactions. One thing I noticed was people trying to grab at arms or push on the hips, leaving their neck exposed. That should then set up an ezequiel attempt, followed by moving up higher if they block it. Which is just about what happened, although I need to be smoother and more efficient on the ezequiel: it was a bit slap dash when I went for it.