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.