Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 09/11/2015
If I'm trying for the RNC and I find I have no option except something brutish (e.g., crushing their chin until they tap from pain or lift their head), my preference is to instead transition to a different attack, like an ezequiel, a bow and arrow choke or an armbar (which we've covered in other lessons). In my opinion, if I get to the point where force and pain are the main routes to finishing a submission, then my set up was poorly executed.
The best platform for attacking the back is trapping one of their arms. There are various ways to do that: today I'm running through my three favourites. First, you can try tricking them into giving you access to the hold you want, a handy tip I saw on a John Will DVD. When you try to get an arm around their neck, a common reaction on their part is to grab your arm and pull it down. If you respond by pulling up, they will normally pull down even harder, really committing to that escape attempt. This means that if you time it right, you can suddenly switch direction and swing the arm they are pulling down across your body. This should sweep their arms out of the way for a moment (try to catch both of their arms when you do this). Make sure your other hand is ready and waiting near their shoulder, as you can then immediately bring that other arm across their suddenly undefended neck.
Even better, you can take their arm right out of commission. With one of your hands, grab their wrist (generally this will be the wrist they have on top, for ease of pushing). Shove it down towards their legs, then step over that arm with your same side leg. When you then re-establish your hook (or pin your heel to their ribs, or put your leg behind their back), they are left with only one arm to defend against both of yours. If they've grabbed your wrist, twist your palm outwards, shove it down and out, then again step over their arm with your leg. Make sure you maintain pressure, so they can't simply swim their arm free.
There is also the method I learned from Dónal. Grab their wrist with your armpit hand. Drop to the choking arm side, twisting your hips to increase the range of motion for your leg. Shove their arm down, then swing your leg over your armpit arm. Grip your own shin with the armpit hand, then using both your leg and arm, get your foot to their spine to trap their limb.
To finish off with a submission, I added the single arm choke, also known as the short choke. Move your initial grip to their shoulder, digging under their chin to get your forearm tight into their neck. For the tap, the method I use is anchoring my hand on the shoulder, then driving my own shoulder into the back of their head as I expand my chest, as if I was trying to touch their other shoulder. Dónal's method is slightly different, as he brings the elbow of his choking arm back, so it is towards their same side shoulder, then squeezes his arm for the choke. They both work, but I prefer the former, as I find the latter can easily crush into the windpipe rather than the carotid arteries.
Teaching Notes: I'm not sure the single arm choke is needed, as everybody seemed to stick with drilling the arm trap material. Still, it doesn't take long to teach as it's so simple: I'll check feedback and see what people think. I also haven't needed to show that simple grip break from Dónal where they grab your wrist, but I'll see if it comes up in future. Some more drills would be good too: perhaps one for escaping turtle, where you're sat alongside them, grab their knee, then roll in front to guard, then to the other knee.
I felt proud of the Artemis BJJ students today, as several of them almost got me in a choke (Milka was particularly close, with a tight bow and arrow grip), while others were immediately putting what I'd taught into practice. Really good to see: well done everyone! :D