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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

25 June 2016

25/06/2016 - Private with Nathan Adamson | Open Guard & Mount | Knee Cut, Knee Shield Pass, Knee Cut Counters & Mount

Class #746 - Private #025
BJJ Globetrotter Camp (Sportoase Leuven), Nathan Adamson, Leuven, Belgium, 25/06/2016

In the same way that I booked a private with Kenny Polmans because I liked his side control attacks, I also booked one for the next day with Nathan Adamson due to his excellent lesson on passing. I have been doing a lot of knee cut counters in my private lessons so far: this time, I wanted to work on the other side of that equation, refining my knee cut and dealing with issues that can arise, most significantly the knee shield. The fact that Adamson sounds and (very slightly) looks like Greg Proops was a bonus. I used to love Whose Line Is It Anyway? :D

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Again as before, I quickly showed Nathan what I normally do with my knee cut, in order to get some tips about how to improve it. First Nathan talked about getting in tight, pressing your shin into the back of their leg. Grab their same side collar (or alternatively, anchor your hand by their hip), putting your elbow on the outside of your knee. Come through the centre and drop your hip. With your passing side hand, push their wrist to the mat. With your other hand, either swim for the underhook, or grab their opposite collar.

Swing your elbow up and drive, flattening them out and controlling (to a degree) with that instead of an underhook. To finish, slide your shin back into their bottom leg to push that out of the way. Keep your bum by your heels to prevent them catching half guard. Slide through and finish. Nathan likes to hop up to knee on belly in order to swivel his legs into mount, I generally prefer moving to side control.

If they manage to get that annoying knee shield in the way, you’re going to grab low on their trousers, palm facing up. Straighten your arm, shoving the leg away in an interestingly angled stiff arm. If you get that in place correctly, any attempts by them to get their knee back in place results in pushing you into the mount. Nathan goes to knee on belly off that, grabbing their passing side collar with his opposite arm, pushing his wrist to the mat with the same side arm. If their knee shield is more firmly in, pushing your back. Lock in that stiff arm in the same way as before, then slide your bottom knee over. Jam their knee to the mat and hop around behind. You might not be able to get your arm as straight, because they’re already connected to you.

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When the knee shield is up higher, into your chest, your same side hand taps the top of their knee. Yank it back, twisting your hips in as you pull that knee behind you. This results in you facing their legs. The knee you now have on the bottom pops up to their thigh, as with the hip switch pass. Bring your far elbow inside their armpit, meaning their arm is stuck behind your elbow. To make it really tight, feed their lapel to that far hand, pinching it tight. This therefore applies to knee cutting through half guard too, as you can clear their lock ankle with this. You can also try and simply turn your hips around the knee that’s blocking you, ending up in the same position.

Another option, again for a lower knee shield, is to rely on that hip twist. Grab the collar and the hip, making sure your head is diagonally opposite to his. Drive in to press their knee-shield into their chest, also trying to flatten them out. If you can, get the cross face and gable grip. From there, switch your hips, turning your knee inwards, underneath their knee shield.

You can then climb up into mount. If they have a half guard on your leg, you can still climb up, crushing through it. If they are framing firmly into your arm, grab their collar and use that to break them down. If you are pushed too far out, you can grab their knee and hop over, as before. There are other options too, like doing a headstand to hop over to the other side.

Nathan loves going to mount, so I wanted to ask about that too. Off the pass, you have their arm underhooked thanks to your gable grip superhold, enabling you to pry that arm up high, pressuring into their face and/or neck with your cross-facing shoulder. Once in mount, he looks to get the cross collar grip. He can then swivel to progress into chokes and armbars, particularly from the powerful submission platform that is s mount. Never sit back until you're all in position, stay really heavy, leaning forwards.

In keeping with my focus this camp, I made sure to get Nathan's opinion on countering the knee cut pass. His approach combined the two options David showed. First he gets a grip on their opposite collar, grabbing their same side sleeve with his other hand, shoving that in towards them. He then bumps with his knee, using his grips to help win the scramble as he turns to the top. Come up on your elbow. That grip on the sleeve means your can immediately stuff the arm as he comes up, moving into a strong pass. Your other grip enables you to pressure into their neck, similar to the pass Nathan went through earlier in the lesson.


Nathan suggested a shrimping drill for this knee cut counter, where each time you shrimp, you are bringing your top shoulder across, pulling the bottom shoulder back. He also spoke a bit about sitting guard, where there is a grip detail. You bend your wrist, like you're casting a fishing line: this makes your grip stronger, although it does put greater strain on your wrist. That can lead into a choke too, gripping with your other hand, looking away as you apply the pressure.

That was a great end to the camp. I was able to hang around long enough for the belt ceremony and a bit of open mat, but then had to rush off to catch my train. Next time, I'll stay for the Saturday night, so I can go to the camp party. I don't drink, but I do like a good dance. Next year! ;)

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