Monday, December 12, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pedro Sauer seminar 24 Oct 2016

The seminar was held at Higher Jiu Jitsu, at the City of Sydney PCYC in Woolloomooloo.

This will be a difficult write up.

We did some techniques, certainly, but to just write them up would be a "finger pointing to the moon" type of mistake.

This really was a "this will make you think about all your Jiu Jitsu differently" or "everything you know is wrong" sort of seminar. I doubt I can do justice to how interesting and profound it was. Maybe you had to be there.

The Professor himself talked about "planting a seed" within us, that he hoped would take root and grow with the proper nourishment and attention.

The main conceptual ideas I received were as follows. Any confusion is the fault of the receiver (me) and not the transmitter (Prof. Pedro).

Start with a mindset of self defence and safety

Whatever position you may find yourself in, the first concern is your safety. Against all attacks, submissions, strikes, whatever, find a position of safety where you can weather the onslaught. Survival, per Saulo Ribeiro in Jiu Jitsu University.

Be patient. Wait for the opponent to move and thus provide an opportunity. Prof. Pedro's type of Jiu Jitsu is not about time limits and points. Do not be impatient and overreach.

This attitude has utility outside the gym and Jiu Jitsu.

Conceal your cards and make the opponent show his

Stay in a safe position and let the opponent try his attacks, so you get an idea of his techniques and strategy.

The analogy is a game of poker. It will be much easier to win if you can entice the opponent to show you their cards while you keep your own concealed.

Leverage, Timing, Intelligence, Details, Mechanics

Explore ways to make the techniques as effortless as possible, using leverage and timing rather than power and explosiveness. Power and explosiveness can be useful additions, but are never a substitute for leverage and proper technique.

White belt Jiu Jitsu uses 100% effort, often for 0% result. We want 20% effort to produce 80% of the results through intelligent use of leverage and body mechanics.

Study and understanding of body mechanics can yield big dividends in developing good Jiu Jitsu.

There are small details in every technique that can make a huge difference to their efficacy. Often these details are almost invisible even to the trained eye. This is the "invisible" or "hidden" Jiu Jitsu Rickson, Henry Akins, etc. talk about.


Most techniques, especially sweeps or reversals require you to fully attach yourself to your opponent in some way.

Countering these techniques usually requires you to detach or disengage yourself from that attachment in some way and move in a different direction, perhaps around the opponent's attachment to you. Perhaps illustrated best by the mount escape and counter thereto described below.

Confusing the Computer

The human motor nervous system deals well with countering a sustained application of force, as it can set itself against it. It is far less competent against force applied in a shaking or stuttering fashion. The nervous does not know when to apply tension to counter the force and finds it difficult to keep up. "Confusing the computer".

Prof. Pedro demonstrated this by having John Smallios overhooking his arm, and trying to pull his arm free with  a sustained pull. All he could do was pull John across the mat, still connected.

When the Prof. instead posted with his free hand on John's shoulder and used a series of fast little tugs, it was comparatively easy for him to free his arm.

Most of us have experienced escaping an armbar from guard by freeing our arm in a series of small movements.

Pedro also demonstrated how he used a shaking movement to dislodge the guy (Marlon Lambert) he'd lifted in closed guard for a standing guard pass.

Crossing the Line

There comes a point when defending a technique, like a guard pass, where he "crosses the line" and resisting the technique becomes ineffective. When this happens you need to allow his momentum to carry through, but move him in that direction a lot farther than he wanted to go. See the knee slice pass counter below.


See wrestling as giving something to get something, "negotiating a deal". You might have to get him to deal with a problem or pretend to give him something in one area to set up an attack elsewhere. Illustrated with the harpoon sweep.


Persistence in chasing a technique or going for it in a roll or match isn't necessarily a good thing. You are "showing your cards" to the opponent. Mix it up, bother him with a variety of attacks and moves to unsettle him to keep him guessing.

Prediction, Expectation

If he gets one hand in your collar, you can be pretty sure he would like to get the other one in and go for the choke. Be ready to counter obvious follow ups like this and exploit them. You can also control the elbow of the hand in the collar to make choking more difficult. The hand in the collar is not the only circumstance where this concept could be applied. If you know what he's likely to do in a particular position, take preemptive steps to make it more difficult to get what he wants.

The mat is your best friend

Use the floor for base. The floor allows a base for you to move and apply or receive force.

50% Credit, 50% Responsibility

Both you and your training partner or opponent have and have to take 50% of the credit, and 50% of the responsibility for everything that happens on the mat.

(To be honest, I've forgotten the context and larger story behind this idea. I would be grateful if anyone could remind me).


Training should be about exploration and play, learning to use the mechanics and leverage in an intelligent fashion, rather than trying to beat each other up using brute force. But it should be about patience and eventual submission rather than racking up points.


Note: the techniques demonstrated and practised resulted from Prof. Pedro asking us what we wanted to see, problems we were having, etc. Unscripted.

Bridge and Roll Escape from Mount

We did this in several stages to explore various mechanics.

1. He puts his R hand in your R collar to set up a choke. Grip his R forearm (at the wrist rather than the elbow) with your R hand, not thumb, and pin it to your chest. Grab his R sleeve above the elbow with your L hand. He should try to pull his R hand out. As he tries to remove his hand, bridge and lift your hips, barely a centimeter. He should find himself falling forward and have to post with his L hand to avoid face planting. Experiment to find the smallest lift of your hips necessary to cause him to fall forward. It really is very small.

2. This time, attach yourself to his hips completely by connecting you elbows to his thighs. There should be no play between his hips and yours. As soon as your hips move, so should he. With your L hand, connect the elbow to the thigh, push R his elbow to your R towards the centre of his chest to counter the possible choke, then reach up for the sleeve grip and reattach the elbow to the thigh. Trap his R foot with your L - toes first, then heel to the mat. Push his R foot across to your L with your L foot to disrupt his base. Your R foot goes between his feet as close to your butt as possible. Lift your hips as in the first stage, but further now so as to take him to your L. Keep bridging - your goal now is to put his R shoulder on the mat. His R ankle should be caught by your L shin as you bridge. Once his R shoulder hits the mat, your R foot comes off the floor and takes a big step over to your L as you roll him over. Put the R foot down on the mat, not the knee ,and drive your knee into his L hip. This placement will stop any attempt he makes to keep rolling you to Your R. Consolidate your base and prepare to pass. Be prepared to block his L hand from going for the cross collar choke after or during the roll with your L or R hand.

You can stop him getting a decent grip on your collar in the beginning by grabbing each collar with your same side hand and pulling down, Thus removing the gap he needs to get his hand in deep.

3. He may post with his L hand over and to the L of your head with his L hand to stop you rolling him. You can nullify the effect of this by taking your head away to the R, effectively bridging on your L ear and shoulder, continually trying to bring your L shoulder underneath you and allowing you to turn face down. If done correctly this will make his post ineffectual.

This video from Rickson on This Week In BJJ illustrates this:

That was part 4 of 4. The other parts have more invisible Jiu Jitsu. And it's Rickson, so ... just watch them.

On the other hand

The other side of this was what the top guy should do in this situation.

Recognise the potential leverage he has on your R arm in the collar. Don't give him the leverage by trying to pull your arm out.

