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BJJ / Grappling tips: impassable guard? Start from the bottom of the side control

The Part Time Grappler - Wed, 2016-06-15 10:22
Master Rickson Gracie demonstrating his open guard on me
The open guard is a core position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Competitors and fighters within and outside the Gracie family have used it for generations to stay safe on the bottom, escape back to their feet or even reverse or submit their opponent but what good is a guard as a defensive / offensive tool if it's constantly getting passed?

Do you want to make your open guard impassable? Start every sparring round from the bottom of the side control. Don't even worry about escaping to begin with. Just focus on preventing the mount / knee on belly / North / South and defending their submission attacks. 
Why will this improve your guard retention?

1. You will learn what grips your opponent needs from the top of the side control to attack and you learn to spot them reaching for these before / while / after passing the open guard
2. Every time you move to escape from the side control, your opponent will have to counter to keep you under their side mount by manipulating either your spine (head / neck), torso or legs. If you learn to spot what they need to prevent you from escaping you can reverse engineer (or simply ask an instructor) how to prevent that. 
3. Emotionally, you will improve. The reason people get their guard passed most of the time is because they're scared of or at least bothered by the thought of being under a heavy and offensive side control. They start pushing when they should be hip-escaping / shrimping. Some hate under being the side control so much that they'd rather turn and risk giving their back. If you spend so much time  being Jiujitsu-curious under the side control, learning and developing survival and escape tactics then your guard retention will be much more relaxed and technical. 
"Slow is smooth, smooth is fast"
If nothing else, these sessions will give you very specific questions to raise with your instructor during class or private 1-2-1 training, making the best use of your time on the mat. 


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Ze Radiola Leaves Gracie Barra

Kid Peligro's Mat - Tue, 2016-06-14 20:22

Ze Radiola

It is not uncommon for teams to lose members or have a split; however when one of the top coaches and leaders depart from the largest association it is big news. Such is the case for Jose “Ze Radiola” Olimpio (read more)
Kid Peligro Iphone App: Passing the Guard
Kid Peligro ebook: Secrets of The Closed Guard
Kid Peligro Iphone App Secrets of the Closed Guard

14/06/2016 - Open Mat | Half Guard

Slideyfoot - Tue, 2016-06-14 06:00
Class #723
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 14/06/2016

Today I worked on half guard with Mike, as he was looking to improve his retention on the bottom. I therefore played with flattening out on top, along with escaping the lockdown by pulling my heel back. On the bottom, I thought that the outside lockdown might be something he could try, as that's easy to apply off the kickstand half guard. However, I had a fairly easy time looping my leg out of it: is it not as strong as the inside lockdown? I'll have a play with that outside lockdown myself,

Another thing I thought might work for Mike was stuffing the arm and jump into a triangle. He mentioned he found that people sometimes blocked his guard recovery by putting their arm in the way. If you grab their wrist and stiff-arm, that seemed like it would flow nicely into a triangle set up. Then again, that might depend on your leg dexterity and flexibility, maybe leg length too. I'll be interested to hear if it helps him over this month.

©2004-2016 Can Sönmez, originally published on You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

13/06/2016 - Teaching | Half Guard | Toe Grab Sweep (Orthodox Half Guard)

Slideyfoot - Mon, 2016-06-13 12:30
Teaching #517
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 13/06/2016

I call it 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'll be teaching that one later). 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.

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. 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.

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.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: I forgot to mention the leg tweak detail, so will make sure to add that in next time. I think I did mention guard recovery as an option, but that's worth emphasising. Also, I should emphasise scooting down the body in order to get that grip on their toe more easily. Sparring was useful, as Sam's knee cut pass remains a tricky conundrum. I had a play with the mini-lockdown on the foot to try and spin to the back, without much success. It will take a while, but I'll keep playing. I need to get in more drilling on that.
©2004-2016 Can Sönmez, originally published on You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

