Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 6th & 7th - Cole Franson Seminar

Cole Franson is a brown belt that trains at Tinguinha HQ and is an avid competitor.  Check out some of his matches on youtube.  Greg brought him out to give us a taste of a different style of BJJ from a high level competitor. 

I didn't take as good of notes as I normally do for a seminar so a lot of this is from memory and I probably forgot some of it.  I plan on using much of this as I enjoy guillotines.  I'd like to get good at berimbolos some day but it just hasn't been a focus of mine yet.  I did enjoy the lasso stuff that we did though.

Cole ended up rolling a lot and he looked smooth and always in control.  For my experience rolling with him, I didn't ever feel like I got him in a position that I wanted him in.  I attempted my over/under pass and I couldn't push his foot down between my legs.  I put him in deep half and I couldn't hold him tight to my shoulder.  When I tried to pass his guard he inverted and kind of walked back up into me and reguarded.   So I have a lot to learn still, duh.

We had an unfortunate accident Friday night as my buddy Craig dislocated his elbow while posting on a scissor sweep.  We got him taken care of at the hospital where they relocated it and doped him up a bit. Then back home safely that night. 

I'm in the background wishing I was rolling instead
For some reason we look more happy than we should in this photo.  Probably the drugs


Techniques Covered:
  • Guillotine with chinstrap grip 
    • Headlock position
    • They defend by grabbing wrist, butterfly hook sweep
  • Situp guard: push head to the outside back step sit pass
    • Get to Side Control
  • Opponent does Side control escape with underhook
    • Fall into Guillotine as they situp
    • If they don't come up, mount
    • If they roll the other way, anaconda


Techniques Covered:
  • Reverse De La Riva Kiss of the Dragon backtake
    •  If they lean back, waterfall to back
    • If they lean forward, hold hips to get up
    • If they sit balanced and grab feet, grab higher on their lapel and butterfly sweep to one side
  • De La Riva Berimbolo Back Take
  • Lasso
    • Invert to Sweep
    • If they switch legs, DLR sweep to invert to omoplata

Monday, September 11, 2017

Beginner Curriculum Technique Companion Links

This week I completed a post for each week of the curriculum.  These are the requirements to get promoted to blue belt.  I've included a link to a youtube video for each technique, unfortunately I wasn't able to always find a video that matched the way we do things 100%.  Please let me know if you find a better video that represents what we do for a given technique or if any of the links are broken. Hopefully this helps you potential woul blue belts out there.

Week 1
Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Basic Side Control Knee Escape, Paint Brush (Americana) from Side Control

Week 2
Techniques: Standing RNC Defense: Seio Nage, Farside Armbar From Side Control, Scissor Sweep

Week 3
Techniques: O-Goshi, Cross Collar Choke from Closed Guard, Armbar from Closed Gaurd

Week 4
Techniques: Standing Headlock Escape to Tani Otoshi, Kneeling Guard Break, Single Under Pass

Week 5
Techniques: Double Leg, Mount: Cross Collar Choke, Upa

Week 6
Techniques:  RNC Defense with O-soto gari, Back Mount: Escape, RNC

Week 7
Techniques: Seoi Nage, Back Mount Lapel Choke, Guillotine from Guard

Week 8
Techniques: Technical Stand-up, Closed Guard: Hip Bump Sweep, Kimura

Week 9
Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break, Torreando Pass

Week 10
Techniques: Standing Guillotine Defense, Half Guard: Back Take, Recover Full Guard

Week 11
Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Half Guard Knee Slide Pass, Turtle Granby Roll

Week 12
Techniques: Leg Over Headlock Escape, Turtle Turnover to Side Control & Back Mount

Week 13
Techniques: O-Goshi, Back Mount: Wing Choke, Bow and Arrow Choke

Week 14
Techniques: Standing Headlock Escape to Hammerlock, Mount: Armbar, Elbow Escape

Week 15
Techniques: Double Leg, Mount Americana, Side Control Bread Cutter

Week 16
Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Side Control: Tripod Escape, Kimura

Week 17
Techniques: Standing Guillotine Against Wall Defense, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass

Week 18
Techniques: Seoi Nage, Double Ankle Grab Sweep, Butterfly Hook Sweep, Butterfly Guard Pass

Week 19
Techniques: Headlock Escape to Back Mount, Kneeling Guard Break, Knee Slide Pass

Week 20
Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Basic Triangle Setup

Week 21
Techniques: Basic Open Guard Position, Sweeps, and Submissions (Collar Sleeve Guard)

Week 22
Techniques: Guillotine Defense from Guard, Ezekiel Choke from Mount & Half Guard

Week 23
Techniques: Head Lock Escape Over Head Roll, Straight Footlock and Defense

September 2017 - Week #9 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break, Torreando Pass

Koshi Guruma
Video: Judo - Koshi-guruma

Similar footwork to other forward throws.  This one in particular you want to make sure that you don't push their hips back when you wrap your arm around your neck.  This week, I'm going to focus primarily on turning my head with the throw to end looking behind me. 

Standing Guard Break
Video: Barra Technique Tuesday - Passing the Closed Guard

One of the most important techniques is the standing guard break. The exercise that went the furthest for getting this to work for me was the stand-up and sit-up that we worked on in a competition class.  It's one of my favorite exercises to have the class do when I teach.  Being able to standup with good posture and structure is crucial, especially if your opponent is bigger than you.  A couple of tips that I think  are important:

  • I always look up about 10 degrees above eye level, even during grip fighting.
  • If they occupy their own hand with a grip, it's okay to plant that foot. As you stand, attempt to grab the sleeve and control.
  • Pull them up by their sleeve trying to keep their shoulders off the mat.
  • Put the palm of your hand on the boney part of their knee.
  • Take short steps back as you push down.

Bonus: 3 Ways to Break the Closed Guard

Torreando Pass
Video: BJJ Scout: Leandro Lo's Toreando Pass Study

There are a lot of videos out there on this technique and a lot of people have different ideas of what works best.  I found the video linked above to contain the most variation of information.  Some tips for the technique:

  • Create handles on the inside of the knees with knuckles down
  • Get your opponent on their back by pushing their knees into the direction of their chest
  • Practice the footwork in combination with the arm movements to make it a smooth path to knee on belly
  • You will likely have to switch sides to complete the pass

Monday, September 4, 2017

September 2017 - Week #8 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Technical Stand-up, Closed Guard: Hip Bump Sweep, Kimura

Technical Stand-up
Video: BJJ Self Defense Lesson 4 - Technical Standup

A very important basic movement for self defense as well as a few Jiu-Jitsu techniques.  The driving force behind the technical stand-up is to be able to get back up to your feet while maintaining sight of your opponent as well as being ready to defend yourself at any moment throughout the motion.

It takes a little bit of practice for most to figure out how far away you want plant your hand in relation to your foot in order to stand up with good balance and be able to move backward.  We also practice some kicks to the knee and up-kicks if necessary to keep your opponent far enough away to give you a chance to get up.  Personally I try to get up using this way as often as I can even outside of class.

Hip Bump Sweep
Video: Closed Guard Sweep Hip Bump Sweep

The 2 techniques this week build off of the same motion as the guillotine choke from last week.  We get their hands off of our chest and situp into them.  Here it's important to push your  hips back and place your hand on the floor for support around where your shoulder previously was.

For the hip bump in particular we want a little momentum from the opponent.  Often you can create this by holding them down temporarily and then coming up with them as they try to regain posture.  Here I like to tell people to swallow the oppoent's shoulder with your armpit.

