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Teaching #885
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/07/2019

Short Version:
  • Wrap one leg behind theirs, putting your shin behind the knee of your outside leg
  • Use that 'kickstand' to get on your side, blocking their crossface with either a 'paw' or facepalm
  • Drive your elbow to their armpit, rotating your arm around their back
  • Fire that arm into their armpit and kick to scoot down, shucking their arm
  • Come up on your elbow and knee, bring your leg over, then secure the back with a seatbelt grip

Full Version: In half guard, your first concern is to stop them flattening you out and starting their pass. They are generally going to want to establish an underhook on their trapped leg side, using the other arm to control under your head. In many ways, it is a similar position to standard side control. That will enable them to crush you to the mat, then exert lots of shoulder pressure to kill your mobility. Many of the same attacks from side control can also be viable from here, like an americana.



Naturally, you don't want them to reach that dominant position. Your goal is to get up on your side, with your own underhook around their back, on your trapped leg side. That is one of the main fights you'll have in half guard, so it is essential that you get used to working for that underhook.

If you can get the underhook, that accomplishes two things. First, it prevents them crushing their chest into yours, which would help them flatten you out. Second, it means you can press into their armpit to help disrupt their base, as well as help you get up onto your side. You can use your knee knocking into their bum at the same time to help with this too, as that should bump them forward.



For your leg positioning, the standard half guard is to have the inside leg wrapped around with your foot on the outside. Your other leg triangles over your ankle. This provides you with what SBG refer to as a 'kickstand': that outside leg is useful for bridging and general leverage. It's harder for them to flatten you out if you can resist with that kickstand structure.

After you've controlled a leg, got the underhook and onto your side, you want to block their arms. Almost a decade ago, Indrek Reiland put together an awesome video (made even more awesome by being free) about the fundamentals of half guard. The main principle I use from Reiland is what he calls the 'paw'.

By that, he means hooking your hand around their bicep, just above the elbow. You aren't gripping with your thumb: this is just a block, to prevent them getting a cross-face. Reiland emphasises that preventing that cross-face is the main principle. Therefore, if you can feel they are about to remove your paw by swimming their arm around, bring your underhooking hand through to replace your first paw with a second: this is what Reiland calls the 'double-paw' (as he says in the video, it's an approach he learned from SBG black belt John Frankl).

Similarly, if they manage to underhook your underhook, bring that arm over for a double-paw (this is also applicable from the start, if you're framing against their neck), then work to recover your underhook. Keep in mind with the double-paw that you need to make sure you don't leave space under your elbow. Otherwise, as Reiland demonstrates, they can they go for a brabo choke. Get the elbow of your top double-pawing arm to their nearest armpit, as that makes it easier to circle your arm around to their back.



To take the back, fire your underhooking arm up into their armpit. You're trying to knock them forwards, while simultaneously scooting your body down towards their legs. At that point, pull your 'paw' arm back, so that you can base on that elbow, swiftly pushing up onto the hand. That should give you the balance to reach around to their lat with what was your underhooking arm. For further control, swing your leg over their back too. Establish a hook by digging your heel inside their knee. Finally, get a seatbelt grip (one arm under their armpit, the other over their shoulder, locking your hands together) and roll towards your non-hooking foot for standard back control.

To help with the back take, it is a good idea to tweak out their leg before you swivel up. Your outside leg steps over and drags their leg out. This disrupts their base, making it much easier to go to their back. It can also lead to the easier to control back position where you have brought them down to the mat, rather than leaping onto their turtle (which feels inherently less stable).
______________________
Teaching Notes: Dog fight switch and then drag their leg back, in order to make it easy to to the mat and bring them into a more standard back positions? That leg tweak from Saulo seems very useful, I'll start sticking with that version from now on, I think.

©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Class #1165
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 16/07/2019

Continuing with those dogfight follow-ups, as I'm teaching them on Wednesday. The focus is the drive down and roll under sweep, I also mentioned that third option Lucas Leite shows on his video, when they post. Need to rewatch that vid though, not sure I did it right.



But yeah, more than enough material for Wednesday, especially as there are usually quite a few beginners. I had some great rolls with Paulina today too, useful to practice open guard some more. I was particularly finding it handy to move into the unstoppable sweep when she was trying to drive her knee through on top (made sure to show her what I did, and as she's an awesome student she immediately adjusted meaning I wasn't getting that later on :D), along with swivelling to dogfight and sweep when I was getting squished on the bottom during knee cuts.

©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Teaching #888
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 14/07/2019

Short Version:
  • Get underhook, scooting down towards their legs
  • Reach under their non-trapped leg, grab their toes
  • Bring your other arm around their bum, transfer grip
  • Using your outside leg, drag their leg out
  • Turn and post on your elbow, drive, still holding toes, then move to side control



Full Version: I call this one the toe grab sweep, like Indrek Reiland does in his classic 'Functional Half Guard' video. Eddie Bravo's name for it - 'old school' - is common too, but his version is slightly less effective in my opinion, though it is similar. I prefer the way Jason Scully teaches it, over on the Grapplers Guide. I've also been taught it in the past, back when I was training at RGA High Wycombe with Kev.