Enter the Arena

John Will's Personal Blog - Mon, 2016-06-13 04:15
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt
A willingness to step forward, when others are stepping backward is a trait that lies at the very heart of what it means to be a fighter, a fireman, a soldier, etc.. Although this may be a desirable trait, it is by no means an easy one to acquire. Stepping into the arena takes courage; it requires a certain dispassionate view toward outcome; it requires perspective. 
What makes stepping into the arena so difficult is the possibility of failing; or to be more accurate, failing in the eyes of our peers or loved ones. Most people find it much easier to take risks if they can do so anonymously; it is when we are taking risks in front of our own circle of family, friends or peers, that the price tag suddenly seems all that much higher. This is a pity indeed, because so much growth and innovation comes from risk-taking; so when we fail to take risks, we pretty much resign ourselves to a state of inertia.
Innovation is naturally driven by necessity and circumstance, and our capacity for creativity seems boundless; for it is when we are cut loose from the confines of familiarity that we can truly tap into our innovative potential. Becoming more innovative is more about familiarising ourselves with risk, and less about staying with the tried and true. 
Living, working and training in an environment that allows for, or even encourages, risk-taking, provides us with a sure-fire path to betterment. The more we are 'punished' for taking risks, the less inclined we will be to do so, and the more opportunities for growth we deny ourselves. 
Most of us are very risk-averse; naturally so; for this trait has been passed down through the DNA of our ancestors - if they were not risk-averse, we probably wouldn't be here today. But the world we live in has a very different set of risk factors than the one occupied by our ancestors - we can go to the shop and try a new food, without much risk of dying from it; but how many of us choose to do this? And how many, find great comfort in staying with the tried and true? 
Someone had to ride that first horse; someone had to eat that first olive; someone had to build that first bicycle. On the mat, when we try out new ideas, we are taking risks - but think on it - what price do we pay for messing up? Easy .. tap out; start over and try again? The risk here is virtually zero and the only thing on the line is really our ego. Take our ego out of it; and it all becomes a learning experience.
But there are many arena’s in life; there is the competitive arena; there are relationship arena’s, business arena’s, financial arena’s, innumerable sporting arena’s; the list goes on and on. Cultivating our own personal ability to step into new territory, to take risks and be willing to appear a little foolish almost guarantees us a life of success. 
Learning is just that; learning. It requires that we fail and fail often; but what we get in return for our seemingly unending string of failures, are a collection of successes, that set us apart from the rest. 
The secret is simple; if you want to live an extraordinary life, full of verve, adventure and success; you must, you absolutely must, be prepared to step into the arena and fail gloriously; day after day. It’s difficult to imagine any better advice than this. 
John B WIll

12/06/2016 - Open Mat | Half Guard Kimura & Quarter Guard Back Take

Slideyfoot - Sun, 2016-06-12 06:00
Class #722
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 12/06/2016

Really good open mat today, I got through everything I wanted to drill. That was two techniques, beginning with the kimura from the bottom of half guard, as I want to teach that on Wednesday. The kimura is not something I've ever used much in half guard, though I like it from closed guard, and I like the grip from everywhere. I had always thought that to kimura effectively from the half guard, you'd need to do it on the free leg side, in order to get that leg over the back and generate enough torque. I was wrong.

Researching it this week, there were two especially good sets of videos on this. The first was from my favourite online instruction site, BJJ Library. Xande shows how even if they are hiding their arm, as long as you can get the grip, you can still harvest that arm. He does it by scooting his hips towards them. Testing that today, it really works. The second set was by Andrew 'Goatfury' Smith, well known for his expertise in the kimura.

I've been aware of his excellent Hubpages sequence of tutorials, but until now I haven't looked in much depth at his half guard kimura. I'm glad I did, as there is loads there: exactly the place to go to refine my knowledge before I teach it. I stuck with the basic kimura he shows, but he also has advanced option on there, as well as a version from the top and a 're-kimura' defence. I've seen something like that rekimura before, which reminded me to try it today: I basically just grabbed my wrist and started pulling it through, which enabled me to escape.