Leg position is the important next step.  Your leg on the shoulder that you are attacking needs to drop to the floor and kind of wrap around their knee.  Your other leg needs to be bent as much as possible with your foot near your butt.  Then do a large bridge motion and attempt to hit the opponent in the chest with your hips and flip them like a pancake.  Make sure to consolidate mount and center up.

Kimura from closed guard
Video: Kimura from closed guard for white belts

Same beginning as the other technique except you can stay on your elbow and keep a hold of their wrist.  One tip to help grab your own wrist in the figure 4 is to keep your own elbow close to your ribs.  Often it may seem like it's impossible to grab your wrist and changing your elbow position may help.

To complete the technique you use a hip motion and bring your leg over their back, in an attempt to get perpendicular with them.  This allows for greater leverage to use your body to rotate their arm behind their back.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Masters Worlds 2017

Day 1

It was overwhelming to see so many people come together for Jiu-Jitsu.  Over 4500 competitors along with their coaches and family members came to Las Vegas in search of gold.  Myself, Conan, Jerad, Brian, and Telly included.   My wife, Jennifer was also there for support and we were able to make it into a vacation while the kids were at home with my parents.

After getting over the number of people and the 21 mats setup we went to watch Clark Gracie win his first match.   Which was funny because I had just saw him jog by me in a hoody warming up.  I was thinking he looked familiar but wasn't sure.  He won his first and second match with omoplata type submissions.  It ended up being difficult to see some matches as people stood at the barriers and the bleachers weren't high enough to see over them.  So you had to go to the top row or even stand on chairs in the bleachers.  Would have been cool if they could have raised the mats up kumite style.

We saw a couple of guys from Tinguinha HQ compete on each day and got to meet and connect with some of them.  I also saw some BJJ celebrities like Saolo and Xandi Ribero, Lavato Jr., Travis Stevens, Kurt Osiander, Buchecha, and I think Brian claimed to see Ryan Hall and Mayweather at one point.

Day 2

On the second day we finally had the first to compete from our school.  Telly dug deep to win all of his matches for the gold.  He got some pretty slick takedowns and stayed on top for all of his wins.  Conan did his best to encourage him between each match.  Now we have a world champion blue belt in our midst!  I plan on working with Telly a lot in the coming year to improve my takedowns.

About this time I was concerned with everything I ate.  I used the treadmill each morning and weighed myself and while I was right on target, in Vegas it's very easy to eat yourself into a food coma.  Being nervous did help with keeping the appetite down.

Day 3 (Competition Day)

I was the first to go, scheduled for 9:00.  Listening to some light music helped me relax a little bit while I watched the staff start to set things up and the judges have a morning meeting.  Eventually my division was called to the coral area to check our gis and weight.  I was 3 lbs under and felt like I had a ton of energy.

I tried to get myself warmed up by bouncing around a little bit and stretching but the walk over was a pretty good warm-up in itself.  I got called to my ring with my first opponent.  I watched the match before me end in a baseball bat choke from the bottom and then the ref signalled for us to come forward.

1st Match 
I shook the ref's hand and my opponent's and he made sure he had our names correctly compared to the scoreboard.  Once he told us to start I went for the grip I wanted and he grabbed my lapel with both hands and attempted a guard pull to deep half, but I was able to turn it into a quarter mount and keep him from getting to his position.  From there I felt strong and was able to keep a dominant position throughout.

At one point he turtled up and I saw my opportunity for crucifix, but he overdefended and I took the back instead.  Watching it, I should have put my foot on the floor and hip escaped at this point, but I was still able to secure hooks.  I fought hard for the collar grip and started working on a sliding lapel choke.  I felt like I had the choke and was going to finish but he wasn't tapping.  I knew not to burn myself out but I also wanted to finish. I believe that my choking hand grip wasn't high enough and I should have transitioned to the bow and arrow.  We went back and forth after that from back to mount and I tried to keep attacking throughout.  Final score was either 11 or 15 to 0.

2nd Match
My second match started out with a furious grip battle.  I attempted to get grips I wanted he did a good job of grabbing my sleeve and getting under my other arm.  I attempted a foot sweep and kept looking for an opportunity to do tai toshi.  Eventually I felt like my guard pull was there but when I attempted it I wasn't able to reach his leg to underhook it.  It went downhill from here and he eventually passed using a leg weave.  I had a collar grip and had a moment when I thought I could hit a loop choke but I didn't take the chance.  Once he reached knee on belly I was down 5 points and couldn't find a way to turn the tables.  Eventually time ran out.

So many should haves go through my head when I watch the match, but a consolation is that he ended up winning the gold in my division.

Jerad went soon after with similar results.  He won his first match with some dominating pressure passing and lost his second on points with some good attempts at butterfly sweeps.  Followed later in the day with a tough match for Brian who drew the winner of his division in the first round.  Conan took home the silver after winning 2 matches and losing on points in the last.

That night we stuffed our faces with good Italian and I got a decent night's sleep.  Jennifer and I stayed a few more days and did more eating, shopping, saw the show Ka, which I recommend, and walked about 7 miles each day.  I'm so happy and thankful that my wife suffered and supported me through this.  Not only on this trip but with my Jiu-Jitsu journey on a daily basis.

I'm happy to get back to training and am excited for the improvements that I'll make in the next year.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 2017 - Week #7 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Seoi Nage, Back Mount Lapel Choke, Guillotine from Guard

Seoi Nage 
Video: In-depth analysis of Ippon Seoi nage by Matt D'Aquino of Beyond Grappling

A couple of pointers when executing this throw.  Don't put their armpit over your shoulder, it should go closer to the crook of your elbow.  Judo Bob says that this throw is more like a hand technique rather than a hip throw.  After working with Bob on this and other throws I'm only scratching the surface with understanding it.

The drop seoi nage is the throw that I've had the most success with.  The morote has also been coming together for me.

This is the Morote Seoi Nage that I've been working on lately: Moro-Te-Seoi-Nage-Omote-Eingang (Tokio Hirano-Lehrgang 1984 in Papendaal, Holland)

Back Mount Lapel Choke
Video: Basic Collar Choke Variation from the Back

This is the technique that I attempted at Masters Worlds and wasn't able to get the tap.  I believe that my grip was too shallow and even though it felt pretty tight, my opponent was able to gut it out.

The big thing I find students have a problem with on this technique is that they contort their wrist too much to their opponent's neck.  So these are the tips that I usually give.

  • Grab a higher collar grip than a bow and arrow.  You want to use wrist contact for the  choke.
  • As you start to apply the choke, put your knuckles down on their chest.  Pull their collary tight against their neck and push your pinky away, allowing your wrist to jut into their neck.
  • Slowly apply the choke in 10% increments instead of trying to use all of your strength at once.

Guillotine from Guard
Video: Master Pedro Sauer - Guillotine Technique

Not something that I hit very often from closed guard but i think it's an important movment that will play into next week's techniques (Hip Bump and Kimura).  The main pointer that I share with this technique is that it's okay to put your feet on the ground to help push yourself back to make the space needed.  You don't want your hips right against them and you need room to connect your hands.

Then when you fall, don't go straight back but to the side, so you can get a good angle on their neck and prevent their shoulder pressure escape.  Next, keep your choking arm shoulder off the mat.  Being lazy with it will often allow your opponents head to pop out of the choke.