Instead, push down on his chest with your R elbow, disengage your hips and slide  to a sidemount / technical mount facing R, moving around the point of leverage, timing it as he tries to roll. Keep the R hand grip and Trap his R elbow with your chest. You should end up with an underhook on his R arm, and then are in a good position to go for the half nelson lapel choke.

Should he fight the choke, you have other options from here, e.g. top kimura, or pick up his bottom elbow with your L hand and slide up to S mount, then armbar.

Bottom Turtle

Multiple stages as for the mount escape.

1. Rule #1: survival. DON'T put your hands on the floor! Stay on elbows, and active toes, not ballerina feet. If he is on your L side/back, he will try to get his R knee between your L elbow and knee, grab your R collar with his L hand for the clock choke, and/or grab your R lapel under the armpit to open the collar,  or put in in the crease of your hip for the spiral ride, etc. Your hands are crossed. If he is on your L, put your L thumb in your R collar to block any choke, and use your R hand to block his L hand coming in. Your L arm is "hidden" by your R. If he swaps sides, you should do the same. Practice this until you are comfortable surviving attacks in this position.

2. He has side/back control on your L.With your active toes, lift your hips up. You want him to slide forward and post on the mat. Extend your L leg and place your L foot between his as you collapse onto your R hip, sort of driving underneath him. Try to catch his R arm between your ribs and your R leg. Come up on your R hand and roll him over you as you turn to your L and sit up. Grab his L pants leg at the knee with your L and tiurn towards his feet to move to side control. Or step over both legs with your R leg, hooking them both behind your R knee and go to mount (note you are using your one limb to trap his two, almost always a good thing).

3. (Demonstrated by Phil Grepsas, we did not drill this) If you can't trap his R arm above, instead, put your L knee between his instead of your foot, attaching your hips to his. Pull your L foot toward you, dragging his lower leg with it to disrupt his base. Drive to your L pushing with your arms and R leg to push him onto his L side and roll over the top of him, basing out with your R foot behind you as you extract your L leg, to finish in side control.

To be honest, I don't feel that I completely got the feel of either reversal/sweep technique. Prof. Pedro mentioned Eduardo Telles in glowing terms while this was going on, and I intend to revisit his "Turtle Guard" videos in detail in the very near future to get a better handle on them.

Kneeride Escape

Demonstrated, not practised.

He has kneeride on your R side with his R hand in your collar. Your R hand goes under his L arm and cups his L knee, just above the kneecap. Hold his R elbow with your L hand to prevent him crushing down or choking you. Hold his knee in place and use your feet to walk your body to the L out from under his knee. Don't turn towards him, just stay flat. If he stands up tall. block his femur near the knee to stop him getting it back. If his knee goes to the floor, block it and shrimp away.Near the knee provides the best leverage. From here you can look at recovering to guard, etc. Be alert for him trying to grab your other collar with his L and choking. Intercept and grab his L arm with both of yours, keep it controlled with your L as you get your R hand under his R arm.

If you can't get your R hand under, a slight bridge and turn towards him will create space.

If he grabs your R arm with his L and tries to pull it up and extend it as a prelude to an armbar, post out on your L with your L foot, shin at about 45 degrees, so you can you can turn slightly on your side. This will give you the base and structure you need to pull your elbow down to your hip and keep it there. He can't armbar you now - he may switch his L hand to try the cross choke, in which case you grab it as above - now your R hand is free and you can get your R hand under his R arm to set up the escape.

Countering the knee-cut pass

Demonstrated, not drilled. I must admit I didn't get the best view of this or the best understanding of the details.

He is passing to your R, his R knee/shin passing over your R thigh. You may be able to block him with stiff arms, etc, but there comes a point where he "crosses the line", and even if you block him with your hands he will still be able to slide his hip and knee through and pass.

If this happens you change strategy and instead help him on his way, but further than he wanted, by bumping him overhead with your L knee, and an underhook if you have it, then either get his back or put him on his. If he turns to guard you want to make sure you control his R leg with both of yours so you end up in top half guard.

Professor did some nifty handfighting here, to deal with the situation where he has a grip on your R arm with his left and is pulling up to keep you flat and stop you blocking his knee with your elbow. I must admit I didn't get a great view of this.

I can't see this approach working if he gets a deep underhook on your L arm with his R. Which implies you try to avoid that at all costs, but get your own underhook if you can. Other people taught me that the best defence against the knee cut passes is for you to get that underhook and guide him overhead.

Harpoon Sweep

Also called a "Rolling Reversal" (by John Will et al). Demonstrated, not practised.

The basic move is shown here by Prof Pedro:

One of the problems often encountered here is that (per the above position) the opponent will use his R arm to post out and block the sweep. If you try to pull guard from here by sliding your R knee under his R hip, you may be able to entice him to bring that R hand back over the R side of your body to block the guard pull - which would then be the perfect time to hit the sweep, as his R arm is no longer in position to post and stop the sweep.

More harpoon sweep stuff here:

"Single arm" guard break

Prof. developed this when he had a significant injury to one arm which made it difficult for him to full extend it or push or pull with any authority. How, then, do we break open the closed guard from here?

You have your L arm holding down his hips. Instead of using your R arm to control his chest and stop him sitting up or pulling you in, come up on your R foot next to his hip and drive your R knee across his hip to the L. Knee pushes across and down. If you can grip his collars with your R you can also drag his shoulders across to your R, thus putting a sideways bend in his spine. The stress on his spine and ankle grip should allow you to open his legs by pushing his R knee down with your L hand.

If you stand up, from here you can use a shaking technique to "confuse the computer" and break the grip with his legs.

I am probably not doing the seminar justice. It was really thought provoking and made me want to explore doing just about everything differently. The gym should be like a laboratory, not a gladiatorial arena.

Prof Pedro Sauer is a nice, friendly man who is also a Jiu Jitsu master.

Matt Klein, Master Pedro, Marlon Lambert, me doing my best Stephan Kesting impersonation

Monday, October 17, 2016

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Hmmm...

I've had an interest in martial arts since seeing a movie trailer for a film called "The Chinese Boxer" in my mid-teens. Shortly thereafter, I went to the cinema to see "Five Fingers of Death."
Serendipity took a couple of years to bring David Crook into my life, or mine into his. I trained Kung Fu with him for eighteen fantastic months, pretty much all private lessons, him and me in a park across the road from the building in which we both worked.
Martial arts did become a passion, avid practice of various Kung Fu styles but definitely majoring in Wing Chun, with Rick Spain, earning a gold instructor's sash after about six years, and a red Master's level sash after about twenty. Alongside this I was training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and was awarded my black belt at the end of 2013 by Anthony Lange ... About a week before I retired from full time work as a computer programmer.
My passion was martial arts. I have taught it on and off for at least twenty years. I taught two or more regular evening classes a week for years. Sometimes I totally loved it, other times not quite so much.
Make your job your passion, and you'll never work a day in your life. I thought about making that jump, pulling the trigger starting an academy, getting paid for my passion.
I never did. And looking back, I don't regret it.
I was good at maths and a bit of a Science nerd at school. Not an avid student, did enough to make it through without busting a gut. I majored in computer science and pure mathematics at university. Worked as a programmer while slowly and reluctantly becoming a responsible adult. Took responsibility for computer operations at one job, and found I was actually starting to enjoy myself there. Good friends, met my future wife at work.
I've had seven jobs, though a couple were for consulting companies where I had multiple assignments and sites. I was retrenched/fired twice. Excellent times, horrible times. Always at least a couple of good friends at work. As at the martial arts academies.
Coming out the other end, I was free. I could train martial arts pretty much as often as my body could handle and my wife could tolerate. But ... I took an online course on Android development. It took most of a year. I got full marks for every module and assignment, and my final project won a prize ... One of the top thirty projects from a starting student base of several thousand. It was hard work and I only just got it completed on time.
I've done other programming courses since. I'm doing on now on Java and Data Structures. And this is exactly what I want to be doing with my time. Besides the 3-5 Jiu Jitsu sessions per week and walks and runs in Pennant Hills Park, plus time with my wife and cats.
I wouldn't consider programming my passion, ever. But as a career choice ... Things worked out very well. And most of what I wanted from martial arts I've managed to get, even as an avocation.
More than one way to follow that passion and live a good life.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

