Main Website Back Up and Running

The main website is now working again, here, so I won’t be updating this back-up for a while. However, this experience has reminded me to take more regular back-ups: I had it all offline up to Jan 2013, and was in the process of pulling the rest from Google Cache before the site got restored a couple of hours ago. I have no idea if the same problem might happen again, as it was due to an automated Google process. A bit worrying they can just flick the off switch like that with no warning. 馃槈

But, if it does, then hopefully this back-up will still be here, whereupon I’ll bring it up to date. To anyone who has subscribed to the WordPress blog, that does mean you’ll get a load of emails at that point, which is what will also have happened over the last three days as I’ve been updating. So I wouldn’t recommend subscribing to this WordPress feed unless the blog goes down again and I have to use this one. Instead, subscribe to the main site here. 馃榾


Equipment Review – Gi Drawstring/Gi Cord (Z-Strings)

Short Review: If you’ve had problems with the traditional flat drawstring, then the Z-String may be a welcome step-up in quality and practicality. Speaking personally, I have never had any issues with the flat drawstring, but I know there are those who find that it bunches, particularly when wet. You may also simply enjoy customising your gi, in which case the range of four colours available from Z-Strings may appeal to you. Finally, it obviously works as a replacement string if the one on your trousers has broken. Available from the Z-Strings site for a slghtly expensive $10 each, here.

Full Review: In the years I’ve been running this website, I’ve both read and written plenty of gi reviews. Invariably, reviewers will have a preference for either the classic flat drawstring or the more recent round bungee cord. Generally speaking I’ve tended towards the traditional drawstring, but I don’t have a strong opinion either way. An increasing number of the gis I own have a cord, which has worked just as well. The only irritation I’ve had so far is that sometimes the cord is far too long, meaning that it dangles down to my knees before I tie it up. Due to that length it’s vulnerable to getting yanked and therefore becoming undone.

Actually selling the gi trouser cord separately, with a range of different colours, is an interesting concept. It reflects the increasing fashion element present in BJJ gis, which has accelerated over the last few years. This is despite the IBJJF attempts to clamp down on any divergence from the standard gi, with increasingly draconian and sometimes haphazardly applied rules at their competitions. The ridiculous scenario of forcing somebody to buy a new belt because it is the ‘wrong shade’ stands out.

As merely one tournament provider among many, the IBJJF fortunately does not have any executive power outside of its competitions, although its influence is difficult to completely ignore given that a medal from the IBJJF Mundials remains the most prestigious for a gi competitor. I’m not aware of any rules dictating gi cord choice, but it would not surprise me if the IBJJF imposed restrictions, should variety become more common. Either way, the Z-String is supposed to be an improvement on the classic flat drawstring, designed to avoid bunching, stay tied throughout a training session and provide customisation options to those who are so inclined.

The Z-String was created by David Zwanetz, a lawyer who trains at Crazy 88 in Maryland, a team previously associated with Lloyd Irvin. Zwanetz has assured me that the Team Lloyd Irvin affiliation no longer exists and that Z-Strings has no business connection to them or indeed anybody else. Nevertheless, he does continue to train and teach at Crazy 88, with a team logo on the Z-Strings website. If you’re unaware of why it is important to ask that question, read this factual summary of the deeply unpleasant revelations that have come out about Team Lloyd Irvin over the last few months.

Up until I received these gi drawstrings, I had no idea how to re-string a pair of trousers. The process is described fully in the video at the bottom of this review, embedded from the Z-Strings site, but for those of you concerned about bandwidth, I’ve put up some pictures. Taking it step by step:

1. Get a wire coathanger. Pull it straight, then create a loop at both ends by squashing the hook. Tape up any bits that stick out and could potentially snag on cloth.

2. Remove your current drawstring from a pair of gi trousers by pulling until you are able to pop the end out of the opposite side of the trousers, both on the front and back. If there is a thick knot, it will take a bit more force.

