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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

16 November 2016

16/11/2016 - Teaching | Women's Class | Standing in Guard & Underhook Pass

Teaching #593
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 16/11/2016

I began with standing in guard. Start by shoving their sleeve/wrist into their belt knot/belly button. With your other hand, push into their sternum, but be careful you aren't tempted to lean forward as a result. Keep your posture upright. If you can't get the sleeve, then simply grab their collar with your chest bracing hand (you have the option of grabbing a sleeve with that hand too, it doesn't have to be the hip hand: just make sure it's always the same side).

Raise your knee on the same side as your sleeve/wrist gripping arm, stepping forward with that foot. Basing off your hands (again, don't lean forwards), stand up into a crouch, then stand right up, thrusting your hips forward. Pull up on their sleeve/wrist (again, if you've lost it, grab their collar, if they are wearing a gi). You then want to push their knee off your hip on the other side, stepping back with your leg on the non-sleeve/wrist gripping side to help.

If you're having trouble getting that knee off, try bouncing your hips to open their ankles, like you were struggling to take off a tight pair of jeans. At the same time, splay your hand by the knee you want to shove (Roger Gracie calls this 'making his hand big') in order to help push down.

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The first guard pass most people learn is the single underhook, sometimes known as a smash pass (although confusingly, there is also a completely different pass you might see called the 'smash pass'. The joys of BJJ's non-standardised terminology). After you've opened their guard (this can also work off a failed armbar or triangle attempt on their part), you need to get one of your arms under their leg. Your other elbow – and this is absolutely key – must not slip in front of their other knee. If it does, then you're at risk of being triangled: they simply need to pull the arm forwards to move into a triangle set up, as your first arm is already out of the picture.

You don't want to leave that first arm under their leg, as unless you're much bigger, their leg is always going to be able to outpower your arm. Therefore you need to get their leg up onto your shoulder, either bumping it up with your arm, or dropping down to put your shoulder in place behind their knee. At that point, drive forward so that you're shoving their knee into their face. When you've got them stacked, reach your stacking side arm around their leg and grab their collar. I tend to go four fingers in, but a thumb in grip sets you up for a simple (if somewhat crappy, so it's mainly for distraction) forearm choke. You can also try grabbing their opposite shoulder.

Establish a wide base with your feet, pushing off your toes. As is generally the case with jiu jitsu, stay off your knees. Otherwise, you're transferring the pressure into the floor rather than into your partner. Keep on driving forward, turning the shoulder you have behind the leg downwards. Combined with your forwards pressure, that should slide their leg out of the way.

Although it's tempting, try to avoid lifting your head to get past their legs, as that could provide them with space. Instead, you want to rely on your weight and pressure, finishing with that slight shift of your shoulder. To further enhance your stack, you can grab the back of their trousers, or alternatively put your other knee there as a wedge.
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Teaching Notes: One of the many good things about the women's class is that it is the main opportunity I have to really spend some time on super basic techniques. Today, that was standing up in guard: one of the students had never done it before, so we broke it down and tried to work out the parts that make it work. My general tips on standing up involve keeping your head up, avoiding your head going past your knees, don't put your hands on the floor, etc.

If somebody can't stand up, that forces you to think more carefully about what makes it work. I think putting force through your hip hand and using that to help you stand up makes sense and seemed to work. A little swing to provide momentum helps too: I've taught that before, but was reminded of it by one of the other students helpfully suggesting it. Cool stuff. By the end of the lesson, the student in question who couldn't stand before was doing it repeatedly. Hooray!

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