John Will seminar 9th Oct 2016 - Ashi Garami, footlocks

Ashi Garami is best translated as "leg entanglement" or "leg control".

In developing leg attacks, same as with most of Jiu Jitsu, we need to work on control, and control positions, before considering how to apply submissions. John's strong belief is that one has no business playing around with footlocks until an understanding of ashi garami has been developed.

Introductory and warmup drills come first.

Drill 1 - Standing Ashi to Ashi

You are lying on your back. Your partner is standing over you, one of his feet in each of your armpits.

Wrap your L arm around his R ankle like an overhook. It should be deep and tight, with your L fist on your chest. Lift your legs and drive your hips up, wrapping your L leg around the back of his R thigh and the L heel over the front of his R hip, toes pointing out (to your L). Your L knee comes between his legs. Try to touch your R knee to your L shin and clamp the leg tight. This is similar to a single leg X guard, but closer to regular ashi garami.

Release the legs and let the hips drop back down. Now wrap his L leg with your R arm, and perform the same movement on the other side.


Drill 2 - Seated Ashi to Ashi

You are both sitting facing each other, legs out in front. You can pummel with your legs similarly to the way you can pummel standing with your arms. You win the pummel by getting both your legs inside his. That way you can footlock either of his feet, but he cannot footlock either of yours.

Get a fairly tight overhook on both his ankles with both arms. Your R foot moves outside his L hip. Your L knee comes up between his legs as you roll onto your R, placing the sole or instep of your R foot, heel towards the midline of his body, on his L hip and ribs.  Pinch your L knee onto your R shin and lay on your L elbow, your ribs keeping his L foot trapped. You are now in the regular ashi garami position. John Danaher would have you curl your R toes and push with the foot to make it harder for him to push it off his ribs.

Take your R foot off his hip. Take your L knee out and straighten the leg as you roll to your L, taking him with you. roll toward your L side, drive your R knee between his legs, then put the L foot on his hip/ribs. Pinch your R knee onto the L shin to consolidate the ashi garami position.

(I found it was important to, when I took my L knee out, to keep my L foot a short distance from his hip, otherwise my  L gi pant leg would catch under his hip, stopping me from then being able to put my L foot on his hip. Should be safe provided you keep the foot flat and move reasonably quickly. Plus, it's a drill).

It is important your partner be compliant and move with you cooperatively. It is in the best interest of his knees and ankles.

Pretty much what we did at the seminar

Eddie Cummings and ashi. Arm position is different - they do more heel hooks than footlocks

Drill 3 - Triple leg position

As for drill 2, get regular ashi (garami) on his L leg.

Roll back to your L and get your L hook under his R knee. Use the L hook to lift his R leg, so you can thread your L shin over his R thigh and under his R knee. His knee will be getting reaped pretty strongly here and he will need to roll with you and bend his L leg to avoid injury. You end up on your L side, still holding his L foot under your R armpit. Roll from your R to L slowly enough to be able to complete all the leg movements - you will not be able to get your R foot under his leg if you roll him fully onto his L side beforehand. This position is called inside ashi.

(A decent picture of this position proves elusive. The Knot video from Reilly Bodycomb below will show it as a transitional position)

Without releasing the overhook with your R arm on his L leg, start rolling back to your R. Take your R foot out, and your L, rolling onto your R side. Your L foot goes next to his L hip, your R foot this time stamps on your L foot, try to hide you feet as close to or behind or under his L hip as you can. This position protects both feet from footlock attempts. This position is outside ashi.

Outside ashi by Eddie Cummings - foot position is different but notice how both feet are well hidden and protected

The "Seed" drill

Beginners are generally discouraged from learning footlocks early, because their success in choosing them over trying to pass the guard can stunt their progress at passing the guard, and working toward a strong top game.

From a strategic point of view, the usual sneaky white belt move of falling back to take a footlock from inside someone's guard is VERY poor.

If he is on his back and you are standing over him, you are in a strong strategic position from which to throw punches, run around his guard, pass, etc ... or to run away.

To sit back for a footlock is NOT the way to follow the "improve your position" mantra of Jiu Jitsu. Position wise, you are giving up a strong position to effectively roll the dice. If the guy can grab your collar, he will get a fairly easy ride to the mount, ground and pound, etc.

A more strategically sound path from which to use ashi garami (leg entanglement, not necessarily the footlock) is for the guy on his back in open guard. And this is what is called the "Seed" drill:

You are on your back. He is in front of you, down near your feet.

Stop him from punching you by using both feet on his ribs. (not hips - he can still hit you with feet on his hips. Foot in hip is for when you have grips on his arms).

If he steps forward, say with his L, wrap that foot up with an overhook with the parallel arm (in this case the R).

Kick your R foot between his legs and "thread the needle" bringing your R leg behind his putting your R foot on his L hip, lifting your hips (as per the first drill above)

Hide your L foot by putting that hook behind his R knee. Turn to your L and sweep him by pushing on his hip with your R leg in a sidekick motion, using the L hook to stop him stepping to compensate. Keep hold of his L ankle the whole time. He should fall over and you should be on your L side. Come up on your L elbow, then hand, and perform a technical standup. You still have hold of his L ankle with your R hand, Your positions are now reversed. You can now run away or take the fight to him.

Your hook behind his knee can stop him rolling and take you straight into inside ashi.

This sequence has a continual improvement of the bottom guy's position. Which is good jiu jitsu. Unlike sitting back for a footlock from top position.

Straight Footlock - upside

Do the seed drill and sweep the guy. He hits the floor, you are on your L side with your L hook behind his R knee and your R foot on his L hip. Use your L hook to lift his leg and insert your R hook under his L leg as well to reach inside ashi. It is essential to use the L hook to ensure he falls on his back and does not roll to his stomach, and to keep his R leg up to get inside ashi.

If you have a deep tight overhook with your R arm on his ankle, the straight footlock is not far away. There are five pressures you can apply from here which will almost certainly break your partner's ankle if done all at once. So for training, drill only one of these pressures at a time. Each should get a tap. In a fight, you'd do all at once.

5 Footlock pressures

From inside ashi, push your R leg straight. This puts torque on his knee.

Thread your L hand under his trapped L leg and grab the outside of your R thigh, This creates a small space which you can use to slide your R ulna (wristwatch bone) right up just above his heel on the Achilles tendon. One you have the R arm positioned right, grab your R fist with your L hand in a guillotine type grip and pull your R thumb up toward your chin. This really digs the sharp ulnar bone into that spot.

