The great escapes!

Tonight drew a close to the proceedings of escaping the control from cross body/side control. The Academy was is high spirits with the up and coming UFC event this weekend.
The Professor addressed the class on the nights agenda and we swiftly went into the warm up which consisted of self defence moves:
I) neck grab defence 1
2) neck grab defence 2
3) surprise haymaker/punch, inclusive of an initial push into the chest area first.
We ended the warm up with the “safe hands” exercise, which again is to teach us where we can put our arms and almost try to keep them safe.
We recapped the positions of the week and did light drills on those, then moving on to the additions for the lesson, first one being a technique to allow yourself to roll the top person so they are mounted or roll to get into cross body on them. We did this a few times went through the normal questions and then progressed.
The next position involved quite a few adjustments, especially when they have tight control. It involved positioning yourself, mainly your head, underneath them more so you could setup an armpit arm-lock. This required quite a few demonstrations and I only saw the arm-lock after the 2nd or 3rd demonstration. This one was practiced several times and personally it clicked after my training partner on the night gave me some excellent feedback.
Finally the last move of the evening was to counter them placing one knee on you with the intentions of gaining full mount. This is involved an element of head control and manipulation of the top person’s momentum. However, the real prize on this move was the potential ankle-lock at the end. Needless to say this was demonstrated a few times and practiced with extreme caution. The other black belt there on the evening was very detailed in explaining its application.
The details exchanged over the last two weeks plus the previous two weeks, for me, was probably the most valuable in terms of defence from being at the bottom. The white belt journey continues…
“Tapping out!”

More cross escapes!    

Tonight was a good night, thoroughly enjoyed for a few reasons.
i) Expanded on from Monday’s lesson on escapes from the cross body position
ii) Lots of wisdom passed on from the Professor to students, in relation to aspects of life outside of jiu-jitsu
We started of with the normal address from the professor on tonight’s activities on the mat, plus the professor also gave us his opinion on the recent Facebook posts about the Royce Vs Shamrock III fight, groin strikes did it happen or not? Rener Gracie’s ‘Gracie Breakdown’, etc, etc… All interesting stuff which nicely set the tone for the evening. We then went into the warm-up which consisted of the following:
Self-defence drills.
i) Pisao kick to the knee, when attacker is attempting to strike
ii) Low kick to the leg
iii) Double grab (On lapels) from the front Defence
iv) ‘Safe hands drill’ – Lots of fun
We then explored the position of being at the bottom of tight side mount control. The details were very intricate and required good use of the head, arms and legs to work as one, to advance the position. Leverage was key, maximising the area of the body that the top person couldn’t control.
We drilled this a few times, with various degrees of success and plenty of questions with respect to different body types.
We continued to practice and moved onto advancing the positions so that we can end up with the top person inside the guard.
We practiced this a lot and again had different demonstrations of what could end up happening if things don’t go according to plan, but that was the ‘teaser’ for the Friday lesson.
In close, the professor lectured us on basics and fundamentals and how important it is to get right as these details will serve us well on the jiu-jitsu journey and then proceeded to challenge us to ‘spar’ or to ‘drill’ considering that most of us were getting some of the details slightly off.
“Tapping out!”

Cross body? what cross body?

We start the week with the professor explaining that we will be going through potential escapes for the cross body positions we learnt last week. Professor also explained that there will be a lot of details this week and effectively with the culmination of the positions plus the escapes will give us a better appreciation for the mechanics of the cross body positions.
The lesson was taken by one of the Professor’s brown belt’s who are on their way to achieving their black belt. We started with a warm-up which consisted of running, turning and dipping. We then did forward rolls, followed by shoulder rolls, then shoulder rolls over an obstacle. We then proceeded to do some drills which were aimed at getting us used to certain motions which are relevant to the escapes we were about to learn.
After we were sufficiently warmed up, we went through a brief philosophy of escapes. In general, having to initiate an escape generally means we’ve compromised ourselves or made a mistake. So not making a mistake was a consideration, but it’s always nice to have some options when things begin to go wrong.
We learnt a basic escape which is initiated early on in preventing someone from actually getting the cross body position on you.
This was practised against different body types to get an understanding of adjustments. We then moved on to advancing the position once the escape was initiated by manoeuvring them to be inside our guard.
After practising this advancement the final detail at the end was to attempt a submission, which came in the form of various arm locks. Which were practised with varying degrees of success.
All in all, it was a excellent lesson and packed with nice details provided by the brown belt and by the professor who over saw the lesson. Professor addressed us at the end and informed us of more body dynamics which opened our eyes to how truly scientific the art of jiu-jitsu really is. More details will be shared in the next lesson and i can hardly wait!
Until next time…
“Tapping out!”

More positions, No problems!

Once again i was able to attend an afternoon session at the academy, where the atmosphere was relaxed and some of the students were talking about the up and coming Royce Gracie vs Ken Shamrock 3 fight. Professor had designs on summarising the week.
On this occasion, one of the Professor’s long serving black belt coaches took the reigns for the warm-up, which i unfortunately sat out due to a hyper extension on my toes that happened during sparring on the Wednesday night class. Believe it or not I was still limping.
My wife accompanied me on this occasion, so with reference to all the positions we went through this week, the recap was beneficial for her as well as me to test my understanding and memory.
We went through all the previous lessons with additional details thrown in. Interestingly enough, my wife did ask the professor some questions on defending themselves if they were ever attacked and they aren’t exactly dressed for it? Professor proceeded to tell her in situations like that then doing what ever was necessary to engage their legs as part of doing basic positions like the guard she’ll have to do, so if it means raises the dress, it means raising the dress!
This lead to a brief discussion about control in the top position and being able to disengage when necessary and extra detail was given to members of the academy that work in law enforcement.
Continuation of drills followed and we got to the point where the professor had an extra technique to introduce, a submission; as per usual one of very many. This involved doing a variation on a ‘north/south choke’ with some different technical details which made it a very subtle but effective choke. Well my wife certainly enjoyed practising on me.
The lesson concluded with a small debate if we should move on with the syllabus or perhaps explore escapes of the positional control… I know what gets my vote!
“Tapping out!”

