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

25 July 2017

25/07/2017 - BJJ Globetrotter Camp | Leuven 2017 | Self Defence (Michel Verhoeven)

Class #851
BJJ Globetrotter Camp (Sportoase Leuven), Michel Verhoeven, Leuven, Belgium, 25/07/2017

This class was titled 'self defence', which would normally put me off. However, Michel Verhoeven taught one of the most useful seminars I've been to back in 2013, particularly his details on cross-collar chokes. I was therefore hoping that despite the title, there would be more of those helpful tips waiting for me today.

As it turned out, it was indeed heavy on the self defence side of things, fitting the title. Michel began by talking about your posture and frame if somebody is charging towards you looking for an attack. Keep your hands up naturally (not in a fighting stance, but like you're talking with gestures, that kind of thing), feet shoulder width apart, engaging your hips. Before they enter your space, extend your arms into their chest. Don't push your hips too far forwards or you're easy to trip, or rely too much on pushing with your arms or you'll fall over forwards should they move.

He progressed to talking about blocking punches by raising your elbows, then picking the moment to come in close and clinch. Block knees and kicks with your legs, taking them down if there's an opportunity. If somebody manages to grab your neck in a collar tie, keep that strong posture with hips engaged, then you can shuck their arm off by turning your shoulder in.

Once you've knocked their arm off, grab it with your arms underneath, like you were carrying a stack of wood, their arm in the crooks of your elbows. Drive your shoulder into theirs, keep their arm close, stepping your outside leg back. That should enable you to drive them to the floor, ending up in the same kind of pose as in the classic Greek statue of wrestlers.

If they grab you in a bearhug, drop your hips down to make yourself heavy, stepping your leg back on the side their head is pressing into your shoulder. Make a frame against their face with your arms, using that to break their grip.

The main part of the lesson that could be applicable to 'normal' BJJ training was the points Michel made about knee on belly. Trap their wrist under your armpit, reaching hand underneath. Your other hand grips their shoulder, then your waiting first hand grips that wrist. From that position, you can twist your hands to press into their elbow. If you need more leverage, thrust your hips in too.

Last part was a brief discussion of posture inside guard. Michel emphasised the point about controlling hips, cupping them with your hands.

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