Saturday, November 01, 2008

John Will seminar 1 Nov 2008 - open guard, side control escapes

The Open Guard

JBW feels the closed guard is not the best guard for students to learn first, and that the current popular teaching model of closed guard first is flawed.

Closed guard does not allow you to control the distance in a striking situation. Also, the guy in your guard is learning about posture at the same time you are learning the basic sweeps and submissions. The cross collar choke requires him to have broken posture and his hands not protecting his neck. Kimuras require his hand on the floor, near his knee. It can be hard to get a good sleeve grip to set up sweeps and other techniques.

Building the Open Guard

He is on his knees. Put your feet in his hips, along the underwear line. Your feet can now control and stop him coming forward, get in range to punch to your head, etc.. Sit up and grab his R lapel with your R hand, anywhere, low near his waist or high near his neck. "Climb the rope" hand over hand up his lapel until your R hand is deep inside his  R collar near the label at the back of his neck. You can now pull him in with the collar and/or push him away with your legs. Keep your knees inside his arms, providing an extra barrier, but also stopping punches. By moving his upper body back and forth (you even have some lateral control) you can bring his R hand into the right position where you can grab the sleeve easily with your L hand - and also disrupt his base. Pull hard on collar and sleeve, push actively with your legs, keeping him under tension and control. His R arm can be either outside or inside your L leg.

Most people are right handed, so controlling the R hand gives the best probability of controlling his principal striking or grabbing implement. Unless you know which is his dominant hand, you have to go with the percentages.

Cross Collar Choke from Open Guard

You build the open guard with your right hand deep in his collar as above. Create tension by  pushing back against him with your feet. Get your left hand under your right, releasing the sleeve and getting ready to slide your left hand into his left collar. Release the tension with your feet and pull him into your closed guard. He will often post with his hands to avoid the face plant, leaving his neck unprotected. This gives you the opportunity to punch your right hand up, opening the collar so you can get your left hand deep into his left collar. Finish the choke as normal from here.

The problem with this choke from closed guard is that while you are learning to do it, the other guy is learning to build posture. So opportunities to get it are few. Not so when you set it up like this.

Basic Sweep from Open Guard

Build the open guard as before. You have his R sleeve with your L hand, your R hand in his R collar. Shift your hips to your R. Your L foot goes in front of his R knee, your R shin is under his L armpit - about mid shin jammed in his armpit. Pull hard on the sleeve, push hard away with your L foot on his knee and drive your R shin anticlockwise up over and toward the floor, just like a roundhouse kick. Go to mount.

John digressed a little about roundhouse kicks - in his view the kick should always be driving through the target, using hip flexors, quads and adductors. The kick should end up being pushing the kicking leg away from the target after impact if continuous follow through is done correctly. Same thing applies with the R leg in this sweep.

The major problems with doing this sweep from closed guard are getting his sleeve, getting enough space to get the knee through with the right angle to avoid being sprawled on, and pulling him forward off his base. This sweep from open guard prevents all these issues. You also get better leverage as your R shin is closer to the end of the lever (his trunk). Another advantage is that you usually end up in a high mount rather than around his hips.

Kimura from Open Guard

Build the open guard as before, but this time get his R wrist with your L hand rather than getting the sleeve. Put the tension on with feet, collar and wrist. Take your L foot off his hip and straighten your L leg and hip far enough to get your knee past his elbow. Now pull him in with the collar, take you R foot off his hip, push his R wrist back with your hand as you bring his R elbow toward you with your L knee and put your L calf across his back. He should be off balance forward with his R arm wrapped around your L leg. Move your L leg just enough to get your R hand in for the figure 4. Clamp down on his R upper arm and turn the propellor with his L forearm to finish.

The big problem with this tech from the closed guard is getting his wrist and getting it in the right place to do the kimura. Much less so with this.

Move to Hooking Guard with Cross Arm Control - then take the back or sweep

Build the open guard. Now grab his R sleeve with the R hand as well. His R arm should be between your knees now if you are applying tension with hands and feet. With as few gaps in time and space as possible,  drop your feet off his hips to inside his thighs, pull his arm across your body to the floor, hip out slightly to the L and sit up, reaching over his back to grab his belt or waist, pinning his R hand to the floor with your straight R arm.

From here:

If he doesn't move, bring your R foot in front of his L knee, pushing it back and away to flatten him out, Throw your L leg over his body and "kill the fly", moving onto his back.