3. Put the coathanger through the front of the now-stringless trousers, so there is a loop sticking out of each end.

4. Wrap some of the new string through one of the loops.

5. Pull the coathanger out the other side of your trousers, until the end is fully fed through.

6. Put the coathanger through the back of the trousers, again with loops visible.

7. Insert one of the ends of the threaded string into the nearest loop.

8. Pull the coathanger out of the other end of the trousers.

9. For a final time, insert your coathanger through the back of the trousers. Make sure the loop is visible on the non-threaded side.

10. Put the final non-threaded end of the string in the loop, then pull it out the other side.

You now have a beautiful newly strung pair of gi trousers. Pink floral bedcovers are optional. 馃檪

The colour range is red, navy blue, white or ‘neutral’, which is basically beige. In the pictures on the website there appeared to be a black version too, but either that’s me being colour blind or it was discontinued. For the rope tip Z-Strings has a broader choice of colours: red, black, blue, purple, yellow, brown, orange, green, white and pink. That tip is no wider than the rest of the cord, so you’ll need to be careful it does not slide straight back through the trousers. This is in contrast to all other gi bungee cords I’m familiar with, which have a thick knot at each end to prevent that from happening.

The sizing is not as diverse as I might have liked, given that they are grouped into kids, A0-A2, A3-A4 and A5-A6. I dislike a long rope, but therefore had to go with the A0-A2. A true A1 would have fit much better than something designed to also fit somebody larger than me. I would guess that is a demand issue: perhaps more sizes will be added in future, if and when the market for Z-Strings expands.

Zwanetz claims in his video that the rough texture of the string will stop it coming untied during class. Up until now, it has lived up to that claim, unlike some other bungee cords which I’ve found regularly come loose. I would therefore have to concede that the extra length does not seem to have made it equally vulnerable to coming undone, at least in the few weeks I’ve been testing them up until now.

At $10 (拢6.50 at the current exchange rate) the Z-String is perhaps a little overpriced for a length of cord, considering you can get a good quality pair of gi trousers for $25, but not excessive. If you have a flat drawstring you want to replace and enjoy customising your gi, this may be a good option. Available from the Z-Strings site, here.

18/04/2013 – No Gi (Turtle Escapes)

Class #499
Gracie Barra Bristol, (No-Gi), Miles Pearson, Bristol, UK – 18/04/2013

I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past that I’m not a big fan of nogi. Out of the 500 lessons of BJJ I’ve taken over the years, a mere 30 of them have been nogi. When I’ve gone to nogi, it has normally been because I had no choice as I couldn’t make any other class in the schedule. That’s exactly why I find myself in the GB Bristol nogi class: Thursdays and Tuesdays are still by far the best days for me to train, so as I now teach on Tuesdays, it looks like I’ll be taking off the gi on Thursdays.

This time, I do at least have a new element to make it interesting: Leverage Submission Grappling. I’ve been to two of Nathan ‘Levo’ Leverton’s seminars so far, which I will be using as a nogi syllabus to work through. Every time I train nogi, my main focus will be LSG techniques. Fortunately for me, tonight was straight out of the LSG playbook, with several techniques Levo taught back at the Leverage Grappling Seminar #03. Miles kicked off with the wrestler’s sit-out (which Levo calls the ‘peek out’). They are in front of you, with their arms past your armpits but not locked. Base on an elbow and the opposite foot, then knock back their same side arm with your non-basing elbow.

Bring your non-basing foot through right across to the opposite corner, getting your head up, then spin behind them. Your inside hand stays by the leg in case they try to run behind. Also make sure you are putting your weight onto them when you bring your head through. If your weight is sat on the floor, the person on top can simply put their head on the floor, bring their leg over and mount.

Miles combined this with the arm roll, which applies when they lock their arms around you. Of course, a good grappler isn’t going to give you their arm like that when you’re in turtle, but it is still worth knowing. Same position, but this time you reach back and lock their arm. Look in the direction of the wrapped arm, then drop your same side shoulder to the mat and roll them onto their back. Turn towards their legs to come on top (if you turn towards their head, they can take your back).