Pull the R shoulder back to hyperextend the toes, metatarsals and ankle joint.

Pinch the R elbow into the ribs to torque the foot and ankle.

Drive the hips forward.

Remember, only one pressure at a time in training!

If he rolls - Prone footlock

If you have his L leg and inside ashi, He can really only roll one way without shredding his knee, to his L.

If he rolls L, go with him - "follow the knee".

Roll face down, keeping hold of his L foot with your R arm, Take your R foot out from the "honey hole" as you roll. So it does not get stuck.

In order to avoid being stuck with your hips directly over your knees, "reach out" with your chin and head. so your head ends up further away from him than would be the case if you stayed compact. You can now apply hip pressure as part of the footlock ,which you can't if your hips are directly over your knees.. You should be facing directly down into the mat in your knees and forehead, from where you can apply all the same pressures for the footlock.

If he keeps rolling - back to normal ashi and downside footlock

He keeps rolling, stay with him. As he turns face up, you should already be sliding your L knee between his legs and putting your R foot on his hip/ribs for regular ashi. Go right onto your R side with your R elbow underneath you. The footlock is right there, too. The elbow pinch pressure is already be on, thanks to gravity.

You could then go from regular to inside ashi, and go again, all the way across the mat as a drill. However, we don't want our opponent to keep rolling us off the competition mat, or off a cliff or the edge of Discworld, so, we need to find a way to stop him from rolling. The L hook in inside ashi actually can do this pretty well, but to be sure, and to top him pushing at or kicking at us with that free R leg ...

The Knot

From inside ashi, overhooking his L leg with your R arm, use your L hook to lift his R leg so you can grab his foot (not ankle) with your L hand.

Bring your L knee to your chest and pass your L foot over his R leg. (Place the L foot on the floor here, Dean Lister calls it "Game Over").

Hook your L instep behind your R heel. (This is important, if your feet are the other way round he may be able to use his R leg to kick your L leg away).

Move your butt to go butt to butt with him. (Yes Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, we are playing touch butt). This bends his L leg and exposes his L foot even more. Dean Lister calls this position "Ultimate Game Over". John calls it The Knot. It is also referred to as the Russian Knot.

Sambo practitioner Reilly Bodycomb demonstrates the Knot final position

Nice video demo of an entry to inside ashi and then the Knot by Reilly Bodycomb

Three Rules of Ashi Garami

  • Control the leg (the leg to be footlocked)
  • Follow the Knee aka Follow the Fish
  • Control the other leg

A Drill

You are on your back. He is standing. You go:

Feet on his ribs to keep distance and not get punched.

Overhook the L leg with your R arm.

"Thread the needle" and get single leg X guard on his L leg with your R leg.

Your L hook behind his R knee.

Turn on your L side, sidekick him away and sweep till he falls.

Go to inside ashi.

He rolls, go to prone footlock.

He keeps rolling, regular ashi. Downside footlock. (You could maybe add in going to outside ashi and back here).

He tries to roll again. Go to inside ashi and stop the roll with your hook.

Go to the Knot.

Footlock from standing guard top

For the purpose of providing balance. A footlock from standing in someone's guard which does not require you to compromise your position.

You are standing. His feet are on your ribs.

Use your L hand to knock his L foot into your R armpit. Secure a tight overhook with your R arm.

Push his R knee to the floor with your L hand. (This prevents the footlock escapes where he turns onto his L hip and pulls his foot free at an angle, optionally stomping on your R upper arm with his R foot to assist).

Big step to 1:30 on the clock with your R foot.

Reach out to the R and put your L hand on the mat ouside his L ear. Your L shin goes over his L thigh as you collapse under control onto your forehead and knees.

Take your L foot out from between his legs and put it on his L hip.

Apply the prone footlock, pushing on his hip with your L foot to help drive your hips forward and hold him in place, so he can't come up and try for your back.

This footlock does not require you to go backwards in the positional hierarchy.

A good summary positional video, though it includes some extra positions and leaves out some of those we did in the seminar

A nice related article:

Leg Locks Decoded

A little philosophy

Even if most leglocks are illegal in competition, it is sensible to learn and practice both them and the escapes from them. A standard BJJ maxim is, if you want to be able to counter a move effectively, learn to do that move effectively yourself.

John spoke of inoculating yourself against the threat of footlocks by sensible and graduated exposure to them. He mentioned this book

Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Which is, in essence, about how to thrive in a world of uncertainty. The other books in his Incerto series are excellent also, though perhaps a bit dry and technical for some. He is able to make some pretty cerebral subjects interesting and even entertaining. Taleb's The Black Swan in particular is a favourite book of mine.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Ido Portal's 30/30 squat challenge

I took this up on a whim, perhaps out of boredom and a certain lack of goals since I took a break from online university courses.

Described pretty much completely in this image:

I didn't feel I had any major issues with this posture, though my ankles are a bit stiff, I had one knee arthroscopy about eight years ago and the other one is a slightly dodgy. I used to be able to do pistols (one leg squats), even after the knee op, and I'd like to think I could get them back, this regime maye marking a step along the way. Then again, I used to be able to do standing backflips too, at 59, but I think those are probably a thing of the past now. I'm 61, give me a break.

Ido Portal is known as a "Movement Guru", and has featured on the London Real podcast a couple of times. He also spent some time training UFC champion Conor McGregor, most notably before the latter's loss by submission to Nate Diaz. Nate had some unkind, though extremely funny, things to say about both Conor and Ido before that fight.

(Conor won the rematch on points. It was a great match and fairly close.)

It's hard to work out exactly what Ido's overarching approach is, and at  a reported $1800 per person per seminar you'd have to be keener than I am to find out. That's about ten times as much at least as what my favourite trainer of all time, Steve Maxwell, charges. There are quite a few Youtube videos of Ido's stuff which give a reasonable idea of what he does, and there's no doubt that if you could do all the stuff he can, you'd be a specimen. Though how sustainable it would be into your sixties and beyond is another question.

Good for Jiu Jitsu? Or MMA? Opinions vary. A podcast I listened to with Steve Maxwell had it that motor learning is highly specific ... getting good at a wide range of "generic" movements doesn't necessarily translate into getting good at any of the particular movement patterns you use in Jiu Jitsu. We already have a huge and wide variety of movements to train in any martial art as it is, and adding extra ones doesn't necessarily make us better at the ones we already have to learn.

Opinions on the squat challenge Facebook group vary from the "life changing and affirming", with little info on exactly how, to the "Meh."

I am somewhere in the middle, though probably closer to the latter camp. I have always been pretty active and have done a fair amount of flexibility work. I have a lower back issue for which I received some very good treatment (physiotherapy) in my late thirties which for me really was "life changing". I've always been conscious of the need for constant maintenance regarding my posture and flexibility for that reason.


I could get pretty low in a flat footed squat straight away. I may have got slightly lower, shoulders between my knees, over the thirty days, but it's difficult to quantify.

It's supposed to help your digestion and elimination. I think it did, though squatting low on a full stomach is not a good idea. Hard to quantify.