Bonus: Marcelo Garcia on the Guillotine from Closed Guard

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 2017 - Week #6 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques:  RNC Defense with O-soto gari, Back Mount: Escape, RNC

RNC Defense with O-soto gari
Video: Top 4 Jiu-Jitsu Techniques to Escape Rear Choke
Defending the head lock with osoto gari - START BJJ Academy
Self Defense RNC to Osoto Gari and Armbar

This is used when you get bent backward during a standing headlock or RNC.  Putting your hand on their wrist and keeping them from connecting their hands is paramount.  After circling their leg, take small steps to line your hips up. As you turn keep pressure down on their shoulder to keep their weight on that leg before you sweep it.

Back Mount: Escape
Video: Highest Percentage Rear Mount Escape for Gi and No-Gi

Such an important technique that I use often. Here are some tips:
  • Start with getting your head to the side you want to escape to.  Make your opponent uncomfortable.
  • Use your feet to push your hips above their hips and get your shoulders on the mat. 
  • Continue to defend from chokes and be prepared to take half guard.

Bonus: BJJ back escape to deep half (skateboard escape)

Video: Clark Gracie with Rear Naked Choke Details

One of the quintessential techniques of BJJ and by far the most finished submission in MMA, also called Mata Leao (Lion Killer).  Besides back mount I've been hitting this from crucifix lately as well.

I suggest watching the video below, because the squeeze is super important. Trust me, it's a flat Earth free video.

Some tips on this technique:

  • In the back mount position, protect your choking hand with the underhook hand. 
  • Your harness grip is more important than your hooks. Keep it tight using your elbow and chin.
  • Trapping an arm is preferable.
  • The main goal is to squeeze your forearm and bicep together hit the sides of the neck.
  • Use your back muscles to thrust your chest forward.  

Bonus: Eddie Bravo - How to develop a strong rear naked choke squeeze

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 2017 - Week #5 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg, Mount: Cross Collar Choke, Upa

Double Leg
Video: Double Leg Takedown - BJJ Blue Belt Requirements Technique #1

I'm slowly feeling better about pulling off this technique and I have hit it in rolling more often lately.  Especially after working more stand-up in preparation for Worlds. Also, Nick is very good at double legging and we do it often in the MMA class.

A thing that I need to focus on is not trying to setup this takedown from too far away.  So many times I've attempted to shoot from 5 feet away and got stuffed repeatedly.  I still need to improve on it but I'm starting to get it. 

Cross Collar Choke
Video: Roger Gracie, Cross Collar Choke: Jiu-Jitsu Magazine, Issue #27.

Jerad inspired me to get better at this technique.  He started hitting it on me and has a pretty good game using this choke setup now.  I'd almost rather be in his back mount than his mount sometimes. With all of that said I find it to still be a difficult submission to setup,  but it often will help setup other attacks.

Important things that I've learned:
  • Don't attempt to choke until your head is on the floor.  This is how Greg does it.
  • If you think your grip is deep enough, you're probably wrong.
  • Choking someone can be a psychological battle as well as a physical one.  Don't start your choke at 100% and then figure out your grip is not right and relax and try again.  Your opponent will think they've weathered the storm.  I use percentages, I'll start at maybe 40% and begin to move up 10%.  So it always feels like it's getting worse.
Bonus: Cross Choke Mastery Seminar (Rener Gracie)

Upa Escape
Video: This Week In BJJ Episode 61 with Rickson Gracie Part 4 of 4

I only really learned how to do this technique well after Greg did it to me during positional sparring. He does this technique very explosively and times his bridge, his step over and trapping the arm at almost the same time.

I also like the point Rickson brings up in the video about moving your head like a back roll.

Beware of your arms though, it's easy to get caught with an armbar if you let them stray from your chest.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 2017 - Week #4 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Standing Headlock Escape to Tani Otoshi, Kneeling Guard Break, Single Under Pass

Standing Headlock Escape to Tani Otoshi
Video: 3 Standing Headlock Escapes - BJJ Self Defense and BJJ Self Defense Lesson 5: Headlock Defense

Couldn't find a video that exactly fit but these 2 are pretty close.  I think the biggest difference is that we look to stop their far leg from stepping with our foot and get lower to the .

Kneeling Guard Break
Video: Beginner BJJ Fundamentals - Opening Closed Guard from Knees Concepts - Jason Scully

Single Under Pass
Video: opening the closed guard / single under hook stack pass

Surprisingly a difficult video to find. The one I linked to is probably the closest to how we do it that I could find.  Unfortunately the guy is teaching during a basketball game in the background. 

Some points to making this pass work.
  • Hips low: Try to plank instead of lifting your butt way in the air.
  • Push forward using your toes.  Don't turn until you have them fully stacked.  Then you can grab their pants for belt to lift their hips up a little more.  
  • After turning push forward again and avoid lifting your head.  Drive their legs to the floor.
  • Make them want to let you pass. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July 2017 - Week #3 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Cross Collar Choke from Closed Guard, Armbar from Closed Gaurd

Video: Judo basics: O goshi, judo takedowns

I don't think I've figured out how to setup this throw yet.  To get the underhook often feels so far away, and if I do get it they pull their hips way back.  I really need to improve my kazushi to get them up on the balls of their feet to get under their base.  It's a work in progress.

Cross Collar Choke from Closed Guard
Video: Roger Gracie, Cross Collar Choke

This is one of those techniques that I don't finish very often but occassionally it presents itself.  I would even say it took me a while to get good enough to complete it while drilling.  Like Roger mentions in his video above  the wrists play a big part in it.  Try not to contort your wrist around your opponent's neck.  They need to be sharp to complete the choke.

Kurt Osiander move of the week - Choke from Guard

Armbar from Closed Gaurd
Video:  Closed Guard Submission Basic Armbar

Posture control is the key to being successful with this technique.  A common mistake with this and triangle is that you want to remain flat on your back as you turn.  Don't try to shrimp into the armbar, your legs need to keep them from withdrawing their arm.

Another important factor is learning to use a bite with the leg over their head.  If you ar a beginner avoid crossing your feet during the armbar as it could create some unnecissary space.  Also I'm and advocate of kicking up into the armpit to get their weight going forward making it easier to get round their head.

The easiest way to teach the armbar from Guard

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 2017 - Week #2 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Standing RNC Defense: Seio Nage, Farside Armbar From Side Control, Scissor Sweep

Standing RNC Seio Nage
Video:  How to Get Out of a Standing Rear Choke | Jiu Jitsu

A couple of important aspects to this technique. You need to keep your posture and avoid getting leaned back.  Don't let them connect their hands.  When you do the monkey grip on their choking arm hold it to your own body instead of putting a lot of effort trying to pull it down and fighting strength on strength. Finally drop your hips to load them up for the throw.

This week in BJJ episode 61 with Rickson Gracie
How to Escape a Standing Rear Choke w/ Bas Rutten

Farside Armbar From Side Control
Video: Rafael Mendes Far side Armbar from side control

The trigger for this technique is when you get your opponent's far arm on your shoulder isolating it.  Grabbing your own collar to lock it and pull them up on their side.  You can be a little mean here and dig your elbow into their ribs.

Something I had trouble with a while ago was pushing their head down to be able to step over.  I thought it was a dick move. But since I've been doing it, it makes a huge difference.  From here as you spin keep your hips low.  Place your foot under their ribs ending with your knees up.  Put an emphasis on tightening your knees together.  If they get their hands together bring your leg over their chest before you begin to break the grip.

Armbar from Side Control by Damian Maia

Scissor Sweep
Video: Kurt Osiander Move of the week - Scissor Sweep

This sweep is mostly a sweep of opportunity for me.  Usually if my opponent is defending something else and leaned to one side I can get some momentum and sweep them to the other side.