Most people with experience will try to square up in guard. As he pushes back into you, underhook his L arm with your R, roll back and to the L and use the underhook and your hooks to sweep him to your L. Go to side control rather than mount to avoid the half guard.

If he is too heavy, you miss the timing for the sweep, or he sprawls on you, just keep the controls on his arms, and with small movements gradually move your hips under him to the right, so that his body is now on your L side rather than on your R. It should now be much easier to complete the sweep. "One out, three back".

From this open guard, it is much easier to move to other guards - hooks, spider, butterfly, half, closed, outside hook/DLR, etc. than it is to move from closed guard to other guard types. Therefore this adds to the case for making this guard the centre of your guard game.


From Shortbase side control with head and far arm control

He has short base side control on your R side. His R knee is blocking your R hip so you can't get your R knee through to go to guard. His L arm is under your head, cross facing, his R arm is underhooking your L arm. He has managed to "kill" your R arm, so the elbow is not in his L hip but out in space, and his L elbow and L knee are touching, stopping you from getting your R elbow back in his hip.

To get the R elbow in his L hip: Feet up toward your butt. Bump his R knee with your R hip at the same time you flick your head to the L pulling his grips with it. This should hopefully create enough space to get your elbow back in his hip.

Get you feet right up near your butt, loading the quads for a BIG bridge. Bridge explosively towards him, at the same time driving his head to the mat over your body to the R side of your head with your bicep (like an underhook escape - JBW calls it the "invisible underhook"). Now spin your body back the other way, your back to the mat, so your head comes out under his L armpit. Your L arm is hooking his right arm. You in effect do a shoulder spin and end up head to head with you sprawled on top of him. The second half of the move is similar to the switchout escape from head to head where he is on top with a R underhook on your L arm - you do the sitout and shoulder spin to end up on top head to head.

From Shortbase side control, both of his arms underhooking your far arm

He has shortbase side control on your R. Both his arms are underhooking your L arm. Grab the cloth behind his L tricep with your R hand. Feet up for a BIG bridge. Bridge hard and to your left, straightening your R arm and pushing his tricep away from you to your left, locking out your R arm. While your R arm is locked, bring your L elbow back under your body, allowing you to be able to roll to your stomach. Let go the sleeve with your R hand; he should try to move back and regain side control. As he does, overhook his L arm with your R. Now roll to your stomach, dragging his L arm underneath you with the R overhook. Get on your toes drive into him and push your butt up in the air; He should be rolled off your back and right shoulder onto his back. Keep the grip on his L arm - you may be able to turn anticlockwise over his head to side control on his R with a figure 4 finish on his L arm ready to go.

The problem with this technique is that of you are regularly practicing BJJ, you should seldom be put in this position in wrestling, but escaping earlier or avoiding the position entirely. So it needs to be drilled specifically in case the need arises. However there is a similar technique which allows the technique to be practiced from a less threatening position which will occur much more often in sparring.

He is passing your guard around to your R and has almost passed. Underhook his L arm with your R. As he drives around, turn to your left side, get your elbow under and turn onto your stomach, keeping the grip with our R arm so the underhook turns into an overhook. Roll him over your shoulder and onto his back as before.

Kneeride Escape

He has kneeride on your R. Your R arm goes under his R ankle. Pick the foot up using the crook of the elbow. Your L hand goes into his L hip - the L elbow is a stiff arm. Grab your L wrist with your R hand to form a figure 4. His balance is now pretty shaky. Hip escape away from him and he should  fall back - with a taller guy you may need to use your L knee to help him over. Come up on top - his R leg should be open to a possible legbar opportunity.

Brown Belt

At the end of the seminar, John Will presented Rick Spain with his BJJ brown belt, to the congratulations of all. 

Saturday, April 05, 2008

JBW 5 April 2008 - Shell, Omoplata

JBW 5 April 2008

Using the Shell

Hands on hairline, not too high. Elbows must be in so he can't get an underhook.

Run at him until forearms contact chest. He should grab instinctively. Wing one elbow up and duckunder to get his back.

Drill - get his back, push him away, run at him again IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait for him to get set for his "turn". The idea is to drill a mindset of unrelenting attack without giving him the opportunity to get set. Add punches (from him) and crash in using the Shell.