Miles finished off with defending the over-under. This is when you have a more knowledgeable opponent, who reaches under your neck with one arm and your armpit with the other. From there, they can move into chokes, so you don’t want to hang around. Miles said that some people advocate the usual sit-out, but that he finds it doesn’t work well for him. His preference is to drop to the mat, firmly gripping their arm, one leg back and the other curled up high.

That should mean you are now heavy because your centre of gravity is low, hopefully giving you time to work free of their grip. When drilling, Liam tested out some variations on the Peruvian neck tie (although I’ve heard of it, that was the first time I’d seen it in the flesh), which he thought might make that defence problematic, although trouble-shooting with Miles, the defence seemed sound.

I was nervous about sparring, as my groin injury decided to flare up again due to Tuesday (I didn’t restrict myself as much, which was a mistake), but it turned out ok. Specific sparring from turtle gave me the chance to try and shift into Levo’s front headlock position, but I was having trouble because we all had to start with that arm-wrapping grip. Although even if we hadn’t started there, I would still have run into difficulty: I’m not settling my shoulder into their upper back properly, meaning they can still move forward and take out my legs.

Underneath I also had problems, again partially due to the grip. Normally if I’m in turtle I would be trying very hard to prevent them getting any kind of grip, with my elbows in tight. What I should have done was practice the escapes we’d learned, but I got overly fixated in attempting some tips from LSG #03, particularly the point on always shifting backwards to make them follow you then go for a leg.

Moving into free sparring, I was reminded yet again just how little I know about nogi. I really struggle to get any sort of grip in guard: not having lots of gi to grab makes a massive difference. That meant that instead, I was grabbing the head and failing to get over and underhooks. Keeping them tight is another high priority, which I need to work on. I have been to Levo’s closed guard seminar, but would benefit from going again, along with his session on open guard.

I vaguely looked for deep half at one point, but as I don’t use that in gi either, I just ended up curled close to their legs. That curled up position featured heavily when I sparred Luke too, this time facing the other way, in the running escape survival posture. I could defend from there, but because I was squashed on the mat, I couldn’t do much else except work to block arms digging in. I was impressed by Luke’s control, as despite being a huge guy, he took it nice and easy, staying technical even though I’m sure he could have just picked me up and thrown me across the room. 馃槈

16/04/2013 – Teaching (Bridging Back Escape)

Teaching #104
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can S枚nmez, Bristol, UK – 16/04/2013

Tonight I’m going to look at what I call the bridging back escape. Saulo isn’t a fan, listing the bridge escape under ‘common misconceptions’ in the back survival section of Jiu Jitsu University, but it is nevertheless standard at most schools I’ve visited. The motion is roughly similar to the bridge and shrimp under side control or mount to recover guard, but the body arrangement is quite different. Rather than trying to bridge and shrimp to crawl away from a weight on top that has pinned you to the mat, you’re bridging to pin them and then crawl over the top of a weight behind you.

The basic method I’m familiar with was taught to me by Kev Capel (which incidentally is the same way Feitosa teaches it on Gracie Barra Fundamentals). Cross your hands under your jaw, pressing the back of each hand against your face, elbows in tight. This should both block attempts to press a forearm into your neck, while still enabling you to use your hands to intercept theirs. Interestingly, Brandon Mullins grabs their choking arm with both of his, reaching back to grab behind their elbow with one hand and their wrist with the other. He then pulls it across to create some space. Personally, I’d be worried about my neck with that method, but it’s an option to try.

Bridge up, trying to get your head to the mat, with the intention of getting your shoulders to the mat. Keep moving to the side until you’ve created a bit of pressure on their hook. Brandon Mullins talks about a continuous motion of incremental shifts to the side and twists of the hips, until you can pop their hook off. Feitosa pushes it off with his same side hand, whereas Mullins prefers to use hip pressure, just like Xande and Saulo in the escape I’ve taught before.

Whichever method you use, do a big step over their leg (Mullins does a ‘high step, bringing his knee up high towards his head, then putting the foot over) as soon as you pop it off, then move your hips over onto the floor. Grab their leg (the difficult part here is knowing when to move your hand to the leg, as you don’t want to give them access to your neck), then push off your outside leg to bring your weight onto their chest.

You need to make sure that you keep your weight on their chest the whole time, gluing their upper body to the ground. Aim to get your shoulder onto their chest if possible, but be careful of not going too far over, or they might be able to roll you. Like Xande, Mullins notes that they will mostly likely try to come on top as you escape. You still have their leg, so you can always just recover guard (though if you can get on top yourself, that’s preferable).

To get to side control, gradually walk around with your feet, maintaining that pressure on their chest. With your other hand (this will be the same hand that released their hooking foot earlier), reach over and grab their opposite leg. This is to stop them turning into you. It should now be a simple matter to twist into side control. You can also try hooking around their head: the picture above is from a slightly different scenario, as Xande is escaping the turtle, but similar principles apply.

That’s the basic version. As you’ll know if you’ve been reading this blog regularly, I’ve been taking regular private lessons from D贸nal for the last couple of months. The purpose of that was firstly to enable me to train while still injured, secondly to continue training under D贸nal (as he sadly doesn’t teach a regular evening class at GB Bristol since the birth of his son) and finally the usual reason of trying to improve (though in my case, that’s both as a student and an instructor). We covered back escapes fairly recently, building off this escape along with a couple of others I’ve taught in the past.

For D贸nal’s back escape (which has more similarities to Xande’s version than Feitosa, but is slightly different to both), start off by immediately bringing your knee up on the choking arm side. In one quick motion, move your head forwards and simultaneously shove their head sideways (this is presuming they know what they are doing and have their head tight to yours for control). Look towards them, keeping your head and neck firm in order to stop them moving their head back into place. Push off your leg and bridge back, aiming to get your shoulders and spine to the mat. Angle your choking arm side knee towards the other side, to stop them dragging you back over to the choking arm side once you start escaping.

Due to your body slipping off to the side, they are probably going to try and come on top. To do that, they need to be able to turn their legs down and then away from you. Keep your legs in tight to block them: with your leg back, that forms an effective barrier to their efforts to turn. There are a couple of ways you can do that. The first one D贸nal showed was hooking their top leg (if they’re trying to turn on top, they’ll be on their side) with your near leg. Alternatively, step your near leg behind the knee of their bottom leg and pinch your own knees together.

With your near arm, grab their trousers by their top leg (either by the knee or a bit lower). When you have the opportunity, switch to grip with the other hand, which means you can bring your near elbow down past their body, on the inside. At this point, make sure you’ve got your outside knee angled towards them, for base like before. Shrimp away, get your near arm back, then turn straight into the leg squash pass position.

I ended up doing it a bit differently when drilling with D贸nal, as I like to get control of the shoulder and head. I diverged at the point after you switch your grip on their trousers. Instead of getting my elbow to the floor and turning, I preferred to either reach across their neck and grab the gi, or better, reach under their head, grip the far armpit then lock my shoulder into their head and shoulder.

Either way, I then shrimp away and turn to try and come on top. With your grip on the knee, stiff-arm so they can’t lock their half-guard (if they do lock their half guard, this puts you in the opposite side half guard pass position, so proceed from there). Free your leg and move into side control. Note also that deep half is another common finish to this escape, if you like that position.

Teaching Notes: I could probably tweak my understanding of blocking their legs on the second one, though the main thing is hooking the top leg. During drilling, there were odd numbers, so I went with Mike. What I usually do when that happens is let me partner drill for two minutes, then walk around to see if anyone has questions for the next two. When everybody switches, I let me partner have another two minutes, then walk around again.

The disadvantage of that is it doesn’t always give me enough time to see everyone do the technique at least once within the four minutes I allocate for each person to drill. Today that meant the drilling ran over a little, because I wanted to make sure I saw everyone. As a result, there were a few minutes less for sparring. I think that may be unavoidable though, unless I have people drill in a three (which works, but I prefer that everybody gets the full four minutes for drilling and three for progressive resistance each).