I like how both of the instructionals that I linked talk about the sweep like a Judo throw.  Loading them up on to your leg and creating some momentum is important.

Scissor Sweep for BJJ White Belts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 2017 - Week #1 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Basic Side Control Knee Escape, Paint Brush (Americana) from Side Control

O-Soto Gari
Video: Yamashita O Soto Gari Part 1

This is probably one of the most straight forward throws.  The problem that most people have with it is they focus more on the leg kicking part and not enough on the upper body.

Make sure you step very close to their base foot, just enough space for your leg to go through. Drive the bus pulling down on their arm and up on their collar to get them leaning on the leg you are about to kick out lean forward as your leg reaps through for the throw.

Basic Side Control Knee Escape
Video: Side Control Escape Recompose

Side control escapes are some of the most sought after techniques. A lot of posts on BJJ subreddit have the subject of "How do I get out of the bottom of side control?", "Stuck in side control, any tips?", "In the bottom of Side control, I guess this is my life now."  There's a reason that side control, mount, and back mount are dominant positions.  They're supposed to be difficult to escape from.  To add to that, I think Side Control is an easier position to learn and maintain than mount and back mount. 

A couple of things that I help people with on this technique: bridging, breath control, and more hips less arms. 
  • Bridging: Bridge into your opponent in a way that would make them fall over if they didn't adjust their base.  This is what is going to create the space to fit your knee in between you
  • Breath control: Avoid taking that huge inhale before you bridge.  It gives away your intention to the person on top.  I try to bridge during an exhale.
  • Hips: I keep my arms on my chest when I bridge.  If you try to push them away it actually doesn't help create the space you want.  If you use your arms too much you're more likely to get put into knee on belly.
Bonus videos
Side Control Escape #1 - SIT-UP with Marcelo Garcia
Side Control Escape #2 - ELBOW PUSH with Marcelo Garcia
Side Control Escape #3 - HIP ROLL with Marcelo Garcia

Paint Brush (Americana) from Side Control
Video: Americana Submission from Side Control - Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The only major difference between the way we do it and the video is that we keep the first arm under the triceps as we push their wrist to the ground so it's ready to grab the wrist as soon as it hits the ground.  I like to use my head to help keep the hand on the floor as I'm locking up the wrists. Use a throttle motion to get their pinky knuckle to the floor. Slide their elbow toward their ribs and you should only have to lift very slightly.

Monday, July 10, 2017

July 2017 - Week #23 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Head Lock Escape Over Head Roll, Straight Footlock and Defense
Head Lock Escape Over Head Roll, Straight Footlock and Defense

Head Lock Escape Over Head Roll
Video: How to Escape Kesa Gatame and the Headlock This week's escape is near the end around 4:30.

This is a good one but it must be done right to avoid back strain and make it easier in general.  You have to bridge and maintain your bridge throughout.  I know you want to come back down but don't!  Next focus on putting their own weight on their shoulders as you turn to get on top.

Straight Footlock and Defense
Video: || How To Finish a Straight Ankle Lock || Roli Delgado

I've been taught this technique a lot of different ways.  I'm by far most confident with the way that we teach it now which is very similar to the video above.  One thing that he mentions on the video that helps me a lot is collapsing the elbow.  I've helped a few people recently with tucking that elbow under before you're ready to finish the submission and it's made a huge difference.

I wasn't able to locate a defense video.  It has worked for me quite a few times during rolling. The biggest tip that I can give is to put your foot on the floor first before trying to hook their knee.  Otherwise it seems hard to catch it. 

Bonus Videos
Straight Ankle Lock by Dean Lister

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 2017 - Week #22 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Guillotine Defense from Guard, Ezekiel Choke from Mount & Half Guard

Guillotine Defense from Guard
Video: Valhalla vs Ryan Hall

This is the best video for this technique.  She shows it exactly how we do it and a surprise happens at the end of the video.  So be careful when you're on the bottom.

A huge tip that I like when I teach this is to try to push them to their back.  Don't wait for them to pull you down with them after you get your hand over their shoulder jump to your feet and take control over how fast they go to their back.  Also once they loosen up go back not up.  You can hurt your neck if you try to pull upward too hard with your head.

Ezekiel Choke from Mount & Half Guard
Video: Rafael Lovato Jr Teaches Ezekiel Choke From The Mount || Roger Gracie, Setting Up the Ezekiel Choke: Jiu-Jitsu Magazine, Issue #27.

I had a lot of success with this technique a while back but don't hit it as much in recent years.  It's something that I'll threaten now and again and it will setup other submissions in mount.  I probably hit this most often from the half guard pass now.  People in general in our school are getting better at defending their neck I think.   

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 2017 - Week #21 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Basic Open Guard Position, Sweeps, and Submissions (Collar Sleeve Guard)
Basic Open Guard Maintaining Position
Basic Open Guard Maintaining Position

Basic Open Guard Maintaining Position
This is an intro to open guard.  One of the big lessons emphasized this week is using push/pull to control your opponent and maintain your position.  I'm pulling in on his sleeve and collar and pushing on his hip and bicep.  When my opponent moves I reset my position by lifting my hips using my grips and foot position to center back up.  I start to get into trouble if the top person eliminates my controls by pinning a leg or removing a grip.

Here are a few other pointers:
  • Remain on your side to keep your foot on their bicep mobile and active.  
  • Gripping the leg of the foot on your hip and smashing it to the mat is probably the best way for the top person to initiate a pass.  Strip this grip as quickly and often as you need to.
  • Play around with the push/pull.  Always be trying to affect their balance
  • Keep your hips centered on them
  • Relax, you don't need to have death grips and try to keep your opponent in place.  Once you understand the push/pull this becomes easier.
Example Videos:

Basic Open Guard Collar and Sleeve Set up BJJ Guard
Collar and sleeve triangle | How to BJJ Techniques 
Rafael Mendes | Collar & Sleeve Guard Study | Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 2017 - Week #20 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Basic Triangle Setup

Koshi Guruma
Video: Judo - Koshi-guruma

This has been covered in previous weeks.  Personally I've been focusing on the kazushi for the forward throws and feel like I've come a long way in the last year since Bob has been with us.

Basic Triangle Setup
Video: Keys to an effective triangle part 1. & Keys to an effective triangle part 2.

The only major difference between the videos above and what we do is instead of getting the deep overhook we'll grab behind the collar on the neck and bring our foot up to their hip to get a similar effect.  Then when punching the wrist to the chest, getting our hips way up high is important.  Once you lock up the ankles you can't release them without having a grip on the ankle over their neck.  Check out the bonus videos below for some other triangle ideas.

Bonus Videos:
52 Triangle Choke Set Ups In Just 8 Minutes - Jason Scully BJJ Grappling
No Gi Triangle Choke From Closed Guard
JJM 22 Shawn Williams - Triangle Choke From Williams Guard.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 2017 - Week #19 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Headlock Escape to Back Mount, Kneeling Guard Break, Knee Slide Pass

Headlock Escape to Back Mount
Video: Escape from Hon-Kesa-Gatame

This is probably the one that I get the most often or feel is straight forward.  Throwing the hook in seems to be the easiest thing to do.  Different than the video we don't pull them over the top of us but instead bridge them forward and base our hand out to free our head.  Then harness grip and bring our knee up by their shoulder to roll to the other side to secure the bottom hook (the most important hook).

