12 October 2016

12/10/2016 - Teaching | Mount | Cross Choke (Verhoeven variation)

Teaching #574
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 12/10/2016

Starting from high mount, sitting on their organs not their hip bones (as Mike Bidwell puts it), I used the tip on getting your choke grip that Roger Gracie taught me. He advises that you pull open their collar low on their lapel (or at least lower than their elbows. You don't want to get stuck trying to yank out the collar from directly underneath their tightly crossed arms). You can then insert your hand, palm up.

A video posted by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on

To provide extra leverage for pushing that hand past their defences, Roger told me to brace your own elbow against your hip. You can then wriggle forwards, driving your arm in front of you with the combined power of your hips, legs and arm. Also form your hand into a wedge, as this will help cut past their blocking arms. Drive your knuckles all the way down to the mat. A tip from Saulo is to keep your head by that hand. If your head goes towards the other side of their head, it will be easier for them to roll you over.

My preferred variation from this grip is the one I learned from Michel Verhoeven. After you've inserted your first hand, start to raise your partner towards you slightly (that should make it harder for them to roll you). Bring your second arm around to the other side of their head, then 'shave' back across their face to position that arm by their neck. You want this as tight to their neck as possible, like you've dropped on iron bar there. Grab a handful of gi by their shoulder, then drop your elbow so your forearm is over their throat. This second arm doesn't move after that point: the choke comes from twisting the first hand and drawing that first elbow back.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: The women's class was very useful for preparing this session, helping to put it in context for me. I also added that drill for maintaining your mount with a grip, again noting that you want to keep your head by that hand, basing out with your free arm until you're ready to establish the second grip.

I had what I thought was a pretty good sparring session. Rolling with Mike, he was stopping me getting the Saulo style palm down choke, keeping his other arm up as a barrier. It felt like there should be a way to capitalise on that space by the arm, which I need to try out more. Sparring Simon was fun too, as his defence is getting pretty good now.

I played around with attacks after gripping that collar, to try and go for a choke. He was doing a decent job of blocking my choke, attempting to get on his side and dig out space space with his elbow. He almost managed to get me into half guard a few times, but I was able to spin round and maintain a sort of mount (it was specific sparring, so I'm not sure if I was cheating by not stopping. I tend to judge an escape from mount by them securing a guard position, or reversing me).

I eventually managed to get my arm around his head and grip the collar, looking for a bow and arrow style choke. I got that at the end, but not before a lot of wriggling. At one point, I was in a weird position where I was up by his head, facing his legs, still on top. I attempted to get my legs through for some kind of crazy triangle. That was hard to lock in, though at times it felt like I almost had it. Immediately after that roll, my back felt sore: standing up straight was difficult, as my lower back in particular was complaining. I went and rolled two more times after that, mostly staying on the bottom.

Bad idea. The next day, it took me several days to get out of bed and I couldn't cycle to work (fortunately they're nice, so let me work from home). I think it was that attempt to pull my legs into a weird triangle that did it. Lesson learned, next time I'm in that position, don't try and force it. My back hasn't hurt this much since I messed it up at kettlebells, due to poor form after swinging a 32kg. At least, I hope that's lesson learned: pain tends to be a useful reminder. ;)

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