My knees felt a bit creaky at the start but I quickly adjusted. It's debatable whether this was mental or physical. After 30 days I definitely feel more confident that my patellas (patella? Plural?) aren't suddenly going to be fired off into space when my knee ligaments reach breaking point. I feel I could go back to doing one legged squats with a bit more preparation and persistence. And, yes, patience.

I can stay in the position for maybe three minutes without everything starting to ache or feel like it's falling asleep. People claim they got to the point where squatting deep is more comfortable than standing, but not me. I watched a show about Chinese migrant workers' kids who got left for years with grandparents or in institutions with no contact from their parents. Quite sad. One of the grannies there was always hanging around in a deep squat. Maybe you have to to start as a kid.

You can either turn your feet out wide, which allows your hips to sink deep but puts rotational pressure on your ankles, or have then turned in a bit more in which case flexibility in the ankles, calves and achilles tendons become the limiting factor. Some people can just about put their butts on the ground (I can't, but from the photos it doesn't look like Ido can either, ha ha).

It's supposed to loosen up your hips. Truth be told, for the first couple of weeks my hips had never felt tighter! Worked through it with hip flexor stretches. The muscles around my hips did start to relax towards the end, though it was hardly any sort of quantum leap.

My hips would ache in bed at night, more if I lay on my sides than flat on my back. This was slightly disruptive to my sleep. Truth be told, intensive leg stretching has similar results. Probably related to my lower back issues. Still, I'll be glad to see the back (no pun intended) of that.

This isn't an ability I want to lose as I get older, so I'll keep up the practice. It certainly didn't hurt; But more than a few minutes a day seems like overkill.

I might try this as well:

Ido Portal 2.0 squat challenge

The man bun is a definite no.

On balance, I think this is something to work towards if you can't squat properly, not something you need to do if you already have reasonable movement capability.

Glad I tried it, even more glad to see the back of it

Sunday, September 18, 2016

More Jiu Jitsu Flow drills from Rick Spain

 Drills picked up by Rick Spain from Rigan Machado at The Gathering 2016.

1. Your partner is kneeling, torso vertical. You are in turtle position, on his left next to him, facing the same direction. Roll to your R over your R shoulder to finish with him between your legs in a loose guard. Roll to the other side to end up in turtle on his R side. Repeat on the other side. Repeat.

2. You are on your back. He has a loose side control ("table top") on your R side with both his elbows on your far side.  You have you R elbow in his L hip, L arm underhooked under his R armpit. Swing your legs in a pendulum fashion similar to the crossover escape from front control. Use the momentum to come out the far side (on his R), coming up on your R elbow to your knees, roughly parallel to him on his R. He then shoulder rolls to put you in his guard. Repeat.

(Not sure if I remembered that one (2) correctly. You could make it a continuous drill by you coming out from under as above, then he shoulder rolls to guard, then you pass his guard (somehow - basic pass, knee through, etc.) to end up in side control. Then it's his turn.)

3. You are kneeling, torso vertical. Your partner is turtled on your left. He shoulder rolls to his R to put you in his guard as in drill 1. Catch his L leg with your R hand, pin his R knee to the floor with your L and initiate a knee-through pass over his R thigh with your L knee. Switch onto your L hip, keeping control of his R leg with your L shin. Pull/push his L leg down so you can hook it with the back of your L shin. Triangle your L shin with your R knee and come to your knees, trapping his L leg with yours. Roll over your L shoulder over him towards his legs for a Twister Roll. You should end up behind him, grab his belt or collar, get your R hook in on his R leg and secure a seatbelt control with your arms. Let him out. His turn. Repeat, keep swapping.

4. You have mount. His arms are up in the "scared little girl" position protecting his neck. Grip both his sleeves with the C finger grip, but the thumbs not involved, Now put your hands on his wrists so the fingers are in one side and the thumb on the other. Pop up to your feet, but stay fairly low, pulling his arms straight, flaring them out. Trap his L arm with your R shin. Stay up on your L foot. Manipulate his R arm, bending his it into a kimura position over your L knee. Secure the kimura grip and apply the submission. Repeat.

5. Same starting position as for 4. Pin his L arm with your R shin and manipulate his R arm into the kimura position as before. Post on your L arm and R foot, control his L elbow with your R arm and take your L foot over his head to the R side of his head. Push with your L arm and roll him to your R so he ends up on his stomach, Your R foot on the mat controlling the descent, until you finish in an omoplata position  with his L arm trapped with him face down to your L. Adjust your position and apply the omoplata finish. Always roll backwards to undo the omoplata for safety, after you get the tap.

6. Same start as for 4 and 5. Get his arm bent as for the kimura. This time, reach under your L leg with your L arm to grab the back of his collar. Fall onto your L hip and roll across your back, taking your L shin over his head next to his R ear as you roll. You may be able to use your R hand to assist with getting your L foot into the right position. If he stays sitting up, you may be able to underhook his L arm with yours, so you can then omoplata his R arm while pulling back on his L. If he goes straight to his stomach. just apply the omoplata as above. If he is flat and you move your hips away from him in the omoplata position, you may still be able to fish for that L arm for extra control.

7. You have mount and the grips as before. He is not allowing you to get the arms. Jump to your feet and sit the backs of your thighs on his elbows. Transfer both grips to his R sleeve and yank it upward, two hands on one. Push his R hand to your R hip with your L, pick up his head with your R and slide your R shin behind his neck, triangling it off with your L knee for the mounted triangle.

8. Same start as in 8, pulling up with both hands on his L. Slide your R shin around his neck as before, but go a little further and get on your R side until your R foot is on his R collar bone, Keep moving around behind him and secure the reverse triangle with his L arm in. Hide the L foot behind his L hip. If he manages to turn toward you, just change back to the normal triangle from guard. If He postures up from there, change to the armbar from guard.

9. You are mounted with the same grips as before. He is not giving you the arms again. This time, stand up fully and move back. dragging him up and pulling his arm away from his body. Let go his L arm and move to 2 on 1 on his R arm. Step up toward his shoulder with your L leg and put your weight on it so the R leg is light. swing the R leg over the L (his L) side of his neck and collapse onto that shin, to again take the mounted triangle.

10. As for 10, stand up, step back and pull his arms away from his body. Step your R foot over next to his R hip. Push his L arm next to his R ribs with your R and push his R arm across his body with your L to roll him onto his L side. Pull his R arm up with your L as you put your R knee on his ribs under his shoulder, Transfer your R grip to his R arm as well, keeping it straight and the R hand well away from any attempt from him to grab it with his L. Step over his head with your L foot and sit down, applying the armbar on his R arm, your R foot unnder his shoulder blade so his shoulder is well controlled.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rigan Machado Seminar 17 Sep 2016 - Jiu Jitsu Flow

The seminar was held on The Roof at Langes MMA.

Rigan developed Jiu Jitsu flow to better serve his celebrity students, those who cannot afford for their faces to be marked, damaged or disfigured like the rest of us. Ashton Kucher, etc.

Rigan Machado designs jiu jitsu system without sparring for celebrities/

The Jiu Jitsu Flow curriculum does not involve hard sparring. Nor are regular Jiu Jitsu belts awarded. There are three levels in the curriculum, beginner, intermediate and advanced.

About 70 flow drills joining multiple techniques are included, similar to those included below.While Jiu Jitsu Flow is not competitive, Rigan claimed that some of his students who practised Jiu Jitsu Flow had had competitive success.