For applying the kimura, Smith shows how you can grip their wrist and flare their elbow back with your other hand, folding the arm right into your kimura grip. I preferred doing this from the double paw, which seemed to work fairly well. If they pull their arm back, go for the sit-up sweep. If not, curl your hands in to prevent them straightening the arm (if they do straighten the arm, you might be able to wriggle into an armbar. I managed a pressing armbar off that today, but I ended up loosening my half guard a lot to do it, so that may not work against somebody wise to what I'm trying). Clamp the elbow to your chest, then you can torque for the kimura as usual.

I also had a play with something I saw regarding quarter guard, off a 10th Planet video. I am generally very wary of 10th Planet videos, as there is a huge amount of crap out there. However, this one looked ok, and did seem to work, although I may have modified it. As your partner is trying to knee cut through your half guard, maintain control on their lower leg. From the kickstand, switch your outside foot so that it is hooking under your inside foot, as well as their leg (so, into a sort of mini-lockdown). This mini-lockdown is the part I'm not sure they were doing in the video, but it feels like it would be way too lose without that lock.

You can then kick their leg back to take out their base. Bring your outside foot over their leg and turn, reaching for their far foot. If you grab that, you can progress into a toe grab sweep, coming on top for side control.
©2004-2016 Can Sönmez, originally published on You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

10/06/2016 - Teaching | Half Guard | Escaping Lockdown

Slideyfoot - Fri, 2016-06-10 11:30
Teaching #516
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 10/06/2016

If you find that you keep getting stuck in the lockdown, don't worry: there are numerous ways to free your leg to get back to a standard half guard. First off, you can avoid the situation by making sure your lower leg is curled back. That will put it out of reach for the purposes of a lockdown. If they have started to put the lockdown on, bring your heel to your thigh, then loop your foot out of their grip. Be sure to again immediately curl your foot to your bum, underneath both their legs, or they can put you right back into the lockdown.

Should they manage to get it a little tighter, try lifting your trapped leg up, like Christian Graugart. Curl your free leg back, sticking your heel by their lower heel. That should loosen the tension enough that you can drive your trapped knee to the mat and escape the lockdown. Once again, be sure to curl your foot out of the way, so they can't re-establish the lockdown.

A photo posted by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Jun 13, 2016 at 4:06am PDT

Finally, if it's too late for any of the above, there's the option I most commonly use. Scoot down towards their hips. You can now try one of three options: either grab their hips, lock your arms underneath their thighs, or hook an arm under their leg. I tend to go with the third option, though be aware there is a small risk that they might manage to shift into a triangle if you're not careful as you pass. Once you've secured a grip, either sprawl back firmly or kick your trapped leg backwards. Maintain your grips, then walk around towards their head for the pass.

Another more complex pass I sometimes teach comes from Rener Gracie. For this one, first sprawl to take out the slack in their grip. Swing your trapped leg towards your other leg. Hook behind their nearest knee with the instep of your free foot. Press their knee to the mat. This should give you the room to bring your trapped leg towards the other side, then simply drive the trapped knee through, moving directly into a knee cut pass.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: I decided to stick to freeing your leg from the lockdown tonight, rather than going into too much detail about passing. My main goal is to dissuade people from using the lockdown to stall. It's certainly a valid position with plenty of options, but a lot of people (admittedly including me ;D) will use it to slow down the pace and get a breather. I don't normally put in as many techniques as this, but they're all relatively simple and I think fit together well. Last time I taught the Rener pass, but I think the options I went with tonight are easier to remember, as it's basically either 'lift up your leg' or 'grab their hips and kick'.

Sparring was fun, trying to get into some closed guard attack. I used the forearm to forearm clasp to keep hold of my shoulder clamp, but I was too flat on my back. I need to get on my side right away, pushing for that head and shoulder control. I vaguely had the overhook guard after that, but again I think I'm being too flat. I also attempted to block Sam's might knee slide as he tried to break my half guard, ending up going to quarter guard and then a toe grab sweep.