Kneeling Guard Break

We did kneeling guard break recently in Week# 17.  Here are some other types of guard break videos that I like:
Ostap Closed Guard Breaking Tips
Oli Geddes: Sao Paulo Guard Pass

Knee Slide Pass
Video: Knee Through Pass vs Closed Guard

I searched a lot of knee (cut/slice/slide) videos and I couldn't find one similar to the way we do it.  Regardless whether we stand or kneel to break the most important thing after that is to close off the side of your body your knee slide knee is on.  You don't have to get an underhook but you do have to prevent the bottom guy from getting one.  In the gi I prefer to grab the lapel and make what I call a bully grip where you twist your hand and bring your elbow against your hip/ribs as you point your knee perpendicular to your opponent's body.  Don't forget to collect up the sleeve or wrist to finish the pass.

BJJ Scout: Leandro Lo Knee Slide Study Part 1 - Active Posting
BJJ Scout: Leandro Lo Knee Slide Study Part 2 - the Face Crank

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June 2017 - Week #18 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Seoi Nage, Double Ankle Grab Sweep, Butterfly Hook Sweep, Butterfly Guard Pass

Seoi Nage
Video: In-depth analysis of Ippon Seoi nage by Matt D'Aquino of Beyond Grappling

A couple of pointers when executing this throw.  Don't put their armpit over your shoulder, it should go closer to the crook of your elbow.  Judo Bob says that this throw is more like a hand technique rather than a hip throw.  After working with Bob on this and other throws I'm only scratching the surface with understanding it.

The drop seoi nage is the throw that I've had the most success with.  The morote has also been coming together for me.

This is the Morote Seoi Nage that I've been working on lately: Moro-Te-Seoi-Nage-Omote-Eingang (Tokio Hirano-Lehrgang 1984 in Papendaal, Holland)

Double Ankle Grab Sweep
Video: Double Ankle Grab Sweep-BJJ Blue Belt Requirements Technique #18

Not something I hit on a regular basis, I think it's because I'll transition to an open guard before someone is able to stand and break it.  But I've seen quite a few people pull it off and I've had it done to me before.  I think the hard part is maintaining the momentum and getting up and keeping the opponent's leg pinned in the process.  You have to beat the opponent popping up, grab their collar and widen your legs before they can get back to their knees.

Butterfly Hook Sweep
Video: The Most Important Butterfly Guard Sweep...

This is one of Greg's favorite techniques and I would say at first glance it's not what you think it is.  Everyone sees the end result of the leg kicking the other guys thigh over to complete the sweep, but really the sweep is way more about the upper body and controlling posture.  2 things I start with for the basic sweep.  A high underhook and I hang off of their other arm, this should change the angle of their shoulders.  Then you need to get out of your own way by getting your shin under your other leg, so you can fall to the side (not back).  The kick should be the last thing and just a helper.

Bonus videos:
BJJ Scout: Adam WardziƄski Butterfly Guard Study Part 1 
I've already seen some success with the techniques in this video because I play butterfly half often when I'm forced to.  The idea of switching and sweeping to the other side was new to me and I've really liked playing with it.

Andre Galvao, Butterfly Guard Sweep: Jiu-Jitsu Magazine #23
I haven't got to play with this one yet but I like the idea of where he puts the hand.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30th 2017 - Week #17 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Against Wall Defense, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass

Standing Guillotine Against Wall Defense
Video: Standing Guillotine Choke Defense With 2 Takedowns

Couldn't find a good video of how we teach this.  A couple of points that make this technique easier.
  •   Good posture: Keep your head up at all times. Bring your hips under your shoulders and then scrape them up along the wall.  If you don't have good posture all the pressure will be put on your neck
  • Maintain posture: Once you are standing straight up and start to reach over their back, you cannot let your posture falter and let them take back control. Keep standing straight as you put them in the neck crank.

Kneeling Guard Break
Video: Beginner BJJ Fundamentals - Opening Closed Guard from Knees Concepts - Jason Scully

The kneeling break is not as preferable to the standing. It can be difficult to keep the hips in place on a decent guard player.  The basic premise is that we want to make so much space by turning our body that the ankles can't hold the guard.  Keep the hips down, the knee on one sit bone and the other leg will make a right angle.  Lower yourself and twist to create the space.

Double Under Pass
Video: Double Under Guard Pass

There seem to be some arguments about the best way to do this technique.  We have been pulling the opponent onto our thighs before stacking.  The other method is to move forward standing into the stack.  Personally I've had more success with the former, but that is only because I've used it more.  Alternatively I feel good about my defense for this technique with either widening my legs or transitioning to the elbow escape during the pass.

Bonus Video: Ryan Hall Passing the Guard - Fundamentals, Grip Fighting, Passing Sequences & Specialty Situations
Ryan Hall demonstrates the double unders a little differently.  Instead of grabbing on the sides he grabs under the belt in the middle of the back.  He'll also do a sitout to pass. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 2017 - Week #16 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Side Control: Tripod Escape, Kimura

Koshi Guruma
Video: Judo - Koshi-guruma

Not much to say about this technique that I haven't said about the other forward throws.  This one in particular you want to make sure that you don't push their hips back when you wrap your arm around your neck. 

Tripod Escape from Side Control
Video: Bridge Escape vs Side Control, Single Leg vs Side Control It's MG so I had to include it, it's not exactly like we do it but close enough.

The detail that has helped me the most with this technique was to do a little front shrimp before going to the tripod.  Otherwise my head was always getting stuck by their knee.  So get to the underhook on the far side then bump yourself down a bit.  Also tripods are a good exercise that you can practice on your own.  Make sure the correct leg is going under the other leg for stability.

Kimura from Side Control
Video: Increase your success with Kimura from side control Again not the same as we do it but some good details in there

This has been a good setup for me lately.  I think that a lot of people feel safe with their hand on the shoulder in the bottom of side control.  That can be used to the top person's advantage to kind of trap there, move north/south and then isolate the arm to get the kimura grip.  From here the most important part is to keep their upper body from moving as you pry their arm forward and up and then behind their back. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 20th 2017 - Purple Promotion and Tinguinha Seminar

Had a busy weekend. Greg's coach, Tinguinha was in town for our belt promotion ceremony.  He taught a no gi class Friday night, a kids seminar Saturday morning, followed by the promotion and adult seminar.

No Gi

No Gi was packed with somewhere around 38 people.  With the limited space I was still able to get in a good workout. I partnered with Justin for a slick pummeling to armdrag series.  It included going to the  back and finishing with a takedown.  We also did some rolling back attacks from the turtle

We split up into 2 groups for positional rolling from turtle.  Then finished with 2 free rolls with Derek and Conan.

Kids Seminar

The kids seminar introduced a few techniques that they hadn't done before and a fun game using the belt.  They did kind of a butterfly guard pull right into the sweep takedown, then armbar from mount transitioning from americana, and some basic open guard to triangle.

The kids all kept up well and had some fun in the process.  I was impressed with my son, Jace, as he was partnered up with a boy from the younger class. He helped him with the techniques that he could and showed him how to tap.

The kids got promoted after this with most of them receiving new belts.  My sons are now grey belts with black stripes with yellow coming next.


For some reason this was the most nervous I've been in a long time. Something about getting the recognition and being the center of attention.  It really wasn't anything to be concerned about. My name was called, I went up to the front took my ratty blue belt off. Greg put the new stiff purple one on and shook my hand and hugged.  I was choked up a bit but didn't have to talk so it wouldn't have shown. Then I hugged Conan and shook hands with Tinguinha.

There was applause, a lot of congratulations, many telling me that it was "well deserved" and "about time."  I also witnessed some training partners receive their blue belts (Ben, Derek, Josh, and Tyler)  and several get enough stripes to hopefully receive their blue next time.  I'd like to think I've helped and mentor many of them along the way.

