09 April 2017

09/04/2017 - Gret Zoeller Seminar

Seminar #025
Artemis BJJ, Gret Zoeller, Bristol, UK - 09/04/2017

When I went to the Super Seminar a couple of years ago, an awesome female black belt with cool hair immediately started chatting to me as if we'd known each other for years. That was Gret: charisma is an important quality in a seminar instructor and Gret has buckets of it. To teach a good seminar, you naturally also need plenty of teaching skill, which fortunately Gret has lots of too (it helps that she's been a school teacher for years ;D).

I really liked how Gret approached teaching a seminar. She made a point of spending lots of time with everybody there, always with a big smile on her face. She didn't even take any money for the seminar, deciding to donate the money to charity instead. It was also extremely cool that we had two visitors all the way from Scotland, Cristiana and Giles (who came armed with a whole bag full of tasty Scottish treats!).

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The entire seminar was based around a single technique, the double ankle grab sweep. Fantastic! I love seminars that go deep rather than broad, exactly the kind of thing I want from a seminar. Gret began by running through the double ankle grab sweep basic set up, with plenty of detail. She emphasised that she liked to hit this sweep by opening the legs and then pressing down with her calves into the top of their thighs. Pull your toes back to engage those calves, dropping your partner for the sweep.

A potential issue is a potent defence to that sweep. Rather than the typical option of grabbing the collars to maintain your balance, Gret showed how she grasps the belt and lifts them with it, essentially deadlifting them off the ground. You can start with two hands, then switch to one (which enables you to reach back and open up the legs for a pass). That one hand can be palm up inside the belt.

She has come up with several methods for beating that defence. The first one involved gripping their sleeve with your opposite hand, while your same side hand wraps behind their leg. You can then pass the sleeve you've grabbed to the one behind their leg. Rotate towards that leg, until you are able to bring your same side leg under their other leg. Again, push with your calf into their leg, then pass after you've knocked them down, into that supine twist.

If you go for that sweep, you can also move into knee on belly and grab a toe hold, as the foot is right there. You could kneebar too. If they step their leg back, you can instead grab their opposite collar. Drop your hips, rotate your hips around, then spin on your back. Your knee goes high on the leg you originally hooked, rolling through for a kneebar (or indeed toeholds again).

You try for the first two, can't get them. They've stepped back and they're blocking the collar grip. Foot into armpit, then you can do a variation on the first one. Only difference is you're now pushing into their armpit with your foot, rather than pressing down with your calf on their thigh. They might block that foot pulling behind their knee. If they do, you can just swing that leg way out, then chop it back in for the sweep. There's an omoplata option here too.

Gret teaches a brilliant seminar with bags of charisma, which makes a huge difference. If you'd like the pleasure of learning from Gret, she will be teaching a seminar up in Edinburgh on the 6th August. Hopefully I'll see you there! :)

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