However, he could have kicked his leg free during my sloppy quarter guard (as he confirmed later when I asked: I didn't think I had that properly). I think I'll play some more with quarter guard at open mat, mainly out of curiosity. Main thing I want to work on is the half guard kimura, as I haven't taught that yet.
©2004-2016 Can Sönmez, originally published on You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

08/06/2016 - Teaching | Half Guard | Toe Grab Sweep from Lockdown (Old School)

Slideyfoot - Wed, 2016-06-08 12:30
Teaching #515
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/06/2016

A photo posted by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on Jun 10, 2016 at 3:08am PDT

Another approach to half guard is the one touted in Eddie Bravo's Mastering the Rubber Guard. I tend to warn beginners off Bravo's 10th Planet system, because they often get over-excited and try to run before they can walk. Having said that, it is worth taking a look at the half guard techniques Bravo includes at the start of Mastering the Rubber Guard. This is based around what Bravo calls the 'lockdown', which as far as I'm aware is an old judo position (then again, old judoka would likely tell you that's true of everything in BJJ ;p). The two major problems with the lockdown are that it is often used to stall and it immobilises your hips.

However, it can be useful for disrupting an opponent's base. It also works as a last ditch effort to stop them crushing you when they've got you flat on your back. It is a little different to the standard half guard leg position. I tend to move into it from the guard recovery leg position. Step your outside leg over theirs. Next, bring your inside leg over your other foot (which will then hook around that inside leg), hooking underneath their shin. From there, you can stretch out their leg.

Bravo lays out a careful roadmap of where to go from the lockdown, detailing another method for getting up onto your side. He calls the first part the 'Jaws of Life', which is basically getting both your hands in front of their face, bracing them against the side of their head, near the temple. The idea is to create enough space to slide your arms past theirs, then establish a double underhook around their back. You can then do what Bravo calls a 'whip up'. Release your double underhook and switch to pressing your hands into their ribs. In one motion, bring your knees towards your chest and push with your hands. In the space that creates, immediately shift to your side and establish your underhook.

From here, you can do the toe grab sweep largely as before. Again, reach under their same side leg with your non-underhooking side hand, in order to grab their toes. The main difference with this version is that you keep your underhook in place all the way through, rather than switching your grip. Release your lockdown, bending their leg outwards with your top leg, so you can slide the bottom leg underneath. Drive through with your shoulder, pulling on their toes to break their balance. Swing your leg over theirs as you come on top, then establish side control.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: As I think happened last time, a few people had trouble driving through to the top, but that's easily solved by switching hands. I'm not sure why Bravo doesn't do that in his version, it seems to give you much better leverage. I had a fun spar with Ross, who was showing good defence today. It was a useful exercise in keeping my weight heavy to the passing side, as well as trying to set up my favoured gi tail choke from side control. I think because he was doing a decent job of staying on his side and blocking the cross face, I was having trouble get my gripping arm into his neck. It's handy that people are getting wise to the defence against that choke: it's probably my best submission, so knowing all the potential pitfalls is very useful.

Immense turnout at @ArtemisBJJ tonight! 21 #BJJ people is a new record. Yay! :D #BrazilianJiuJitsu #SupportWomensBJJ #ArtemisBJJA photo posted by Can (Jun) (@slideyfoot) on Jun 8, 2016 at 12:57pm PDT

Also, we had an amazing turnout tonight, with 22 people including me! I'm not sure why there were so many, but I'm certainly not complaining. It also demonstrates the the downstairs mats at MYGYM can comfortably accommodate 22 people rolling at the same time. I'll be interested to test the limits of that, so will make sure to count the rolling pairs at the busiest point in next year's GrappleThon. :)
©2004-2016 Can Sönmez, originally published on You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

08/06/2016 - Teaching | Women's Class | Side Control Escape to Guard

Slideyfoot - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:25
Teaching #514
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/06/2016

First thing to note is that they will want to kill your near arm. This is bad for you, because it means you can't stop them shifting up towards your head. From there, they can make as much space as they want and pass to mount.

So, you need to get your arm inside, the forearm pressing against their hip: this is a bit more reliable than using your hand, as they can potentially still bring their body onto your hand and collapse it, especially if you're grabbing the gi (given the loose material). The forearm into the hip will help block their movement, and initiate your attempts to create some space. It should also help you block them moving to north south, as if you clamp your arm by their side, your body will move with them if they try to switch position.