This is the first lesson that I’ve really been able to do the “here’s the basic version, here’s the more advanced one” thing, which I like, particularly as the student mix in my classes is officially ‘all levels’ (though I gear everything towards beginners, as I prefer to keep techniques as simple as possible). I’ll be trying to do that more in future if I can.

10/04/2013 – D贸nal Private: Windscreen Wiper & Sit-Up Sweep

Class #498 – Private #009
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), D贸nal Carmody, Bristol, UK – 10/04/2013

As ever with jiu jitsu, the sweep I worked on today has several names: Andre Anderson calls it the ‘Rey Diogo sweep’ after his instructor. I first learned the windscreen wiper sweep from Ciaran Toal in Belfast, so I sometimes refer to it as the ‘Ciaran sweep’. However, ‘windscreen wiper’ seems like the most descriptive term, which I therefore use most often.

D贸nal was pleased when I mentioned I’d like to study this technique in more depth, as it is one of his favourites. He had various modifications to the versions I’ve learned before, beginning with his grips. Anderson grabs the elbow and pushes in. D贸nal grabs the sleeve with his same side hand, grabbing just below their knee with the other hand. If you can’t get any material, pull your legs inwards to knock them towards you and take their weight off their legs. That should enable you to get a good handful of cloth by their knee.

You don’t just grip their sleeve with a typical pocket grip. Instead, D贸nal used a principle similar to the grip on the shin when doing the knee cut pass. Grab the cloth then turn your hand inwards, pressing your knuckles into the side of their forearm. Just like when they sit on their heels and make the trousers too tight to hold, by turning your hand in their sleeve becomes tight and restricts their movement. They can longer easily circle their hand around to break your hold.

Remember the advice from Anderson’s DVD about bringing your hips off the mat and closer to your partner. That way, they don’t have as much space for a guard pass: you’ve taken it away, so to even begin a guard pass they have to first create that space. On the sleeve grip side, put your foot on the mat by their leg, keeping it tight so there is no room for them to wriggle. Anderson prefers to put his foot on the hip, but as I found during the Nic Gregoriades ‘big class’ on this topic, I think foot on the floor works better for me than foot on the hip. You could go straight for the windscreen wiper from here, but D贸nal uses a combination instead: he starts off with a sit-up sweep.

For this initial technique, the sit-up is a bait. Angle your hips slightly towards your sleeve grip, then shove their arm into their other hip. Do the sit up sweep as normal, coming up diagonally towards the knee grip side and bumping into their hip. Their natural reaction will be to press forwards to prevent your sweep, which sets you up perfectly for the windscreen wiper. On the knee-grip side, kick your leg into their armpit, curling it around their back as you do. It’s important that this leg stays tight to them, right from the moment you do a sit-up: imagine that leg is an arm, which you’re using to hug them tightly.

You’ll drop back slightly too. In order to do the hip bump, you’ll have probably come up on your elbow. Don’t drop straight back down. Instead, angle off in the direction of your knee grip, moving the shoulder of your posting elbow across. Your leg should end up across their upper back, the foot near their opposite shoulder. Kick the leg forwards to knock them over, thrusting up with your knee grip arm, then roll them into mount.

Keep hold of their leg and sleeve, also extending the sleeve forwards. Holding the leg makes it hard for them to bridge, while holding the sleeve and straightening the arm could lead directly into a submission, such as an americana. To further help with that, slide your knee up on the sleeve grip side, so they can’t bring their elbow back to their side.

Keep in mind this is a combination: the option of completing the sit up sweep is also available, switching back and forth depending on where and how they resist. Sit-up diagonally, bumping with your hip, again shoving their arm into their other hip as you do. You also want to lock their arm in place with your sleeve grip side hip, pressing that into them.

If they don’t lean forwards to resist (if they did, you’d go to the windscreen wiper), they will most likely post their arm on the knee grip side behind them. Let go of their sleeve and instead reach slightly below the elbow of that posting arm. Push it forwards and hook it, then continue the sit-up sweep/hip bump motion.