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:11am PST



So, the Scully version begins from the basic half guard position I taught earlier, where you're on your side using the kickstand leg positioning, with an underhook. Use your underhook to bump yourself down closer to their legs, curling your head into towards their far knee. You want to get your underhook arm shoulder to their hipbone on that side, also getting your head to their same side hipbone.

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Jan 21, 2018 at 12:19am PST



With your non-underhooking arm, reach for their far toes. Grab them and then shove their heel into their thigh. Make sure you are grabbing their toes: if you grip their ankle or higher, they will find it easier to kick their leg back and scupper your sweep. Bring your underhook arm down past their bum, then switch the toe grab grip from your non-underhook hand to your underhook hand.

Bring your non-underhook elbow and then hand out for base, also turning to slide out your inside leg. Your outside leg tweaks their lower leg to further disrupt their base, then drive with your head and shoulder to move on top. Keep hold of the toes until you're past to side control. If they stay on their hands and knees, you can also just take their back instead.

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Jan 21, 2018 at 9:16pm PST



Keep in mind that it is possible to get this sweep with various leg configurations. I find it easiest from the kickstand, as I think that provides the best base for getting on your side, but it's certainly not the only option.

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Teaching Notes: All good, I think. Head to hipbone and underhook shoulder to hipbone helps. Make sure to come up on your elbow to drive, also don't let go of the toes. I added in the Kenny Polmans big step when you start going behind for side control, that is worth playing with some more.

©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Class #1164
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 12/07/2019

Practising for Monday. I forgot to talk about using the gi wrap to help with the underhook control, that's worth mentioning. Also, putting on a 'mini-lockdown' on the leg, if body type works out. Paulina was great at doing that, but for someone with longer legs, very tricky. A number of people were also ending up doing a sweep rather than a back take when chopping the knee in.

Not sure I talked enough about coming up on the elbow and staying tight. I would guess much of the dogfight stuff I taught after watching the Lucas Leite vids would still apply here. As always so useful to get to teach it in advance of the evening class, highlights all sorts of little details I wouldn't have thought about otherwise. :D


©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Class #1163
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 11/07/2019

Continuing to run through that dogfight sequence that Lucas Leite teaches on BJJ Library, which I think is much the same sequence Heather Raftery taught at the Heidelcamp last year (although that was from a quarter entry, so you end up further down the leg. Less secure, but it does lend itself to chopping the knee in and rolling to a better back position).


©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Teaching #885
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 03/07/2019

Short Version:
  • Bring your outside leg to the inside, hooking in tight
  • Curl in towards their knee, prying it out with your elbow
  • Pop your knee through, pushing off their thigh with your shin
  • Wrap their arm and grab your opposite shoulder, put your free leg over their back
  • Shrimp out to free your other leg, recover closed guard

Full Version:
In half guard, your first concern is to stop them flattening you out and starting their pass. They are generally going to want to establish an underhook on their trapped leg side, using the other arm to control under your head. In many ways, it is a similar position to standard side control. That will enable them to crush you to the mat, then exert lots of shoulder pressure to kill your mobility. Many of the same attacks from side control can also be viable from here, like an americana.



Naturally, you don't want them to reach that dominant position. Your goal is to get up on your side, with your own underhook around their back, on your trapped leg side. That is one of the main fights you'll have in half guard, so it is essential that you get used to working for that underhook.

If you can get the underhook, that accomplishes two things. First, it prevents them crushing their chest into yours, which would help them flatten you out. Second, it means you can press into their armpit to help disrupt their base, as well as help you get up onto your side. You can use your knee knocking into their bum at the same time to help with this too, as that should bump them forward.



For your leg positioning, the standard half guard is to have the inside leg wrapped around with your foot on the outside. Your other leg triangles over your ankle. This provides you with what SBG refer to as a 'kickstand': that outside leg is useful for bridging and general leverage. It's harder for them to flatten you out if you can resist with that kickstand structure.

For guard recovery, an inside hook is preferable: step your outside leg over, to hook their leg. Your other leg should not by locking, but squeeze your thighs to maintain control. After you've controlled their leg, got the underhook (though for the guard recovery, an underhook isn't essential) and onto your side, you want to block their arms.



There are numerous options for this, but for guard recovery, I like to use an option I learned from Braulio Estima. I can't remember his name for it, but I call it the facepalm, or the Captain Picard (I LOVE Star Trek ;D). Put simply, slap yourself in the forehead. Keep your hand there, with your elbows in close. You can do this with one arm, or with both: I will often go with both, though it is useful to get an underhook with an arm if you can. With your facepalm shield in place, 'dig' with your elbows to get to their knee.

Pry that knee with your elbow, sliding your same side shin onto their thigh. Square back up. At this point, they will probably be trying to push your knee down to recover their top position. Underhook their arm, just above the elbow, then lock their arm in place by grabbing your opposite shoulder. Your opposite leg goes on their back, then shrimp out until your can free your elbow-prying side leg. Now you can establish closed guard.

You can also try framing to move into sitting guard. Simply sit up, framing with your arm into their collar bone. From there they will often forget to keep their legs tight, meaning you can move right into open guard. If you wanted, you could then recover closed guard.