Be aware that having your forearm by their hip like that does leave you more open to the cross-face. So, you could potentially block inside their cross-facing arm instead, which will prevent their shoulder pressure. This is the Saulo method from his book, which has advantages, but personally I prefer to block the hip.

With your other hand, grab the gi material by their shoulder, close to their neck, then pull down. Twist that arm up into their neck, keeping the elbow in: you need to be tight here, as otherwise they will go for a figure four on that arm. Once you've got the forearm into their neck, they can't press down into you, as they'll essentially be choking themselves. Note that this is a block: you don't want to start pushing and reaching, as that may leave you vulnerable. Reach too far and they can shove your arm to one side and set up an arm triangle.

Next I moved on to the legs. Your legs have two main purposes here: first, blocking your opponent getting to mount. Raise your near knee and drive it into their side. The idea is to wedge them between your knee and the arm you have by their hip. Personally, I like to keep my knee floating, glued to their side.

That makes it easier to slip my knee under as soon as they give me any space, which is something I learned from Roger. Many people prefer to cross their foot over their knee, which is something I used to do in the past as well. However, as this long Sherdog thread discusses, that can leave you open to a footlock, and also limit your mobility. Then again, you can see it used at the highest levels, like here at the Mundials.

The second use for your legs is bridging. Marcelo Garcia has a handy tip for this (although the escape he is doing there is slightly different), related to increasing the power of your bridge. To do that, bring your heels right to your bum, then push up on your toes. That increases your range of motion, so you can really drive into them.

Make sure you turn into them as you bridge, rather than just straight up. This will help the next part, which is to shrimp out as you come back down. That's why you've created space in the first place: if you simply plopped back down, then you've wasted the opportunity. As soon as you shrimp out, slip the knee pressing into their side underneath. Note you aren't trying to lift them with your arms. Instead, you want to push off them, moving your body away rather than pushing theirs higher up.

Once your knee is through, you need to be careful they don't immediately pass by pushing down and moving around that knee, ruining all your hard work. To prevent that, keep your hand by their shoulder. Straighten it, then add further support by bracing your other hand into their bicep (same side as the blocked shoulder). Your new frame should create a barrier to their pass, giving you enough time to recover your guard, or even move into a submission.

Alternatively, you can control their arm with your hip-bracing arm as you escape, like Roy Dean demonstrates in Blue Belt Requirements. That will also stop them pushing down on your knee, as their arm is trapped. It is worth trying both and seeing which you prefer, or which one the situation demands.

To get your knee out from under them, you'll be looking to shrimp in the direction you want your leg to go. Bring your leg over their back, on the side where you aren't controlling their arm. Get your other foot to mat, using that base to shrimp out. That should normally be enough to free the leg and get into closed guard. If not, you'll need to keep shrimping (and you may need to keep both feet on the floor until you have shrimped far enough that you can comfortably get your legs out). Sometimes there isn't space, in which case you can push off the shin you have pressed into their stomach/hip. Keep in mind that you also have the option of going to butterfly or some other open guard, if you are really struggling to get your legs out for closed guard.

Teaching Notes: On the last part, where you're trying to get your legs free to recover closed guard, I was paying close attention. I think I may have cracked it, in terms of the version that seems most broadly applicable and easiest to understand. My process was to get my leg over their back (non hip bracing arm side), then get my other foot to the mat in order to shrimp. I've therefore adjusted the text above, so when I copy that for next time I'll use that version.
©2004-2016 Can Sönmez, originally published on You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

Master Rickson Gracie discusses the future of jiu-jitsu with master Pedro Sauer and the head instructors at the Gracie Academy HQ: Ryron and Rener Gracie.