Adult Seminar

We covered quite a few sets of techniques. Tinguinha stated at the beginning of the seminar that with the distribution of many different belt levels this time he wanted to focus on some transitions between techniques.

I had a good time working with Jerad. We were able to figure most of it out without issue. By the end my knees were probably the most fatigued. I would have liked to have rolled but understood why we didn't.

Here is the list of Techniques:

  1. Half Guard Butterfly 
    1. Hook Sweep
    2. Underhook and Knee Grab takedown
  2. Turtle 
    1. Arm Trap and Roll
    2. Grab knee headstand kick hips over to the other side
    3. Tripod to free head in kimura or attack turtle
  3. Omoplata 
    1. Ankle and Hip Control to get them flat
    2. An armbar counter when they try to get away
  4. Spider Guard 
    1. Kite Sweep
    2. Opponent recovers from sweep back up to omoplata
    3. Combat Base hook shin sweep
    4. Opponent recovers from sweep back up to Triangle


I feel like purple was very difficult for me to attain. I remember about 2 years ago not being able to fathom how I could get any better than I was.  I thought maybe my mind wasn't built for Jiu-Jitsu.  There were also quite a few times where I felt lost and didn't know what to do to get better.

I struggled with getting out of my comfort zone.  I worked on getting out of my head as much and to be more assertive and believe that my techniques would work when tested.  I had a problem with trying to make every technique be perfect and would often fall apart when something failed. I believe I developed a decent game along the way and enjoy being the guy in our gym known for deep half, cross guard, north/south choke, over/under pass and hopefully crucifix soon.

My confidence in Jiu-Jitsu is at an all time high.  I can't​ imagine how badly I would destroy my 4 years ago fresh blue belt self.  The work I've put in has paid off. That said, I'm exited to see what I'll be like when I'm ready for brown.  I've still got quite a few deficiencies, takedowns and leg locks being major ones.

I'm on a good path now.  I've got techniques and positions that I'm working to master  I still have several mentors in the gym to keep me humbled and give me guidance.  I've got a larger target on my back now so can't wait to break my belt in next week at open mat. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 2017 - Week #15 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg, Mount Americana, Side Control Bread Cutter

Double Leg
Video: Disable Grips for Double Leg Takedown in BJJ
An interesting gi version of the double leg that I might try sometime.  I like ChewJitsu as well.
Video: Fake Guard Pull To Double Leg - ZombieProofBJJ (Gi)
I've seen this type of fake guard pull to double leg or ankle pick and like the idea of it.

I couldn't find a video that teaches the grip breaks for the gi like we do.  Basically with standard judo grips we get rid of the one on our chest so they can't stiff arm it.  Go 2 on 1 with grabbing the sleeve and grab the meaty part of their thumb.  Now the hard part, the front leg needs to take a little step so the knee can penetrate the line between their heels.  If you keep a hold of their sleeve you can pull them over the top of you a bit.  From here turn the corner 90 degrees so your hips and feet turn.  One tip that Adam gave me from here is to look behind their back at this point.

Mount Americana
Video: How to Do an Americana from Mount | MMA Submissions
Usually avoid Howcast but this looks the closest to how we do it.

I huge part of this technique that took a while to sink in for me is that you want to have straight arms and push down into their shoulder.  It's not correct to try to push forward as their shoulder can make some good resistance.  Put both hands on their forearm, straighten your arms, then bring your shoulders up over your hands and push straight down.  Now this can be a little painful for the person on the bottom so once you understand it you don't have to drill it hard all of the time but it is necessary to get it against someone resisting.

Once you get their wrist flat on the mat, I like to use my head on the back of my wrist to keep it pinned, while I'm getting my other hand under their elbow or bicep.  Often this technique results in an armbar or back take when the bottom person tries to defend by turning, lifting their shoulder and getting their other arm involved.  Probably the person that gets me with this technique the most is Conan, but usually from side control.

Side Control Bread Cutter
Video: Rickson Choke
There are some details that are different here, we start from side control and get on our side more, but most of this video is the same as how we do it.

This is probably my first go to submission in the gi if I end up in standard side control.  To me it's important to get the collar and not just settle for some gi material on the shoulder.  If you can't reach, it's okay to slide your shoulder down on their ribs to get a better path to the collar.  The choking grip placement is also very important.  Don't go too deep or too shallow.  I put my thumb a little higher than the collar bone.

A good tip that Mike gave today is to drop your hips in the end especially if they are working the near arm in the way for space. 

Bonus Videos:

BJJ Paper Cutter Choke from Crossbody
This is a cool alternate setup that I haven't played around with too much but I think is pretty cool.

Kurt Osiander's Move of the Week - Choke from Side Control
Another good video with some side control attacks including the bread cutter from Osiander

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 9th 2017 - Week #14 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Standing Headlock Escape to Hammerlock, Mount: Armbar, Elbow Escape

Standing Headlock Escape to Hammerlock
Video: Standing Headlock Defense

One of our standard headlock escapes.  A lot of the self defense techniques that we do are to prepare for common attacks from an untrained attacker.  In Jiu-Jitsu we wouldn't normally grab the headlock because it's not an effective or efficient attack.

Like with many self defense techniques we avoid getting punched first. Stiff arm the bicep and hand it to the other hand behind the back.  Now the important thing is to pin their hand to your chest as you make the stepping movement to the back.

Bonus Video: Rickson and Royler BJJ demonstration

Armbar from Mount
Video: Roger Gracie, Armbar From Cross Collar Setup

There are many setups for this technique the main goal is to get their elbow across and get your hips around behind their shoulder.

The part of this technique that was most difficult for me to get over was making too much space.  Something to avoid is laying down into the armbar. It generates too much momentum for the person on the bottom to come up and stack.  What helped me was to sit on their shoulder as I maneuver to s-mount.

Breaking hands apart from there is a whole different subject.  I like to make an RNC grip on their wrist as my first option, but there are also a few others I have success with.

Bonus Video: Kurt Osiander - Ralph Gracie Black Belt - Breaking an Armbar Defense Variation

Elbow Escape from Mount
Video: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - Elbow Escape by Emily Kwok

I usually don't get this escape on my first try but it comes after a failed upa and if that fails I go to the foot scrape trap.

The most deceptive part of this technique for me was the elbow stays in place and I hip escape away from it.  Thinking of it as the center of the technique was key.  You also need some confidence in your hip escape, you're trying to straighten one of their legs.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 1st 2017 - Week #13 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Back Mount: Wing Choke, Bow and Arrow Choke

Video: Judo basics: O goshi, judo takedowns

Something that I've been working on with Bob a lot is to keep my posture and back straight during the beginning of throws of this type.  I would generally tend to lean over too soon and it would make the throw so much more difficult.  When I've done it right it feels so easy to throw someone.  So execute your kazushi and get them coming up bend your knees but keep your back posture straight as you get under them. 

Wing Choke
Video: Rear Mount Collar Chokes - Richmond BJJ Academy - February 2012 Technique of the Month

Greg has evolved this technique over time.  Where we used to kind of pull on the bicep, he now moves the trapping hand down closer to the wrist where the opponent is weaker to resist the movement behind their head.  I still don't have it down completely from the back but I'm more likely to get this from a technical mount.

When I get to the position of having my hand behind the opponent's neck and the collar grip, I work to snake my hand further around their neck.  Pulling on the collar in one direction and pushing their neck forward from the back.

