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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

17 February 2024

'Superhero Landing' posture inside guard

I have completely gotten out of the habit of posting up classes on here, as I've been using a spreadsheet since last year instead. Much more efficient! But I do want to keep using this blog to collate Instagram videos like in previous posts, especially as Instagram has gotten increasingly annoying about listing all the vids on a hashtag. ;)

First up, I wanted to save the vids I took of my classes on the 'superhero landing' posture inside guard. I labelled it as 'superhero pose' on the vids, as that's one syllable less: not sure which one I prefer yet. The former is more descriptive, the latter is quicker to say. Anyway, I learned it from Chris Paines at the Artemis BJJ München Camp 2023 (I'll most likely do more camps there, in which case you can book them here). It is a posture I can remember Priit showing at one of his mega long weekend seminars at Chris' gym a few years back. As it was Priit, I found the explanation confusing and it never really stuck, despite several hours of Priit lectures.

Chris is an excellent Priit translator. In the space of about a minute, he was able to condense that down and make it very easy to understand. I've tried to continue that process, so I'm slapping a hopefully evocative name on it, with a few simple points to explain the mechanics. I called it superhero landing because it looks much like the pose you always see superheroes do when they hit the floor after flying in to stop the villain. Specifically, that's a three point landing (I guess technically four, but mainly three): hand, foot, knee. You can argue the foot of the knee leg makes it four points, but there isn't much weight on the foot back there.

That same position works surprisingly well inside guard, with a few tweaks. Imagine there is a stick running from the top of your head to your tailbone, that needs to stay in alignment. You also want to keep everything pointed forwards, particularly your knees. The hand on the ground breaks the usual rule of guard top that you don't put your hand on the mat. However, because of the positioning and alignment, you are putting all your weight through that arm, meaning it way less vulnerable to kimura and the like.

The hand also doesn't have to be on the mat (I'll often base off my fist, that feels more comfortable). You can put that hand on their collar, or probably the best of all, on their arm pinning it to the mat. Another good option is getting that arm by their head, if you manage to move up their body enough. You can then effectively cross-face them by placing it tight enough to their head to drive their ear towards their shoulder, misaligning the spine.

Chris told us at the camp that he's had his gym do this and pretty much nothing else for about 2 years. That has resulted in everybody having to get much better at guard, because you have to work harder to break it down when somebody gets good at using this posture. I'm planning to incorporate this into my classes on passing, eventually I'll work it up into a seminar I can teach at camps. It combines well with how I already teach my passing intro, so I think there's plenty of scope to play with it more.

21 August 2023

Update 2023

I haven't posted anything on here in quite a while, mainly because I'm not finding it as useful as I once did to write everything up. I've switched to a simplified version instead, with a spreadsheet. I just fill in the teaching notes at the end, that's proven more efficient.

Still, I will try and put in at least occasional posts, to remind people I'm still alive. I've got some travel posts to write up, plus a massive backlog of old posts I may or may not finally finish up at some point. Oh, and for those who missed it, I got my black belt back in May of 2023, which makes a handy milestone for the blog.

I'm also still very regularly posting technique vids on Instagram, so head over there and follow if you haven't already. We've got two camps coming up, in Germany on the 7th/8th Oct 2023, then back in Bristol from the 24th-27th November. There's also our annual GrappleThon, which this year is taking place from the 30th Sep to the 1st Oct.

09 November 2022

09/11/2022 - Teaching | Leglocks | Basic kneebars

Teaching #Evening
Artemis BJJ (7 Easton Rd), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 09/11/2022

The first basic kneebar I ever taught was one I learned from Seymour. You approach the guard as if you are going for a pass, meaning you are in a crouching posture, shuffling forward. Face straight ahead (don't look down), pressing your shin into the back of their leg. Rather than passing, you're instead going to backstep to the outside, so that you are now looking towards their foot.

Sit on them, securing their knee by wrapping your arm. Drop to the side, using their foot as pillow. Cross your arms, triangle your legs, driving the hips through. Make sure their foot is under your head, not above it, You don't want them to be able to rotate, as that facilitates their escape.

Second option from Charles Harriott. This time, do everything the same as before, until you get to the part where you are sat on them and securing their leg with your arm. Instead, grab both legs. As before, drop to the side, but you need to make sure the leg you are attacking is on top. Bring your elbow over the top while still holding their leg (Charles calls his a snapdown guillotine motion), to put their foot in your armpit.

That underarm finish requires their leg to be on the side of your head that is away from the floor. That way is stronger, as your arm and leg can clamp their leg more effectively in place. If you are going underarm with your bottom arm, it would be easier for them to turn their leg.
I'll also keep adding in my safety video, as I don't think this gets emphasised when teaching leglocks nearly enough. Really important: for twisting leglocks (which can happen accidentally, in the not uncommon event that the person being footlocked tries to explosively spin to free their leg), tap to pressure, not to pain.

Teaching Notes: I could probably do two, as it is essentially just a slight variation rather than a whole new technique. Though yeah, if I want to spread things out, it didn't feel sparse doing just the one variation across two lessons. Then again, if I did put them together, then I could do this on a Monday, followed by the vs knee shield style on a Wednesday (adding in a bit about how spinning through with the knee across, like on the knee shield version, works for lots of entries).