The Part Time Grappler - Tue, 2016-06-07 08:38

In a new video shot at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California, Master Rickson Gracie discusses the future of jiu-jitsu with master Pedro Sauer and the head instructors at the Gracie Academy HQ: Ryron and Rener Gracie. Here's the video and the subtext to the video as published on YouTube:

Published on 7 Jun 2016Jiu-Jitsu has reached a critical point in it's evolution. On one hand, it is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet, on the other hand, it is at risk of losing its identity and suffering the same fate that has negatively affected nearly all other martial arts. What made made jiu-jitsu famous in the 80s and 90s was its unprecedented effectiveness in real fights, yet today, most jiu-jitsu academies do not teach the elements that make the art applicable in a real fight.In this groundbreaking gathering, Rickson, Pedro, Ryron and Rener sit down to discuss the current state of jiu-jitsu and the critical steps that must be taken to preserve its original identity as a complete system of self-defense. Acknowledging that the formative years are most critical for any jiu-jitsu student, Rickson discusses his vision for the "perfect blue belt" and the critical roll of a structured curriculum in preserving this path.

To fully align themselves with the Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation, and Rickson's vision for the perfect blue belt, Ryron and Rener have made three significant changes to the Gracie Academy belt system:

1) Creation of a "Gracie Combatives” Belt
All students who complete the Gracie Combatives course, which takes approximately 12 months, will earn a "Gracie Combatives” belt as a symbol of their foundational self-defense proficiency. The belt is white with a navy blue stripe running through its center.

2) Sparring Required Before Blue Belt
Upon earning the Gracie Combatives belt, a student will start the Master Cycle, the Gracie Academy’s advanced jiu-jitsu program. In the Master Cycle, the student will learn techniques for defending against a jiu-jitsu trained opponent while continuing to enhance their arsenal of street self-defense techniques. Most importantly, the student will develop resiliency and adaptiveness through live sparring against resistant opponents (with and without strikes). Only after 6-12 months in the Master Cycle, will a student be considered for promotion to blue belt.

3) No More "Online Blue Belts"
The Gracie Combatives belt is the only Gracie Jiu-jitsu belt that can be earned through the Gracie University video evaluation process. The fact that the course is comprised of set number of techniques (approximately 75), which are exclusively designed for an non jiu-jitsu street aggressor, means that an experienced instructor can effectively verify a student’s proficiency visually, in person or via video upload. All other belts, including blue belt, can only be earned via hands-on live sparring evaluation at an authorized Certified Training Center.

For more information on the Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation visit

For more information on the Gracie Combatives program or to find a Certified Training Center near you, visit



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07/06/2016 - Open Mat | Deep Half Guard & Retaining Open Guard

Slideyfoot - Tue, 2016-06-07 06:00
Class #721
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 07/06/2016

Great open mat with Simon today, I got in lots of drilling and specific sparring in. We started with deep half guard, something I want to work on too. The difficulty from the bottom was sliding underneath into position, then moving their leg over without using loads of force. I need to imrpove my smoothness on that, need to get the leverage right, especially as I'm extra wary about my back now. Also, after the Homer pass it's probably easier to go into a single underhook, rather than crawling around the other side. There's the waiter sweep too, though I don't use that much, so I should give that more of a go. Especially as I want something for when I end up on the 'wrong' side for deep half. Rewatching the awesome Jeff Glover instructional would be a good plan too.

On top, I was mainly looking for that arm as usual. If they hide it, I was able to grab an elbow most of the time, especially if the other person is taller. At the same time, I had a go at chokes too. It's a little risky reaching through for the lower collar, as if you get your weight distribution wrong, they can roll you over. So, I need to be careful to have my weight heavy to the passing side, or they will roll you over the top. At same time, I want to keep the pass in mind, looking to free my leg.

Then we went into some open guard stuff. For passing, I like to crouch low, head behind the knees for good balance, then pressure and into knee cut. If you stand too high, I find that results in a lot of space for the bottom person to wriggle their legs around: the crouch made a big difference to my passing. On the bottom, I played a bit with spider guard type stuff to help Simon, then when free sparring later, had a play with more 'on your back' approaches.