The aim is to perform the drills repetitively, to the point where thoinking about the individual movements is no longer necessary. It's all about continuous movement, transition, and flow.


1. He is in your closed guard, you have two sleeve grips. Put your L foot on the floor, and use it to turn onto your R hip while moving your hips to the L. Keep your R leg tight to his torso so he can't push it down. L shin goes across his torso diagonally. Get your L foot on his R hip, the push away to get your R foot on his L hip for a baby spider / foot on hip shin on bicep guard.Work your hips away from him until you have enough space to put your feet on the mat between his knees for a butterfly guard. Sit up and get both underhooks, don't have to be too deep. Rock back in butterfly to lift his hips, transfer your hands onto his shoulders so you can push his shoulders up with your hands while lifting his hips with your hooks. He should land on his feet, straddled, with your hooks still in. Underhook his L leg with your R hand, disengage your R hook and spin under him to X guard with your legs hooking his R leg,  your R underhook on his l leg. Grab his R collar with your L hand and pull down so he cannot posture up. Push his R leg away with your hooks, peforming the leg split sweep. As the weight comes off his R leg, you can come to sitting and then do a technical standup to sweep him onto his back. As he is swept, he should already be getting grips to move to spider guard with his feet on your biceps. From here he pulls you into closed guard. His turn. Repeat.

2. He is standing facing you, you are lying on your back, hooks inside his knees, hands behind your head. Put your L foot on his thigh (not his knee, safety). Push his L leg with your foot and pull with your R hook to get him to turn to his R a bit. Change your feet around to pull de la Riva guard with the outside hook on his L leg.  Crunch and move your head and torso around to your R to start getting behind him. Your R foot drives through to hook his R leg as your L DLR hook changes to behind his L leg. Pull, push and crunch to get directly behind him. Disengage the hooks. He turns to face you again. Repeat. Hands behind your head the whole time.

3. He is standing facing away from you. You are on your back with two hooks inside his knees. Grab his R ankle with your R hand. He turns clockwise 180 degrees pivoting on his R foot  so he is now standing facing the space next to you on your R. Pull DLR guard, outside hook on his R leg. Move head and torso towards his back. Change hooks as in 2 to get behind him. It may help to change hand grips on his ankle to facilitate getting behind him. Grab his L ankle. He steps anticlockwise pivoting on his L foot. Repeat the drill, getting DLR and then to his back on the other side.

4. You are both standing. Get judo grips, his R sleeve with your L, his L collar with your R. Put your L foot on his hip, pull guard, swinging your R leg out clockwise, keeping it well away from his grip. Put your R foot on his shoulder or bicep. Change grips on his R sleeve to your R hand, grab his R ankle with your L.  Move your torso and head toward his back, change L to R grip on his R ankle, and change hooks as in 2 and 3 to get behind him. Push his knees out with your ankles to get him to drop his hips. Reach up and grab his belt at the back. Repeat.

We drilled the above five or ten times each, swapping partners in sequence. Rigan urged us to go fast, flow, and think about what we were doing as little as possible. Let muscle memory take over.

A good sequence for a class might be 5 or 10 reps of technique 1, then the other partner, then the same with the other three techniques, repeating the whole sequence up to 4 times.

5. Your partner is on his L knee with his R foot out to the side so his R leg is fairly straight. Get half guard facing him on his R leg, L arm around his leg, posted up on your R elbow. Your legs should be in a suitable control position on his leg. Come off your R elbow and roll to your L onto your L side, bringing his R leg with you, so you end up in deep half guard. Head should be on his L thigh as if lying on a pillow, you can take your R foot over his R leg to the floor to keep his leg controlled. Now take him back in the reverse direction so you end up facing him, coming up on your R elbow so you are back to the starting position. Repeat.

6. You are sitting in front of your kneeling partner with your L hand gripping his R collar. Slide your R leg between his knees and pull Z guard. Use the collar to push him away to the R and take the weight off his R knee, then spin underneath him all the way to deep half guard on his R leg. Spin back as in 5, but this time as you come up on the R elbow use it to come to your knees with your legs still controlling his R leg, so you are now facing his R side on your knees. Grab his L knee with your R hand, his L ankle with your L hand and drive him over his L shin onto his L side or back. you can now kneel up and allow him to perform the same drill on you.

7. You have butterfly guard on your kneeling partner. Get double unders, rock him up and use the elevator to get him to his feet above you. Move to X guard as in sequence 1. You can get the second X guard hook in, but you'll have to take it out again. This time he drops his L knee to the floor near your head. Move to deep half guard on your L side, moving your legs to keep appropriate controls. Your L arm probably moves from his L knee to his L hip. Come to your knees and take him down as in 6 above. His turn. Repeat.

8. Butterfly guard, elevator, go for X guard, he drops his L knee as in 7. This time he turns his R foot so the toes are facing away from you and puts his R foot flat on the mat. This time reach your L hand behind/inside his R foot and scoop it toward you. Your L thigh moves from controlling his R shin to on top of his R thigh. Triangle your R leg over your L shin, pull with you L arm on his R ankle while you push down with your R leg on your L to sweep him backwards. You need to keep his L leg controlled with your R arm and head. Keep your legs triangled or at least ankles crossed until you get to your knees and complete the sweep. Traingling the legs or crossing the feet prevents him from being able to get a toehold, or heel hook, etc. His turn. Repeat.

Repeating all of these these drills in sequence and at speed can be a good cardio workout. The drills where you pass through de la Riva guard to the back work the core pretty hard as well. And obviously Jiu Jitsu specific.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Truth bombs from Langes MMA homies

A recent Facebook post I shared brought about an interesting discussion with some of my training buds at Langes MMA, brown and black belts.

The original post was this one:

Survive, Defend, Attack by Cane Prevost

Read it, it's pretty good, especially for us senior citizens.

My shared post generated the following (edited) comments from my training buds at Langes MMA. Guys that Stuart Morton, the artist formerly known as Gut Rupture, calls my "homies". Stu encouraged me to write some more blog posts myself. Good man.

Anyway, read on to be illuminated:

Dave Badlan No i reckon we can better this article. It talks about my old principles of rolling. I always went defensive (as you well knowStuart Morton). However, i now believe you can attack as an older person but more defensively.

Andrew Nerlich
 Give it your best shot Dave Badlan

Dave Badlan Challenge accepted!

Dave Badlan alright here we go....The concept of BJJ is that it is aimed to suit the "weaker" individual - which is what attracted me to the art. However, the article in question talks about defending and then attacking. For many years i held this belief and spent alot of energy defending against the stronger/heavier/better opponent and waited for the opportunity to attack, butfor me it failed for a couple of reasons.