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Jun 18, 2018 at 11:40pm PDT



If they attempt to duck their head under as you try to frame, adjust your arm to push against their head instead. That should give you enough time to reach a stable position to continue the switch into sitting guard.

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Jun 19, 2018 at 11:01pm PDT


______________________
Teaching Notes: Tuck head in, don't leave space by forearm shield for them to swim in cross-facing arm. Also, great turnout for the women's class, 10 women! Yay! I've said it before, but the fact that a third of the Artemis BJJ membership is made up of women makes me very proud. :D


©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Teaching #884
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/06/2019



One of the first guard passes most people learn is the single underhook, sometimes known as a smash pass (although confusingly, there is also a completely different pass you might see called the 'smash pass'. The joys of BJJ's non-standardised terminology). After you've opened their guard (this can also work off a failed armbar or triangle attempt on their part), you need to get one of your arms under their leg. Your other elbow – and this is absolutely key – must not slip in front of their other knee. If it does, then you're at risk of being triangled: they simply need to pull the arm forwards to move into a triangle set up, as your first arm is already out of the picture.

You don't want to leave that first arm under their leg, as unless you're much bigger, their leg is always going to be able to outpower your arm. Therefore you need to get their leg up onto your shoulder, either bumping it up with your arm, or dropping down to put your shoulder in place behind their knee. At that point, drive forward so that you're shoving their knee into their face. When you've got them stacked, reach your stacking side arm around their leg and grab their collar. I tend to go four fingers in, but a thumb in grip sets you up for a simple (if somewhat crappy, so it's mainly for distraction) forearm choke. You can also try grabbing their opposite shoulder.



Establish a wide base with your feet, pushing off your toes. As is generally the case with jiu jitsu, stay off your knees. Otherwise, you're transferring the pressure into the floor rather than into your partner. Keep on driving forward, turning the shoulder you have behind the leg downwards. Combined with your forwards pressure, that should slide their leg out of the way.

Although it's tempting, try to avoid lifting your head to get past their legs, as that could provide them with space. Instead, you want to rely on your weight and pressure, finishing with that slight shift of your shoulder. To further enhance your stack, you can grab the back of their trousers, or alternatively put your other knee there as a wedge.

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Mar 9, 2018 at 1:40am PST


______________________
Teaching Notes: More on the switch to leg pin backstep? Other than, feeling good on this one. Should also review that class Mauricio taught on it a while back, he did it slightly different. I guess I could also talk about lifting them up with a trouser grip, putting the knee in? There were some Leuven Camp classes on that, IIRC, also worth double checking those videos.

©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Teaching #883
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 24/06/2019



Start by shoving their sleeve/wrist into their belt knot/belly button. With your other hand, push into their sternum, but be careful you aren't tempted to lean forward as a result. Keep your posture upright. If you can't get the sleeve, then simply grab their collar with your chest bracing hand (you have the option of grabbing a sleeve with that hand too, it doesn't have to be the hip hand: just make sure it's always the same side). If they grab your collar, grab the sleeve of their gripping arm and then simply stand up in the same way you normally do.



Raise your knee on the same side as your sleeve/wrist gripping arm, stepping forward with that foot. Basing off your hands (again, don't lean forwards), stand up into a crouch, then stand right up, thrusting your hips forward. Pull up on their sleeve/wrist (again, if you've lost it, grab their collar, if they are wearing a gi). You then want to push their knee off your hip on the other side, stepping back with your leg on the non-sleeve/wrist gripping side to help.



If you're having trouble getting that knee off, try bouncing your hips to open their ankles, like you were struggling to take off a tight pair of jeans. At the same time, splay your hand by the knee you want to shove (Roger Gracie calls this 'making his hand big') in order to help push down. You can then progress with the leg pin pass, as per the below embedded video, in two parts (only a minute each though, as these are Instagram:

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Mar 6, 2018 at 12:32am PST



Part Two:

A post shared by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Mar 7, 2018 at 12:35am PST


______________________
Teaching Notes: Need better vid of dangling from a collar. Also, want a vid of the hip shake to dislodge, noting potential for them to just sit up and step back.

©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Class #1162
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 09/07/2019

A few days in Wales, then back to training. I've got a bunch of classes to finish writing up and adding videos too, but there's always a backlog on uploading the relevant technique videos. So, here's what I taught in the daytime today, drawing heavily on the excellent Lucas Leite vids on BJJ Library.


©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ
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Teaching #881
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 17/06/2019

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

By contrast, you can also use their grips against them. If they grab your sleeve, adjust your hand to grab their sleeve too. You can then pull up on it and stand up, putting your leg forward on the trapped sleeve side. Similarly, if they grab your collar, you can use your same side hand to grab them back on their sleeve, then again stand up.
______________________
Teaching Notes: Nothing to add, this is feeling good as a class now. Emphasising that you should just stand up is useful. Also, "if they grip you, grip them back" is a handy general rule as well, I could answer a lot of questions during drilling with that. :)

©2004-2017 Can Sönmez, originally published on slideyfoot.com. You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

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