A video posted by Can (Jun) (@slideyfoot) on Jun 7, 2016 at 6:01am PDT

When we got into more free sparring, I was using a lot of stiff arm and Ryan Hall type open guard to recover position. Controlling their sleeve was great too when they're coming low, knock them over. Fun times. Kettlebells was good too, my back seems ok going with the 16kg. I'll see how it is tomorrow though. ;)
©2004-2016 Can Sönmez, originally published on You can also find me at my school, Artemis BJJ

A Bird in the hand .... really?

John Will's Personal Blog - Tue, 2016-06-07 01:38
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” - an old saying, but one that I find to be incredibly misleading. Or, as to put it more bluntly - incredibly stupid advice!
One of the signs of intelligence that I subscribe to is the ability of someone to take some small pain/inconvenience now, in order to receive a bigger pay-off/benefit later. 
We live in a world where ‘instant-gratification’ is the norm. Get it now! Have it now! One bird in the hand ‘now’ rather than two ‘later’. A little planning and foresight can go a long way. I say no to the bird in the hand now; as I can go an get a net, do a little planning, then head to the bush and get the whole flock! 
Save a little of that money rather than spending it all - or worse, spending more than that which you have earned. Do some exercise now to reap the benefits later. A little planning and forward thinking goes a long way. Imagine if our ancestors hadn’t had the capacity to forward plan for the winters of northern Europe. Many of us wouldn’t be here if they couldn’t.
For those lover son Eckhardt Tolle’s writing on ‘living in the now’ - ponder this; even he has to ‘plan’ his books, plan for his book tours, etc. Sure, live in the moment, extract all the value the present has to offer - but spend some small time planning for a future that very well may arrive. 
For those wanting a little more on this topic - google ‘the Marshmallow Experiment’ - you may very be surprised by the findings. Most people that opt for ‘instant gratification’ - do nowhere near as well in life as those who have the will and foresight to delay gratification in the present for a bigger pay-off at a later date. 
‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ - the philosophy of the short-sighted!


Adding to the Purple roster

BJJ Grrl - Mon, 2016-06-06 18:15

On Saturday, Janet was promoted to purple belt at the end of the women’s class. (Tim had to steal a purple belt off one of the guys who was waiting for Open Mat, which she had to give back after pictures, so tonight she came beltless while her new belt ships.) So now there are 3 of us, a whole lot of blue belt women, and more white belt women joining. It’s great to see how much it’s grown. On Friday night, the class was evenly split between men and women (not counting instructors) at 6 each. 

My attendance has still been spotty recently, a combination of actual legitimate reasons and rather bad reasons (e.g., was dumb and left my contacts at home, or was just tired and lazy). Friday night in class, I did something to my rib and, oh, did it hurt. Saturday morning in class, too, though I pushed through it. Then all Saturday it hurt; some better on Sunday and today, but still talking to me. Rolling tonight, Brandon did a heavy knee-on-belly on that side, and I heard and felt a “pop!” I gasped or something, and he was concerned that he’d hurt me, but I said that he’d just put my rib back in place. So much better now.

Correlation … zero

John Will's Personal Blog - Sun, 2016-06-05 22:24
Many people mistakenly believe that if they up the intensity of their effort (in a given situation) that this automatically guarantees success.
Many people mistakenly believe that if they have a Black Belt in a martial art, that they can effectively defend themselves.
Many people mistakenly believe that if they have a lot of money in the bank, that they will be happy and fulfilled.
Many people mistakenly think that because a person talks to them and smiles at them, then that person is their loyal friend.
Often, where we think there might be a correlation - there is none. And conversely, sometimes where we think no correlation exists, there is indeed one; or many.
It is easy to think that the only benefit we get out of training BJJ is the ability control and defeat other people in physical conflict; but think of the myriad of correlations that our training can have with the wider aspects of our lives as human beings. 
We learn to problem solve, we learn to build resilience, we learn to interact with others, we learn to recognise small gains, we learn the importance of process, we learn to be fluid in our thinking, etc. it only takes imagination and thinking to realise there are many things we can take from our training into the larger landscape of our lives. 