Dave Badlan Firstly when you are defending, you are continually thinking about your limbs and all the ways you can can be subbed and as much as you stay in defence you, ultimately are to a degree vulnerable. Primarlily if (when you are an older grappler) the stronger heavier opponent can just wear you aout through attrition alone. You can ultimately think about attacking but you have to use alot of energy to get there. Sadly as well in the youtube, UFC age and with the availability of information in the mix most "newbies" have researched and have an idea what they're in for before they arrive, which gives then a slighter advantage (to a degree). Add the idea of age into teh equation and as the older grappler you are on the back foot. At this point it sounds like i'm making excuses but hang on...I recently attended a seminar with Robson Moura and he dropped this great concept on me at the end of his seminar... "Scramble". He stated that the man in the street could take him out if he scrambled hard enough, the differnce was jiu jitsu. Robson's idea came from something Rickson Gracie had said years earlier about movement. Robson himslef didn't pick up on it until later in his career but ultimatley acknowledged that movement was crucial in jiu jitsu no matter what/who. His reasoning was that everyone can scramble to survive, scramble with jiu jitsu you thrive. Personally for me this has been a "light bulb" moment in my jiu jitsu journey and as i "scramble" or "move with purpose" i create more opporunities for attack from defence. The article is right in some aspects , but it misses the psychological concept which also prevails and is epitomised by Keith Owen's tapping 10,000 times priciple. The older grappler is oft the underdog but jiu jitsu is for life as the saying goes and if you are prepared for that then you can make it your own. I discussed this with my wife, who knows a thing about high level sport competion and the psychology of it, as she's aged eher mentality and focus has not changed from when she was a younger, stronger athlete, be technical and have fun.

Dave Badlan If i ultimaltely get tapped by a 20 something year old that's cool, if i get tapped by a 60 year old that's cool too, it's the learning expereince that should ultimately be the pardigm shift. Knowing when to move or how to move and at waht pace, defensively, aggressively and with a destination in mind is crucial, but all the time moving with purpose and gaining knowledge from each and every roll. Time on the mat, drilling and just being there is what counts, jiu jitsu is an individual journey for each and every person that takes up the art. Uktimately there is no bad jiu jitsu or way to advance. In the words of a sporting company you just "do it" and realistically only a jiu jitsu practitioner "knows the feeling" and to use an old surfinf adage "the best one on the mat is the one having the most fun"

Alex Newcomb I believe in the 'continual improvement' model. You should always be upgrading your position...even when you are in dominant positions you should be looking to apply more pressure inch by inch towards the sub. If you can be upgrading with economy of energy expenditure then all the better. If you want more of a challenge start in the worst position....then work the upgrade! If you're tired upgrade with better economy and efficiency. Train your body and mind to constantly progress.

Luca Altea Great posts guys, thanks for the efforts. Robson Moura is a poster boy for us small guys! The scramble mentality is a good one to have, however in times when your cardio is not top notch it can be a little bit of a liability for you as well in my opinion.

I've experienced that many times in my bjj journey; my game is all about moving fast but sometimes if I start to gas out with a bigger and stronger opponent doubt enters my mind and I start being very passive and try to survive only which usually leads to a not so enjoyable roll for me 

When stuff flows well though it is great as it is usually a lot easier to find openings with a less experienced opponent if you force the fast scramble on him.

The biggest difference for me though is to have the mentality of always attacking as the great MG says. If your focus is thinking of attacking all the time, it really changes the dynamics of the roll as people need to deal with your attacks rather than have the time to think about passing etc. This creates a lot of openings where you can start to work your sequences. I've been struggling with this a lot as my game and personality is naturally relaxed and a little passive but I've been trying to change this.

It is also important to be able to be comfortable and relaxed in bad positions though, but this is always being a forced priority for me due to my size  On that, my focus it's been to prevent at any cost the really bad positions like side control (scramble scramble scramble again) rather than focus too much on the costly escapes once you are there.

Andrew Nerlich Interesting stuff all. Going to get my mats out this arvo and work on earning the nickname of the Midnight Scrambler. Comes back to effective efficient movement, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Luca Altea, I'm a bit too relaxed and passive myself.

Alex Newcomb Good stuff Andrew.
I think this one sums up the journey for me:
'simplicity is the ultimate sophistication' -Leonardo Da Vinci
The key is identifying the patterns of simplicity.

Miklos Boethy: Hi guys I have to agree great post! And convocation. I will put my 2 bobs worth in. I agree with all of it. The article Survive, Defend, Attack by Cane Prevost was a good read and I agree with it. When I read it I recognised tactics that I use often and that is waiting or patience. This I use with most opponents I also attack in this time but with annoying stuff that I don’t have to change my position much such as wrist locks. Often I use my structure while I am in turtle and wait for them to react (not just turtle) when their body weight and position shifts then is the time to scramble attack and advance position with the understanding that I may have to retreat to my defensive position again. Therefore I suggest that the key is timing. With the right timing all the other things will work and this comes from time on the matts which translates to experience which ultimately not luck.

 Andrew Nerlich Some thoughts related to this from the Dave Camarillo seminar I attended last weekend. Dave Badlan this is what I was talking about when I mentioned philosophy:

Andrew Nerlich Dave talked about a spectrum of control, from a perfect rock solid pin at one end, to a scramble to the other. He said that if he feels he is losing a pin and it is heading toward a scramble, he wants to be the one to initiate the scramble, thus staying ahead of the game. We should avoid having any emotional attachment to a position, lest we try too hard to "hang on to a sinking ship" and lose. We just move on to the next position and let the failed one go.

"Avoiding emotional attachment to a position" sounds very Zen and a bit spacey, but any BJJ guy will know exactly what is meant.

We discussed this specifically with regard to the elbow push escape. Dave said that to resist the elbow push actually gives the guy the point to push off which makes the escape work. Instead Dave will go with the elbow push and just move around to another control.

Midnight Scrambler (or close enough):

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Dave Camarillo seminar - Kimura grip, armbar

Dave Camarillo is a black belt in both judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a high profile trainer of MMA fighters, including a number of UFC veterans. He also consults on defense and tactical matters to a variety of police and military organisations.

A bio of Dave from his Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu website

The two hour seminar was on the kimura grip, setting up the far side armbar, and then attacking with the Kimura or straight armbar. It was held at Woolloomooloo PCYC on Saturday 3 September 2016.

The Kimura Grip

To practise, start with your role player* on his R side with you on his L. Get an underhook on his L arm with your L. Grip his L wrist with your R hand, but reach around his forearm as much as you can so you can twist it strongly back towards you. This helps "compact" his elbow joint to increase control when the Kimura grip is finalised. Avoid gripping with the thumb as the leverage is actually decreased.

* Dave dislikes the term "partner" for the person on whom techniques are practised. He prefers the term role player, as this implies the other guy has a potentially active role to play, rather than just lying there like a corpse.

Place your R wrist on top of your L so the wrist bones cross. You do not really need to grip your R arm with your L hand. Push down with both hands, try to push his elbow away from you slightly, but keep his hand close to the centre of his chest. There should be considerable pressure inside the elbow joint, like a bicep slicer. You are unlikely to damage the arm, but he should feel seriously uncomfortable. Dave's kimura system tries to inflict this discomfort all the time and from every position. He warned us that our arms would hurt after the seminar. And they did. He also said that his students develop a tolerance to this discomfort.

Your wrists should both be bent forward, not back. This feels and is stronger.

You should be able to stand up and drag him around the mat, have him struggle to escape, etc. and still keep him under control by keeping pushing your arms straight, and keeping his hand in the centre of his chest. And this was a drill we practised in the seminar.

Side control

Dave said he believes that side control is the most powerful pinning position, superior to mount or back control, both of which in his opinion are easier to escape from.
Dave emphasised the importance of the "battle zone", the space between the bottom guy's near hip and the top guy's knee, arm or hip controls. His goal is to use the frames of his near elbow or knee to occupy the battle zone and set up an escape, to guard being an obvious one. Our task on top is to occupy and monitor the battle zone, denying his ability to employ those frames.

