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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a brown belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

13 April 2018

13/04/2018 - Teaching | Side Control | Transitions to North South & Scarf Hold

Teaching #770
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 13/04/2018

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When moving around to north-south from standard side control, start by shifting your grip. You'll need to place one arm by their near hip. A useful tip from Braulio is to anchor your hand flat on the mat by their legs, elbow near their bum. If you instead grab their gi or their trousers, they will be able to follow you with their legs as you turn. If you put your hand in the way, that acts as a barrier, meaning you can scoot around but they can't scamper after you. Your other hand will normally wrap under their far shoulder, especially if you're looking for a kimura.

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As always with top positions, you must make sure you are maximising the weight you're driving into them. Stay on your toes as you walk around, also establishing solid grips with your hands. Press your chest down to turn their head to one side: that is a good general rule of thumb from top position, as if you can turn their head to one side, it is tough for them to turn their body in the other direction.

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There are numerous ways you can grip in this position, as ever. A common option is to basically flop your upper body onto their head, bringing your knees in. My personal preference is to move off to one side of the head, driving my weight onto their shoulder, my head low and pressing down, sprawling back with my legs.

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You can also experiment with various grips. The most basic is probably grabbing under their shoulders and reaching for their belt, then pulling them in towards you. You could also try putting your elbows into their armpits, or maybe wrap up an arm, perhaps sliding your arm under the head. Another common approach is to have one arm over their arm, while the elbow of your other arm digs into their armpit.

Generally you want to keep your hips low, like in side control, but there are variations where you raise your hips, driving your weight through your shoulders. As Jason Scully over on Grapplers Guide mentioned, if they try that escape where they wriggle out and fling their legs over to take your back, raising your hips can be useful. You can then drive your forehead into their chest to stop them completing the escape.

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The best place to learn about maintaining the north-south probably isn't BJJ: its parent art judo is much better at pins. In judo, the orthodox north-south is called 'kami shiho gatame', with lots of variations. For example, the above picture shows three options mentioned in an old instructional book from 1952, Higher Judo: Groundwork, by Dr Moshé Feldenkrais (not only a good judoka, but an engineer, physicist and founder of the eponymous 'Feldenkrais Method').

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Teaching Notes: I spent a good ten minutes teaching today, which was too long. That's because I tried combining north south and scarf hold in the same class. There's more than enough material for two classes, but I wanted to try packing in both as I haven't done that for a while. Also, as I currently teach two evening classes rather than the three I used to (not that I'm slacking off, as I also teach two daytime classes, so more teaching all in all ;D), it feels like I can't get through quite as much material as I used to each week. Still, next time, separate classes for these. Though I still think the class went well, focusing on one sub position makes sense.

The main thing to change with the north south portion next time is making sure people have that slight angle, over the shoulder, rather than directly back over somebody's head. That can work too, but there's no reason to be mean like that. A slight angle means you can essentially cross face them using your ribs/side. A few people had their hips too high, head too forward and sometimes head not pressed down enough. At the same time, it is important (for me) to keep in mind that there are plenty of variations. E.g., raising the hips can be a good option if the person underneath is trying to fling their legs back to escape.

With scarf hold, a number of people weren't keeping their leg bent, which reduces mobility, is at greater risk of being hooked by the escapers leg, plus it makes it tough to lift your weight onto them. People also weren't always extending their other leg up by the head, though I guess the position can still work without that. Keeping the head down is something to emphasise here too, just as with north south. I mentioned the americana in passing, but next time will have to think if it is worth doing that (because people invariably get distracted by trying that before they have the position itself down).

I could and probably should do a separate lesson on scarf hold next time, so I'll add videos for that here:

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Combining with north-south:

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