  • JBW

Review - North South Jiu-Jitsu Underwear

Meerkatsu - Sun, 2016-06-05 10:08

North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear sent me a couple of pairs of their mens pants to try out. They offer a number of helpful additional improvements over regular underwear.

North South Underwear website
Facebook page
Cost: $35

These pants* are excellent. I wore them over a period of several weeks of training and they fit perfectly. I must admit, I was skeptical at first that they would offer any benefit over and above a regular pair of pants, but there are a number of things about them that are very well thought out.

View from behindThe pants feature a strong elastic waistband, elasticated leg openings, inner crotch lining and are cut to contour around your privates in a way that cups the crown jewels snugly yet still allows room to 'breathe' so to speak.

Turned inside outWearing them, the first thing I noticed was the grip from the elasticated leg openings. These prevent the pants from riding up your upper thigh. The bamboo inner lining was super soft and hence very comfortable. The construction looks rock solid with flat locked stitching throughout. These pants are definitely made for a rigorous workout! They even thought of a cute little hook with which you can hang the pants (photo below).

After wearing them for a while during training, the spandex/polyester material does a good job wicking away the build up of me sweat keeping my groin region cool.

North South Underwear have made a wonderful product to wear that is functional and a genuine pleasure to wear during a tough, hot, sweaty workout. For some, the relatively high price might be a barrier - I'm pretty sure regular high street spandex compression underwear can be found for less than $15-$20, however these North South underpants seem to have been designed with more consideration for the day to day grappler.

*In the UK, we refer to men's underwear as pants or underpants.

Meerkatsu Brand - New Tshirts: Fighting Tigers and Bonsai

Meerkatsu - Sat, 2016-06-04 14:59

I have a few new T-shirt designs over on the Meerkatsu store. Check them out!


1000th blog ... longevity

John Will's Personal Blog - Sat, 2016-06-04 06:32
Many really great things are often only accomplished … over time. While this seems like an overly obvious statement - many people struggle to come to terms with it. People do not like waiting. We tend to want the things we want - right now! 
And although that might not be such a bad thing; the price for getting what we want right away, might mean a way larger price tag in the future; for ‘debt’ can just be a way of delaying poverty. 
A couple of extra reps of a technique in class won’t make a difference over the short term - but over a year, five years, a decade - this habit will pay huge dividends. Saving a few dollars each week won’t make much of a difference over a month or even a year - but over twenty or thirty years (invested) it might mean the difference between being independently wealthy or on a government pension. 
Longevity counts for a lot. Over time, great things are accomplished. Read a book a week … do that for a decade or two … you gain knowledge.
We don’t even have to think in terms of ‘decades’ - we just need to develop habits and maintain them. We are all experts at cleaning our teeth, tying our shoelaces, drying ourselves after a shower - and we gave none of these things even much of our attention. Time took care of it for us.
This is my 1000th blog. I didn’t start out aiming to write 1000 blogs - I just acquitted a habit. Time went by. And here we are. 
Thanks for reading folks … I hope you have enjoyed some of my posts. I for one, have enjoyed writing them.Bets respect

John Will

Fools and Certainty ...

John Will's Personal Blog - Wed, 2016-06-01 22:44
Learning requires a willing and fertile mind. We must be ready to adopt new ideas; we should be open to new paradigms. At one time, most everyone thought the world was flat; imagine trying to convince the population otherwise? What a task!Nowadays though, what was once a heretical belief, is simply understood to be common knowledge. I wonder at how many of our current beliefs and practises will be laughed at a century from now?The most wonderful thing about children - in my view - is their un-satiable appetite for ideas, knowledge and exploration. A child-like curiosity is key to the acquisition of new skills. Letting go of our certainty can be very liberating act. - JBW

Worlds 2016 - All Systems Go and Great Matches

Kid Peligro's Mat - Wed, 2016-06-01 14:21
IBJJF Worlds 2016

All systems are go for the 2016 Worlds. With so many of the best competitors on the planet competing some marquis match ups are bound to happen.

In the rooster weight expect Bruno Malfacine, Caio Terra and Joao Miyao to battle
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