Low double leg takedown - rather than put your weight on the knee of your penetration step, put it on him. Rather than do the lift and turn the corner, step around his leg on that side with the back leg, take your toes to the pentrating knee, and lay your shin on the ground for an outside trip. Much less stress on you and your knees - only downside is you end up in guard or half guard.

Practice this from the shell - T-Rex arms, elbows in. Keep the shell until you are in position to set grips and head position without getting punched or kneed.

Practice low double, high double, low single, high single both from wrestling stance, and from the Shell.


Portuguese, means "shoulder bone".

Start from "perfect storm", i.e. the ideal position to perform the technique. In this case that woud be him in your guard, overhooking your R thigh lightly with his L arm, the other arm on the floor behind your right leg, outside his guard. Pop up on your shoulders, turn ninety degrees and come down on your R butt cheek so you are turned toward him, legs out to your L ("hula hula legs").

This is the "perfect storm". What we then need to look for is signs from where we can get to the perfect position. There are usually more signs than the actual thing being pointed to. In our case, the sign is an OVERHOOK.

From hooks in guard, swim for the underhook. If you get it, Shft your hips away, overhook his other arm and hook sweep him.

If he beats your underhook (with his R arm), pinch his R wrist in your L armpit, grab his R tricep with your L hand, put your feet on his thighs and push away, stretching his arm. He should find it very hard to pull his arm out. For extra security, push your L knee into his arm, pushing him off centre.

So if you win the underhook war, sweep. If he wins, secure the overhook and set up the omoplata. Either way, you have options.

This is "win on heads, win on tails." See in what other areas of jiu jitsu or life this might apply.

Hunting the Overhook Drill

You start with the overhook from guard and apply the omoplata. He looks to the outside and rolls forward onto his back, then comes to his knees to re-engage. Get the overhook on his other arm, and omoplata on the other side. He rolls out ... rinse and repeat.

Keeping the Overhook Drill

You start with the overhook on his L arm from guard and apply the omoplata. He rolls out as before, but this time keep hold of his elbow as he comes over with your leg and R hand (keeping his forearm trapped with yours as well. Exchange grips on his elbow from R to L. Reach over his R hip with your R hand and post. Rotate your body counterclockwise as you cross over him in a sitting position, using his arm to turn him onto his stomach, finishing in the omoplata position, his L arm still trapped, him face down. He rolls out again, you repeat the spin. Rinse/repeat.

Omoplata From Mount

You have mount on him. his hands are up protecting his neck. Slide your R hand under his L forearm and onto the floor until your elbow is on the ground. Slide your elbow back along the ground dragging his L arm into an overhook. Step up on your R foot, with the foot near the neck and the knee angle greater than 90 degrees, so that if he rolls you to that side your foot will not get caught and ankle perhaps damaged. Pull up on his arm to turn him on his R side so that you are in a "reverse sidemount". Sit on him so that you can also bring up your left foot and post on it. "Slide" over to your L, posting on your L hand, keeping the overhook on his L arm with your R, turning your legs out to the L, rolling him onto his stomach so you end up in omoplata on his L arm.  

When practicing, give him time to bend his arm for safety.

He could roll out, you get mount, and go again.

Instead, he stays flat on his stomach, lie back, still controlling his elbow with your L hand, Reach over his L leg with your R hand to grab his L pants cuff. Extend your legs, pinching them together still for control of his arm. As he starts to get to his knees, roll onto your stomach, pulling his legs and body over you, sweeping him onto his stomach. Sprawl flat to keep his arm pinned, then quickly pop up to your knees to get posture and turn, throw your L leg over to the mount. Rinse and repeat.

Omoplata from Side Control - counter to underhook escape

You have side control on his R; he gets the underhook with his L arm and begins to wing up and turn onto his side. Overhook his L arm with your R and step over with your L to reverse side mount as for "Omoplata from Mount". Make sure knee angle is  greater than 90 degrees for same reason. From here you can go the same omoplata as above, but you can also spin counterclockwise and sit down on his left side, so you are starting to apply the omoplata while he is still on his back - allow himj time to situp and move forward so you don't damage his shoulder. He can roll out of the omoplata as before ... this time just let hm roll and get him in side control on his L side. move 180 degrees so you are back to the starting position. Rinse and repeat.

Both should stay RELAXED during these drills. The idea is to develop smooth movement, which is hard if one of you is tense.

Omoplata progression John filmed in 2017: