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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

29 November 2015

29/11/2015 - Open Mat | Still Injured

Class #683
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 29/11/2015

I'm still resting my neck, so I was just observing and directing today, mainly helping a new student. It's always useful to refresh how I introduce the basics to someone completely new. I tend to go with the classic mount escape, something with a long history as a 'first lesson' type option. Rorion used it back at the start of BJJ's international expansion. He tended to combine it with maintaining on top, which I'll do sometimes, but not always.

His reason, IIRC, was to show the power of BJJ. First you try and dazzle them with how you can escape easily even if they're much bigger, then you show them how you can hold them down just as easily. Or was it the other way round? Anyway, there's a cool story about it from Ed O'Neill talking about his first lesson.

In my case, I'm not looking to dazzle people, especially if it is somebody who has already signed up. I want to show them what's going to be most useful long term. Hence why escaping side control is another one I'll often show to absolute beginners in that situation. If it's an absolute beginner who hasn't signed up yet, I'll still tend to go with the trap and roll from under mount, as it's a powerful technique as well as being useful.

Not too flashy though: if I want to try and hook them, the rear naked choke can be a good one too. It also doesn't put you in as potentially off-putting a position as either mount or good (though arguably neither does side control). Combines nicely with the armbar from the back as well.

Hopefully my neck will be ok by next week: I'm planning to try and join in some kind of light drilling or something. Main annoying thing is that I've had to miss training up in Aylesbury this weekend, which isn't something I get to do all that often. But I forced myself to be sensible, as trying to train through it would just mean I'll be injured longer. :(


  1. Hey Slideyfoot,
    Funny you should mention the Ed O'Neill quote about him sharing his first experience visiting Gracie BJJ and him not being able to throw him off. And then reversing the demo. I saw that two days ago and have been thinking about it ever since. It's such a great demo for new people. It impresses and gives a great practical reason to join up. E.g. It can save your life and it works!

    1. Yeah, it's a good strategy as an opening lesson: there's a reason Rorion's school has become so successful. The marketing at the Gracie Academy is second-to-none, even if not all of it is to my taste (e.g., the 'pure water' thing they've done in the past, then more recently online grading and online instructor certification).