Bring your knee up to trap their arm again, for submission opportunities. Also don’t let their other arm free: because you shoved it into their hip and clamped it in place at the other end with your hip, once you roll into mount it should be totally stuck underneath you. That means they can’t use it to defend, putting you in a great position to attack.

09/04/2013 – GrappleThon In A Few Weeks & Teaching (Maintaining Mount)

Teaching #103
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can S枚nmez, Bristol, UK – 09/04/2013

If you’re somehow not aware of the Team Lloyd Irvin scandal, then take a look at this great summary, ‘‘. Irvin is sadly trying to bury the facts with SEO, so the more you can click on and link to Lloyd Irvin Rape, the better.

Update: Looks like TLI got hold of the original site and put in a redirect. However, the original content is still here.

Also, the GrappleThon is less than a month away! I’m trying to pull a press release together, so hopefully I’ll be able to get that into a newspaper somewhere (last time I had the benefit of a professional press officer, so may not be as successful this time), but we’ll see. We’ve currently raised 拢4,542.35, which is very cool: still taking donations of course, so if you’d like to help the cause, please go here. 馃榾

There are two basic types of mount to choose from, which I’ll call low and high. Once you’ve achieved mount, I find that low mount provides the most control. First off, you want to immobilise their hips, as their main method of making space is to bridge up forcefully.

Bring your feet right back, threading them around their legs to establish two hooks: this is known as a grapevine. Alternatively, you can also cross your feet underneath, which has the advantage of making it much harder for them to push your hooks off. Your knees are ideally off the ground, to generate maximum pressure. How far off the ground they are depends on your dimensions: the key is getting loads of hip pressure. Another option, which I learned from Rob Stevens at Gracie Barra Birmingham, is to put the soles of your feet together and then bring your knees right off the floor.

Whichever option you’re going for, thrust those hips into them, using your hands for base, where again you have a couple of options. Either have both arms out, or put one under the head while the other goes out wide for base. Try to grip the gi material by their opposite shoulder, or even better, by the opposite armpit. Keep your head on the basing arm side, loading up your weight there. If they’re bridging hard, you can switch from side to side.

A basic escape is to trap an arm, bridge and roll. So, don’t let them grab your arm and crush it to their side. Instead, swim it through, like Ryron and Rener demonstrate in the third slice of the third lesson in Gracie Combatives. Be sure to do it one at a time, or you may get both arms squashed to your sides.

The drawback to the low mount is that there aren’t many submissions from there: the ezequiel is one of the few high percentage attacks. In terms of their defence, they are mostly going to be trying to unhook your feet and digging their elbows under your knees, so you’ll be battling to keep those in place.

To attack, you’re better off climbing further up, into high mount. Again, you need to worry about their hips. To control them, put your feet by their bum, tucking your toes underneath: Roger Gracie points this out as of particular importance. In what you might call ‘middle’ mount where you’re still over their hips, Saulo suggests that you ‘ride’ their bridges, like you were on a horse. Lean back, then as they bridge, lift up: you鈥檙e aiming to move with their hips, rather than just leaving a big space. So, this takes a good understanding of timing.

He also recommends against leaning forward, as he feels that gives them more space and leverage to escape. Hence why he leans back instead. Experiment, seeing how holding the head works for you versus leaning back. I think Saulo鈥檚 method requires more experience, and personally I feel unstable there, but as ever, I want to offer students choice whenever possible.

The danger of leaning back is when you’re facing somebody with flexibility and/or long limbs. They might be able reach their legs over to kick into your armpits, either sliding out through your legs or pushing your over. You must control their hips with your feet, to prevent them from bending their body. Swimming the arms through might help you out here, this time against their legs, depending on how they attack. If they do get their feet in place, I generally grab on the back of their collar, stay really low, then attempt to gradually work my hips back to flatten them out: that worked for me last time it happened.