Bow and Arrow Choke
Video: Ryan Hall Back Attacks - Finishes

This is one of the most reliable submissions for all skill levels.  A couple of things that are important while executing it:
  • Grip can be a little lower at like the collar bone
  • Keep your elbow pressing down and behind their shoulder
  • Don't let them lay on your leg
  • Be prepared to reset and sit to the choke if you get out of position
  • Use your free leg to smash or pry off their defending arm
  • I like to start with a pant leg grip and then switch to under the leg
Defending the bow and arrow:
  • Monkey grip on their wrist with one hand and other hand grabs sleeve by elbow
  • Try to force your head into their armpit
  • Use your legs to bridge your hips up over their leg and pin it to the floor
  • Work your head under their armpit and try to get your shoulders to the floor.
This escape has worked for me sometimes, but you're still behind the ball if they've started the Bow and Arrow process.  Don't let them get the collar grip if you can help it.  Don't get put into back mount for that matter.  In fact you put them in back mount, that will show them.

Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24 2017 - Week #12 Technique Companion

Theme and Techniques: Leg Over Headlock Escape, Turtle Turnover to Side Control & Back Mount

Headlock Escape
Video: Escape from Hon-Kesa-Gatame

The video linked has quite a few of the escapes we use. The particular one for this week starts around 1:40.  He doesn't finish it with an armbar like we do and he grabs the collar instead of straightening his arm.  Regardless I like the video and it has some good stuff.

2 things that kind of go together that seem to help people out with this particular technique. 1. Walk your hips out to get a better angle for your leg to get around their head.  2. Keep your other leg straight and swing it out of their way so it doesn't get trapped under their body.  For the armbar portion, don't use your neck to pull out of the headlock if it's still there, use posture.  Make no space as you cross face them and bring your knee across their back to secure the armlock.  They shouldn't get a chance to put their hands together to prevent the armbar.

Turtle to Side Control
Video: Kurt Osiander's Move of the Week - Attacking the Turtle

Another week where I couldn't find videos that were close to what we do.  This is the closest that I could find and it's Osiander so that's a plus.  One thing that he does that I like to do is get the near side grip and jump to the other side to help pull them over.

One thing that's very important that people miss practicing this technique the first few times is that the you need to pull the lapel deep into their hip and lock your elbow on their hip.  If you just go around their waist, you'll have a harder time rolling them over. 

Turtle to Back Mount
Video: Garry Tonon • Taking the Back from Turtle Position at Dante Rivera Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Again I couldn't find a good video for this, I included a video from Tonon that I'm interested in trying out.  I like the walking around that he does rather than just jumping over like I've seen and practiced in the past.

As an extension of the previous technique when someone tries to not be put into side control and struggles to get back to their knees they leave some space open for us to slide under them.  Maintain your gi grips on the lapel and collar as you do this.  As soon as you can get your knee pointed up and put the bottom hook in, then secure the harness grip or begin to choke.

Pro tip: The bottom hook is usually the most important when taking the back.  The person escaping wants to get their back and shoulders on the mat and removing that hook and pinning your leg makes that all the more possible.  If you lose the bottom hook either switch to the other side or keep your harness grip and reset your back mount.

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17th 2017 - Week #11 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Half Guard Knee Slide Pass, Turtle Granby Roll

O Soto Gari
Video: Yamashita O Soto Gari Part 1

This is probably one of the most straight forward throws.  The problem that most people have with it is they focus more on the leg kicking part and not enough on the upper body.

Make sure you step very close to their base foot, just enough space for your leg to go through. Drive the bus pulling down on their arm and up on their collar to get them leaning on the leg you are about to kick out lean forward as your leg reaps through for the throw.

Half Guard Knee Slide Pass

Video isn't exactly how we do it.  Greg would like us to actually step on the top of their thigh if you could and also try to put your head on the other side away from the underhook as soon as you can.  It's important that you keep their leg pinned before the knee slide.  

Bonus video that I found interesting: Half Guard Pass Reverse Knee Cut

Turtle Granby Roll
Video: Couldn't find one

I have been told I'm pretty good at this technique.  It happened in stages. First I had a hard time knowing which way to turn my head depending on which side my opponent was on.  Next I focused a lot on plugging up holes in my turtle to avoid grips.  Another factor is learning how to roll under yourself instead of forward.

Finally a big step in learning the technique​ was having confidence in it.  I witnessed Greg roll through my grips several times until I believed that I could do it too.  Now my goal when I do it is to clear there grips and go.

I couldn't find a good video of the granby the way we do it, so as a bonus here are some other escape from turtle videos that I found interesting while searching:
Kurt Osiander's Move of the Week - Turtle Technique
How to Escape the Turtle and Get Safely Back to Guard

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 12th 2017 - Week #10 Technique Companion

I'm going to try this out as a weekly thing.  I'll try to do it sooner in the week going forward.  I'll provide tips and include videos that I find interesting concerning the techniques of the week for the beginner/all levels curriculum.  Let me know if you have suggestions on how to make it better.

Theme & Techniques: Week #10 Standing Guillotine Defense, Half Guard: Back Take, Recover Full Guard

Standing Guillotine
Similar Video I could find: How to get out of a Standing Guillotine

As with any choke, protect your neck first. Monkey paw their wrist and hold it to your chest. Don't try to pull it down.  Next you are reaching over the opponent's shoulder to control their posture and keep them from leaning back on you.  Pull their shoulder down. For the takedown just make their knee bend, you don't have to trip them.

For the cross face get a deep grip and pull them into the bicep. Here you can put enough pressure until they release or attempt the Von Flue choke.

Von Flu Choke

Half Guard Back Take
Similar Video I could find: Half Guard Underhook Escape

Could probably spend a class just on ways to get the underhook. Personally I prefer to work with a knee shield to kick through and lead the way.  One concept that is important is to fight for underhooks with your elbow and not with your hand.  Reaching with your hand is a good way to get kimura'd.  You want a deep underhook, the closer to your shoulder the better.

Another part of half guard is using your legs in conjunction with your upper body.  If you can get their body moving upward it can make your underhook that much deeper and make them base on their hands.

Once you start to get the back basing on your knee is important.  Give yourself enough stability so you can easily make your harness grip.  Try not to climb over their back here but bring them down and hip escape until you can get both hooks in.

Pro-tip: Attack the choke in transition rather than waiting until the back is secure.

Half Guard Recover Full Guard
Similar Video I could find: BJJ Half Guard 101 - How to Recover Closed Guard

This motion is commonly used during escapes. Similar to elbow escape from mount and the basic knee across escape from side control.  It's all about getting your hips from one side to the other.  Get your knee up in their pocket as soon as you can.

This is often a good thing to do when they widen their base to prevent a sweep.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April 8th 2017 - Open Mat & Blog Change

I'm thinking about tapering off on the blog a bit. Maybe one or 2 posts a week. It's become a little monotonous and I'm not sure if it's helpful to others. I kind of just want to be free of it.

I'm thinking of doing a weekly recap and give pointers about the techniques of the coming week. I'm open to suggestions.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Andy, Patty, Derek, Jerad, Josh J, Conan, Justin

Had some tough rolls today and felt pretty worn down.  The humidity was also killer.  I was a little disconcerted because I didn't do as well as I thought I would.

I'm preparing for the master world's in Vegas which will be the most significant BJJ tournament or event I've participated in.  I'm trying to come up with a game plan to get ready.

I need to up my aggression and cardio.  I need to be focused during classes where I'm not as challenged.  I can't have lazy rolls.  I need to set aside my ego and just roll.