Also vital is to understand we are trying to attain, and keep a "pin" here, completely controlling the position. If we have do not have a solid pin, we are unlikely to achieve a submission. If our pin is super strong, the opponent's own increasing desperation to escape may present submissions to us.

Dave talked about a spectrum of control, from a perfect rock solid pin at one end, to a scramble to the other. He said that if he feels he is losing a pin and it is heading toward a scramble, he wants to be the one to initiate the scramble, thus staying ahead of the game. We should avoid having any emotional attachment to a position, lest we try too hard to "hang on to a sinking ship" and lose. We just move on to the next position and let the failed one go.

"Avoiding emotional attachment to a position" sounds very Zen and a bit spacey, but any BJJ guy will know exactly what is meant.

We discussed this specifically with regard to the elbow push escape. Dave said that to resist the elbow push actually gives the guy the point to push off which makes the escape work. Instead Dave will go with the elbow push and just move around to another control.

Getting the far side underhook

We have top of side control on the guy's R. Our R knee is occupying the battle zone next to his R hip. We hide our R foot by bringing it underneath us. Our L foot is active, we are up on the inside of the foot and using active toes. Our R knee stays light on the mat so it can easily follow his hip if he tries to shrimp away, our L foot being the engine that drives that movement.

The position we want is to underhook his L arm with our R.

If you are passing guard or whatever and the opportunity for getting the underhook is there, grab it. The rest of the discussion assumes you are not quite this lucky.

If he is not too tight we may be able to place our R elbow on his chest, and circle our R forearm anticlockwise between out bodies to underhook his L arm. Cup his L shoulder/bicep tight, we can also use our head to control his lower L arm. The L arm should be on the far side. It can be used as a post. If we want a really tight control we can grab his belt with our L hand, or even roll him slightly toward us and grab his belt behind his lower back. This is a very strong control which makes it very hard for him to effectively engage his posterior chain to bridge, etc.

If his elbows are in tight, with his hand in the prayer or "scared little girl" position, switch our base towards his head, grab his L elbow or sleeve, pull it up and use our R hip to kill his R elbow control on our L hip. Switch back and you have then effectively killed his near side arm. Hold his L wrist with your R hand. You could try pushing it to the floor for an Americana, but don't. Instead, hold his hand in place and weave your head under his forearm, so it ends up next to your R ear. You now have a far side underhook on his L arm.

You now have a solid pin position. Practice switching base towards his head and towards his feet and face down again. This is a position you can and should be ready to return to if the moves toward the submission fail. Get very comfortable in getting this position, and in returning to it from the Kimura control discussed below. Remember, the pin is what enables everything else.

Using the overhook to set up Kimura control

If you get the underhook, but he moves his L forearm in front of your face so he can push on the left side of your head, join your hands in a Gable grip under his arm, R palm up, no thumbs. Keep your L elbow on the mat for base, but pull your hands through strongly so that your R elbow ends up next to you R hip. Make sure your L elbow stays on the mat for base, and control. The R palm is up so that your hands form a "sled" so the joined hands will slide easily. Otherwise, your R fingers would possibly snag on him as you pull the hands through.

First, set your feet. THEN move to front control. Your torso should be pressuring down hard so it and his arm move as one. Push his arm across his body and use that pressure to roll him up on his R side, The pressure should cause his L forearm to come off your face, possible assisted by your L shoulder. Your knees go to the floor, your feet are splayed out and toes actively pressing in on him. There should be no space for him to move his arm at all. You can now set your grips for the kimura control. Neither knee should come up!

Don't try the submission yet! Practice getting from side control to here, then going back to side control, reclaiming the far side underhook from here. And repeat. Uchikomi. The pin and control are way more important than the submission.

Getting the Kimura grip from the far side overhook

From the side control position, set your legs first, always. R knee in the hip, L foot out past his head. Posture up and pull your R elbow to your R hip, bringing his L arm with it and pulling him up on his R side. Bring your L elbow to your hip, with his head in the way. It is vital to control his head and at the same time move it so you can bring your L knee over it to the floor. Strong pressure on his arm with your chest as you move on top, no space. Once you are consolidated here, back the pressure on his arm off just enough to slide your L arm under it and take your R arm out. From here you have arm position to apply the Kimura grip.

Don't try the submission yet! Practice moving from side control with the far side underhook to here, and back. Over and over. Uchikomi. The pin is vital.

Applying the Kimura

You have attained front control as above with the kimura grip. Rather then lifting up and turning, release the pressure just enough to move his L arm from his front to his back. Push his hand down behind his back toward the floor. You can turn anticlockwise and take your L knee off to get a better angle to apply force. Be ready to switch back to side control with the far side underhook if you start to lose it.


Obtain the kimura control from front control as above. Turn to your R and come up on your L foot, the L foot down toward his stomach. Stay on your L knee but turn your L lower leg out behind you, active toes for base. Sit down on your R hip with your R thigh atop his head like an S mount, thus keeping his head controlled. Your weight should be off your L leg, allowing you to take it over his stomach. You still have the kimura grip. And it should make his arm very uncomfortable.

His best defence is the "RNC defence", where his L hand grabs the inside of the R elbow, his R hand blocking the R leg, ideally pushing it off his head to escape.

You have the kimura grip. Go ninety degrees to him, cross your feet with the R foot on the bottom. That way he will find it harder to push that leg off his head. Rather than squeeze your knees, flare them out wide - use the outer thighs to control his head and hips. This Dave calls the SAP ,or Standard Armbar Position.

Practice various control positions from here.

The bridge - let go his arm and grab your R fist with your L hand. Lie back flat for base. Keep the pressure on him with your legs and slightly lift your hips for extra pressure.

Sit up and pull your R hand to your L hip with your L, getting "your hand in the pocket" as deep as possible. Post out with your L hand so you cant get rolled. Still keeping that bicep slicer pressure on his elbow.

With your hand in the pocket fall on your L hip and underhook his L leg. Grab your collar, grab the far pant leg, experiment with different grips.

Sit back up and post with your L. Drive your L arm under his forearm, use your R hand to drag your L hand through and put it in your pocket next to your R hip. Post on your R hand.

Grab your L fist with your R hand and sit back to another bridge.

Practice moving through all these positions. Keeping constant kimura pressure. Some people may give up the arm from sustained pressure.

One finish

Of many possibilities.

Get your L hand in your pocket and fall to the L hip, and underhook his L leg as above. Uncross your legs. Break his grip by pushing your R foot to the floor, and pulling his L elbow away from his torso with a twist to the R. Grab his thumb, adjust the angle if necessary. Dave says pushing your R foot on the floor for base to raise the hips is way more important than squeezing the knees together, and the latter tactic may reduce the power you can put into driving with the hips.

Dave gets the kimura from EVERYWHERE, including standing, it goes into throws, takedowns, chokes, getting the back, etc. He will pass guard and jump straight onto the guy's arm. Very powerful control with lots of options that takes many of his options away.

I would recommend a seminar or training with Dave Camarillo to anyone without hesitation. He has a deep understanding of Jiu Jitsu and a great teaching style, very easy to talk to.