Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 23/09/2016
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The second episode of the Artemis BJJ Podcast is now live. This time, it's an interview from 2013 I did with Fabio Santos, when I was visiting San Diego. Caleb and Dagney, two of my online friends, were a huge help with this. It was also cool to chill out with them afterwards at Caleb's place. I definitely need to go back to California some time (huge amount of amazing BJJ people I need to meet and train with, as well as revisit all the cool people from 2013). Outside of Brazil, California (particularly San Diego) is undoubtedly the mecca for BJJ. For me, it comes considerably higher than Brazil. Much less scary. ;)
Following on from the baseball bat choke, you can move into an armbar. This is another one I was shown by Kenny Polmans at the BJJ Globetrotter Camp in Leuven. The set up is that they've reached up with their near arm. Move your original grip from under their head to pull up on their near arm. Keep your elbow tightly clamped, gripping near their armpit. If you grip nearer their elbow, they will have an easier time wriggling it free.
Step over their head, using your remaining grip on their gi tail (or collar, or indeed shoulder, depending what you have) for balance. Drop back, bringing up your knee as you slide your arm up towards their wrist. You want to replace the pressure of your elbow with the pressure of your knees, not giving them any space to escape. Aim to fall towards their legs, so you can grab a leg to prevent them turning. Kenny likes to grip right under their leg, securing their thigh.
Keep in mind you can always try and bring your second leg over if there's space, which makes for a stronger armbar. However, if you have their leg, that should make it very hard for them to turn through and escape, whether it's the hitchhiker or some other standard defence.
Teaching & Sparring Notes: I was uncertain how often you'd be in a situation with them reaching their arm up like that, but I wanted to try teaching the technique. It's a useful principle, especially as I will probably be showing the similar armbar from a breadcutter choke later. Emphasise grabbing low by the armpit, otherwise it is too easy to escape, as well as keeping that other grip for balance. Beginners tend to drop back too soon and without control, again making it too easy to escape.
I also want to emphasise bringing up that knee: squeezing the knees is another really important element of this working. There are the usual armbar issues to mention too, like having your hips too far away from their shoulder, losing the leverage on the elbow as a result. It is possible to get this while you have the arm trapped under your armpit, but frequently their arm will get twisted. That's resolved by switching to grab their wrist, as then you can turn their arm (use their thumb as a guide) in the direction you need for the best leverage.
In sparring, I was looking to practice Chiu's escapes some more. People are getting wary of that and hiding their arm, which opens up space to either go for a triangle or back into guard. I'm also using the pressing armbar a lot more, which is fun. I have been better at not putting my neck in silly position, getting into the habit of having a hand near my neck at all times. I also tried for Chiu's lapel guard, where you pull their gi under their leg, grab a collar with the other hand, pushing their leg inwards with your foot to knock them over. It worked, but that's one of the position where I need to watch out for my neck, as my hands are occupied.