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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

26 July 2017

26/07/2017 - BJJ Globetrotter Camp | Leuven 2017 | High Half Guard (Priit Mihkelson)

Class #857
BJJ Globetrotter Camp (Sportoase Leuven), Priit Mihkelson, Leuven, Belgium, 26/07/2017

I had been intrigued when I saw Mikhelsen on the list, as he's from SBG Estonia. I love the Functional Half Guard video that two Estonians (presumably who trained with him?) put out for free years ago, meaning I was keen to train with a black belt SBG Estonia product. The fact his nickname is the JitsVulcan added further to that appeal, as I'm a big Star Trek fan.

His teaching style is closer to Chris Haueter than I expected, in that he talks (a lot) before he gets to the technical demonstration. Then he goes on a few lecture tangents during the demonstration, with even more after the demo. It feels like you're digging through a giant mound of lecturing to get to the treasure buried within. Which is well worth it, as it is precious gold.

It took me a while to get through all the video footage and try to edit out the bits I found helpful. As soon as I got back to the UK, I was trying the position Priit calls high half guard. I will need much more practice, but from what I currently understand, you need to be on your toes, turned in towards them. Your leg that is nearest their head turns in, the knee pressing into their hip.

Your other knee needs to clear their legs, so you can press that into their far hip. The arm you have nearest their head is on the ground, so that your arm is tight to the back of their neck/skull. You're also driving your hip into their shoulder, as if your hip bone is attempting to press into your own basing arm. You other arm remains free, ready to push their legs down to keep your knee in play.

It's also important to keep your shoulders in line, parallel to the ground. In other words, don't tilt, as that makes it easier for them to bridge you off. This also applies in side control and scarf hold. Priit called this 'Greco-Roman shoulders'. You're also pulling back the heel of your trapped leg, keeping the heel up. This is ready to flick out and complete a pass.

You can potentially twist here to go into half mount, which is what Priit covered in his lesson the following day. Follow the hip in high half. If they underhook, you can pass, backstep and the like, go to mount. The d'arce is also a possibility if they underhook. Your knees maintain their position, leaving your arms free to attack.

There is a lot to unpack here, so it's gong to take me a while to work everything out. Lots of video to review, hopefully made easier now I've edited it into chunks. :)

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