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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

01 November 2015

01/11/2015 - Open Mat | Annoying Knees

Class #676
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 01/11/2015

Today was a good opportunity to practice the evils of the knee in guard, both on top and on the bottom. Sam is especially good with both the knee cut and blocking with a knee shield, meaning he's the perfect person to test this out. On the bottom, I stuck with sitting guard, where I keep going for the ankle pick without much success. I'm not doing enough to set that up, plus I need some kind of connected follow-up. There is that roll under, but that's risky, especially when your opponent has a good knee cut.

De la Riva would be another possibility, as long as I can maintain that more upright position. I think that dropping to your back makes the knee cut much easier for them, so I've been trying for a good while now to make myself sit up when I'm on the bottom. Another difficulty I've made for myself is avoiding grips, as I don't like that it mashes up my fingers so much (given that my whole approach to BJJ is based around longevity. Constant finger pain doesn't fit with that!).

Looking at preventing the knee cut logically, I could try and get behind the knee, knocking them forward and scooting around (e.g., from a reverse de la Riva, or that belt grip Kev showed a while ago). That would mean I'd have to get enough of an angle that they can't just cut through. If I can immobilise that leg by either gripping tightly around the knee or foot (or I guess both), that could do it, but much easier said than done. Blocking it would be another possibility, using my own knee, or continuing to scoot backwards.

The annoying thing with the knee cut is that it seems my current efforts to stop it feel like stalemating. I manage to scoot back, the knee comes forwards again, I scoot back again. More practice: I want to get in more specific open guard passing so I can really work through all the kinks on that. Handily (I guess?) I also want to work on getting past the knee, as I was stuck there for much of a roll with Sam today as well.

I managed to knock him over this time by getting to closed guard, then dropping down to pinch knees between my legs when he stood up. I did a sloppy version of that sweep Dan showed a while ago at RGA Bucks (it became more of a fling to the side than a smooth roll to the top), then got stuck trying to pass the knee shield.

My go to is Jason Scully's staple pass, but I was getting stuck on an arm, I think. I also tried shoving the top knee down to then move the other way, but again felt like I was getting blocked by the arms. I had some success going for the gi choke from there, in an attempt to distract and move past the legs, but like Kev said it does make my balance vulnerable.

My game relies too much on crushing, somewhat foolishly given I'm not very big. Closed guard was where I felt best today, though I need to get my knees to their shoulder more efficiently, to prevent them standing up. Hopefully there will be lots more open mat time with Sam, so I can really delve into the open guard. He handily highlights the two areas that are trickiest about open guard: more specific sparring needed! :D

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