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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

28 September 2022

28/09/2022 - Teaching | Closed Guard | Posture & grip breaks (top)

Teaching #Evening
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 28/09/2022

First thing I wanted to cover was posture. Stay upright, with your head up, thrusting your hips a little forward. Curving your back slightly, arching it like a cat (so, convex rather than concave), can help too. Avoid them bending your arms, also trying to put your weight through one arm into their hip. It is important to control their hips, as they need to angle off to attack effectively (though there are other methods, like Christian Graugart's 'samurai sword' grip, where both arms are near the chest). Your other hand is ready to push them down if they attempt to raise their torso towards you, or more typically, gripping both collars and keeping their back on the mat.

Be aware that you don't want to extend that arm too far or they can break your posture: it's also likely that they will primarily be looking to dislodge your arm and gain control of it, so be ready to disengage and then quickly re-engage the grip. Having said that, there are numerous other ways of posturing up, so it's good to experiment.

For a strong base, widen your knees, sitting on your heels. Alternatively, you could try squeezing your knees to their hips to stop them moving, but that will result in a less sturdy base. Make sure you do not put your elbows on the outside of their legs: keep them inside, or they can start kicking up into your armpit for triangles, armbars, flower sweeps etc.

A key detail is to come up on your toes. This will feel uncomfortable at first, but it provides you with much better base than having your insteps flat on the floor. With your toes up, you can resist their attempts to pull you around. It also enables you to drive forward and improves your mobility.

Another way they'll be looking to disrupt your base is to angle their hips away. To prevent that, you can simply follow them, making sure you keep squaring back up so they don't have that attacking angle anymore. You could also try caging their hips by squeezing your knees together, but that can result in a less stable base.

In order to attack, they are going to want to disrupt your base and break your posture down. The first way they'll probably do that is to establish a strong grip, on your sleeve and collar. You don't want that, so try to strip grips before beginning your pass. Not to say that it's impossible to pass if they've got grips, but you'll find it easier if they don't.

If they grab your collar, you can use both of your hands to grab either side of that sleeve or wrist. Push it forcefully away from you, while simultaneously leaning back slightly. Another option is to put both your hands on their gripping arm, trapping it to their torso. Posture up forcefully to break the grip. Alternatively, you could try simply re-establishing your grips on their collar and hip over the top of their arms, meaning you can press your arms into theirs. That way, it's possible to use arm pressure to loosen their grips to the point they become less effective.

By contrast, you can also use their grips against them. If they grab your sleeve, adjust your hand to grab their sleeve too. You can then pull up on it and stand up, putting your leg forward on the trapped sleeve side. Similarly, if they grab your collar, you can use your same side hand to grab them back on their sleeve, then again stand up.

Teaching Notes: I tried a slightly different format this time, which I want to do again next time, but with more structure. There is too much detail in the current version, but most of it is important. A way to split it would be high energy output vs low energy output, which I think would have enough to them to make a separate lesson.

For high energy output, I can go through the gi grip breaks, meaning sleeve push/pull (mentioning the Gragugart "they grip, you grip back" thing), two hands to strip the collar grip and the leg grip break. It's important to mention that while this is risky because it leaves your posture vulnerable, if you do it quickly enough you can get away with it. Also, always establish a grip afterwards. Either you are pinning with one hand, or if you end up with a cross-grip, switch to grabbing with both hands so you can free up an arm to push down on their leg when you need it (the same side grip will be pulling up o the arm). More I could add here, possibly.

For low energy output, that's the re-establishing your arm over the top. If they break you fully down, safety position with head in arms. If they get your arm across, put up your same side leg to recover your arm (never the opposite side leg, or they will sweep you). I think there is more that I could add here, something to think about for the next time closed guard month comes up. These are the vids I have so far, so watch these before next time:

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