Derek and I drilled our respective techniques, didn't work on the foot sweep though.  I had some trouble with the z-guard and will be watching the DVD again soon.  He also helped me by giving a little resistance on the crucifix.

Friday, April 7, 2017

April 7th 2017 - MMA

Theme & Techniques: Controlling the Center of the Ring
Partner: Fuji

We did a couple of drills with trying to step on our partner's foot kind of like thumb war. Pretty fun.  This was Fuji's first session and it was nice partnering up with him again.

Then Nick got out the small cones to represent the center of the ring for each group.  We then worked on maintaining the center or attempting to take the center. He also emphasized the FU Grip as a safe spot to control.

Sparring: Controlling Center Games, Stand-up Sparring
Sparred With: Will, Mike, Jerad, Fuji, Nick, Henry

We did some up/down/out style sparring trying to take the center.  Then we padded up and it got more serious. I think I need to use more control on my front and side kicks as I'm still a bit rusty.

We worked a takedown by sliding in behind their leg. Didn't feel that good with it.  We sparred a few rounds and I was exhausted.  I did some good things and made some mistakes. I'm getting better at keeping my hands up but I have noticed that I drop my hands when I attack.

April 7th 2017 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Week# 9 Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break, Torreando Pass
Partner: Quinn

Had a good group this morning and Conan had us do a couple of cool things for class today.  We walked down the floor to generate the kazushi to setup the throw.  We played with the torreando and responding to someone trying to prevent the pass a little bit.  We also did the stiff arm on the sleeve to regain guard.  This may have been an eye opener for some of the guys.

Rolling: Closed Guard, Open Guard, Free Rolling
Rolled With: Quinn, Jesus, Jeff

Had good rolls with everyone.  I think Quinn felt a little dejected after our roll but I tried to assure him that I have years of training on him.  We talked a bit about having confidence in your frame and when it's best or okay to stand especially if they're hand is occupied.  

Open guard was fun with Jesus, he attempted to grab my ankles a few times to flip me to my back but wasn't getting off to the side to pass quick enough.  I used the single half guard a few times to help sweep.

As an experiment I decided to try to get sweeps as quickly as I could on Jeff and go a little competition intensity from the bottom.  I wasn't trying to force anything but move quickly and directly.  I felt pretty good about it and got a few butterfly sweeps out of it. 

Office Hours Partner: Jeff, Conan

Craig asked me to help Jeff with smash pass so I showed him a few setups and some of the things that I think are important for the technique.  First being keeping the hips down.  It seems pretty common that people want to raise their hips to get over the legs but it just gives the bottom person space to get some leverage back.  We covered windshield wiping the legs after that.

Had 2 great rolls with Conan.  At the end he made the comment "sometimes you're the hammer and sometimes you're the nail."  Today I felt like the hammer while most other days he does.  The main takeaway was that I felt pretty strong attacking his turtle setting up the crucifix or taking the back.  I'm really glad I decided to focus on that recently.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6th 2017 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Week# 9 Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break, Torreando Pass
Partner: Jordan

I enjoy working with someone more advanced once in a while.  Jordan and I got to play around with troubleshooting the pass and follow ups. I also showed him the pistol grip trick Jerad taught yesterday. Plus half of it we discussed his trip to Europe.

Rolling: Closed Guard KOTM
Rolled With: Jordan, Jeff, Jesus, Daniel

I challenged myself during rolling by attempting the z-guard when I could.  The person that gave me the most trouble with it was Jeff.  I just couldn't get around to hand off the lapel for the single leg half guard.  I had a little tunnel vision in only wanting one thing and I eventually abandoned it when Greg said we had a minute left.  I'll have to think about the setup more.

Office Hours Partner: Jordan

Jordan let me drill the foot sweep a few times after class. I'm feeling better about it but I'm not ready for live yet.  No one else wanted to stay and roll.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 5th 2017 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Week# 9 Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break, Torreando Pass
Partner: Tom (New), Jess

Glad to have a few weeks in a row with more than 2 people in class.  I asked Dave to work with me a bit on the Judo sweep and he seemed to enjoy it as well.

Jerad made a cool realization today with something that he uses. While doing the standing guard break he would start with a pistol grip and then hand it off to the other hand with an umbrella grip. It makes a whole lot of sense.

Some tips for this weeks techniques:
  • Koshi Guruma: Don't grab their shoulder and don't push their hips back when you put your arm around their neck
  • Standing Guard Break: I would suggest that everyone do some reps with this with a partner where they do 20 in row.  One of the best exercises that we've done in the competition practices.  You can also add a situp for the bottom person.
  • Torreando: I prefer doing this pass more like an x-pass.  I won't push both legs equally back but the closer one back and the far one out.

Rolling: Closed Guard
Rolled With: Jess, John, Jerad

Jess's open guard is getting quite good and I think I need to take it more seriously.  He was able to sweep me today with a spider guard sweep. Then on my turn I got him with a waiter.

John went to a long step pass from the start and almost completed the pass. We did some back and forth with half and deep half.  I don't remember what happened when I was on top.

Jerad and I had quite the battle. When I was on bottom I recovered a few times from almost getting passed.  My collar grip saved me with some loop choke attempts.  When I was on top I did the standing guard break and as I was trying to pass I got pulled to half then he got 2 on 1 and started to arm drag. I put pressure on his opposite shoulder to prevent back mount but he used it to sweep.

Office Hours Partner: Jess

Jess let me drill some crucifix and I think I figured something out with the armbar from the top.  I could get a lot more leverage if I kept my knees a little closer and brought my hips down.  We rolled after that and I had a tough time with his open guard but eventually passed. I have to work on my spider defense.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 4th 2017 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Passing Butterfly: Guillotine Step Around, Knee Slide
Partner: Ben

Great class today.  Not that I need to say it because I rarely have a bad class at Jiu-Jitsu.  Although as many know I dislike classes based around kesa gatame. 

The first pass that we did often ended up in north/south choke for me, which I enjoy.  Greg did point out that I wasn't controlling the chin as much as he wanted me to.  I really enjoy the knee slide pass and was able to give Ben a few pointers.  I think everyone's first inclination it to smash the other person's leg down during the pass.  It's not really necessary, you just need to get your knee to the ground and turn your hips through.  I found myself having my head up more than I should of too often and need to keep an eye on that. 

I found a video instructional that is very similar to what we practiced today.

Rolling: Butterfly Partner and Up/Down/Out
Rolled With: Bob, Ben, Sam, Richard, Jess

I hit quite a few guillotines today and it mostly had to do with the other person's posture and hand fighting.  Keep your head up in butterfly, both top and bottom.  Or think of it like keeping your head above your hips in alignment.  I also used the kimura a couple of times, once to pass with the front roll sort of motion and once for the spin around back take. 

Office Hours Partner: Ben, Jess

Gave Ben some tips on deep half with the shin sweep and preventing kimuras.  Shin sweep has become one of my gotos although I haven't drilled it too much.  Had a few good rolls with Jess and after catching some guillotines we discussed the grip that I was using.  He thought my one arm guillotine grip felt strong so I tried my best to explain the concept of pulling into your body. 

With many grips like defending the harness in back mount or defending a guillotine I'm not trying to use muscle to pull their arm away, rather I'm pushing their wrist into my body.  This goes for sleeve grips as well.  Find a way to use your body to support your grip or your frame.  If I'm on the bottom of side control against someone stronger I try to bring my elbows into my body.  When someone tries to isolate my arm I move in a way that they push against my body instead of just my arm muscles.  Of course I don't have it all figured out because I still get caught, I get my arm isolated, I lose guillotines, but I feel like I'm figuring it out.