Another option is to move off their hips, shifting into an even higher mount. Gradually walk your knees into their armpits (pulling on the top of their head may help) being careful of the elbows. If they start to work an elbow into your thigh, twist to one side and raise that knee. Pull their arm up with whatever you can grab, then reinsert your knee. I’ve seen Rob S teach grabbing their sleeve with your opposite hand, while Mauricio likes to grab the elbow with their opposite hand and Felipe essentially shifts to technical mount for a moment.

A final thing I wanted to mention, from Demian Maia, is that you can also use the cross-face. If they turn on their side to get their elbow back in, you can use the cross face to bring their head out of alignment: moving them with their head is easier than trying to move their shoulders or arms or whatever. Also, the body follows the head, so they are going to have trouble bridging or turning if you’ve got a solid cross face.


Teaching Notes: This is becoming a fairly defined lesson now, but as ever I’m still looking for tweaks. I think that the opening section on low mount is rather lighter on detail than high mounts, so I can shift some parts across. Next time, I will add the arm swimming to low mount, leaving the cross-facing in high mount. The cross-facing is something I emphasised this time, as I personally find it useful. Also, turning to the side, lifting a leg slightly then pulling their arm.

Something else I will add next time is grabbing the head and using that to either stop them sliding away when you’ve got to high mount, or to help pull yourself up into high mount from low mount. I was reminded of it when sparring Geraldine (again: she’s making a habit of being a useful training partner for things like this ;D), because I was commenting how people will try to slide back up under high mount. She immediately used it on me, quite effectively, which was cool.

I’m not sure if it is worth including the Saulo option, as I don’t think many people use it (though I know one student specifically said it worked well for him, so I can’t discount it). However, it is handy to demonstrate what you can do with a more upright posture, which leads into the warning about their legs reaching to grab your armpits.

While teaching, I used something I saw on a video a while ago, I can’t remember who from (Jason Scully or Jeremy Arel, possibly?) Very simple, but to show hip pressure from mount, get the person you’re demonstrating on to go through the alphabet without pressure. Then have them do it again, but this time apply pressure partway through. The change in voice hopefully gets a little laugh and helps solidify the concept in peoples’ heads.

03/04/2013 – D贸nal Private: Escaping the Back Details

Class #497 – Private #008
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), D贸nal Carmody, Bristol, UK – 06/04/2013

There were three key details I want to take away from this private. First off, I can relax a bit on my defence: I don’t need to clamp my arms by my neck the entire time, as that also locks me in place. Secondly, the importance of getting your head under theirs. You can literally dig your head into place if their head is still in the way when your drop to your side. Finally, hook their top leg as you start to escape. That means you can both shift into deep half if necessary and block their attempts to turn.

For blocking the neck, the Saulo method is worth using, with a thumb in the opposite collar, the other free to defend. If you miss that, then there is the option of grabbing the elbow or gi sleeve and yanking it down. Bring your knee up on the choking arm side, heel closer to your bum. That leg is there for base, so angle your knee in slightly to prevent them turning you.

Push head their head across like last time, then drop to the open side. Wriggle your shoulders and spine onto the ground. As you start to escape, hook your leg on their top leg, so they can’t turn to side control. If possible, you can even step your foot right onto the ground to lock their legs in place.

If they have a grip and are going for a single collar choke as you try to escape, your first option is to peel it off with a free hand. Don’t let them sit up, or they can tighten up the choke: block that with your leg entangled in theirs. I find that if I can get my near arm under their head, pinching it between my shoulder and arm, I can retain enough control to start moving on top.

When you’ve got their leg hooked, the route to deep half opens up. If you do that, remember to so they can’t underhook, which is the first thing the person on top will look to get against deep half. Grip under their knee cap, using that to turn their leg slightly outward, spin to top and pass.

If you can’t push the head, drop to the side and use your foot to push off their opposite hook. Immediately start to slide free, keeping their leg hooked as before. That again gives you the option of either going to deep half or simply trying to keep them locked in place so you can work to go on top.

While doing light sparring this week, we got into some weird positions. At one point I was lying next to him, stepped my leg right over and locked into behind his knees. That prevented turning, then I could spin through into side control. Somewhat random, but fun to play with stuff like that and see what happens.