Position, Position, Position!

The evenings lesson(s) was a continuation of the basics covered with respect to positional control when you’re in the cross body on your opponent. Tonight with this posting, i scarcely know where to begin…
Ok, to start off it was the Professor’s birthday today and to be fair it felt like the academy was treated to a lot of gifts with respect to the content that was passed on from professor to student(s).
The class started with the normal address from the Professor, explaining about the few available spaces on the forthcoming Royler Gracie Seminar on May 28th, potential graduations for the some of the talented white belts, blues, purples, etc… and a hint of excitement with regards to what he was going to share with us tonight.
The warm up was a nice blend of gentle runs, side stepping, backward running, which then lead into self defence drills namely,
1) A drill to test posture when someone is pushing you.
2) A drill to execute a wrist lock (Can also break fingers), when someone places their hand on your chest.
3) A drill to execute another variation of the wrist lock, if they grab your clothing and make a fist.
4) A drill to execute a further variation which involves performing an arm lock if they grab clothing.
5) A drill to execute an escape when someone grabs you from behind and wraps both your arms behind your back.
Then we went into the lesson, firstly doing a recap of the basic positions of positional side/cross body control. We drilled this a few times with a partner, then the avalanche came!
We explored 5 potential positions with additional details thrown in between to again get us thinking; especially about the mind set of what to expect if you have to control a person who doesn’t know jiu-jitsu and that they maybe carrying a concealed weapon or if they did know some jiu-jitsu. The professor makes it a habit to check knowledge when we are thinking about these different positions, in particular about the connections we make, making sure we are aware about other dangers, being able to disengage from them and of course positioning yourself to prevent them from being comfortable and you being able to strike them!
So the first position was explaining what to do if the person on the bottom attempts to put you back in the guard, via some sort of push towards their legs. This involved a re-adjustment of the leg position on the side of the person at the bottom and us maintaining a grip on the opposite side of them on their shoulder.
The second position explained what to do if they try to attempt an elbow escape, this proved to be quite an ingenious counter. Involving a connection to the leg that’s attempting the elbow escape with the top person, being in a position to control the leg and prevent further elbow escapes whilst maintain close control of there hips.
The third position from the previous position is in response to the bottom person attempting to counter by framing up against you on top. To get around this involved another positional adjustment that moved away from their hips and on to their shoulder. Doing this neutralised their ability to work with the frame and again still made it very difficult for them to move out from underneath you.
The last two positions were briefly touched on with more detail promised in the next lesson, all the previous positions were drilled and questions were asked at different stages, some really good questions which makes the whole learning experience at the academy an absolute joy because it triggers lots of other thoughts and also makes the experience hyper immersive! Most of the questions were around size differences between people.
The penultimate position was one to use if for what ever reason you were late with a position change or transition, or perhaps they were able to get on their side to mount their defence of the situation. This position is a way of making an adjustment so that you end up on the other side of the person on the bottom, with the same basic connections of control. This position required use of the knee and arm connecting with them to make this transition fluid from start to finish.
The final position of the evening is another option of regaining full control, but this variation is especially adept for opponents larger than yourself. The mechanics are essentially the same but more emphasis was on use of the elbow.
At this point, there was a closing discussion from the professor about jiu-jitsu, mindset, the intelligence of it, self-defence aspects, truly mind blowing detail and there was so much more he has to teach us. On that note we closed off the lessons for the evening to make way for sparring.
My thoughts… I had to finish the class and run straight to my note pad to take stock of the evenings information overload, i was helped by one of the other academy sisters and as i write this i just remembered another detail of a potential submission from one of the positions! Definitely one of the best evenings I’ve had at the academy and I know there’s plenty more to come. I managed to get a sparring session with the professor and he proceeded to give a demonstration on me of all the positions we worked on for the evening, plus the customary submissions in between.
On that note, it’s time to “Tap out!”

Noughts and cross bodies!

Tonight marked the start of a new topic in the syllabus, positional control in the side/cross body.
Professor mentioned the forth coming seminar on the 28th May with the special guest Royler Gracie being present; also explained the format for the evening and then swiftly put us through the rudimentary warm up.
Tonight we had hip escapes, backward rolls, cart wheels and lizard crawls forwards and backwards! To top of the exercises, Professor told us to pair up and do some very light sparring. This lasted for approximately three rounds and at the end it was safe to say that everyone was sufficiently warmed up.
Professor then explained the basic concepts around the purpose of wanting to have cross/side control on an opponent, he then invited people (me included) up to give our own interpretation of what side/cross positional control was. After he explained the basics of what we are hoping to achieve with this position and explained where to position arms, hips and legs to make sure the basic position was good enough to prevent roll attempts in either direction.
After this was drilled a few times, we then moved onto what to do if the person on the bottom tries to get to the ‘turtle’ position and how we can keep the ‘connection’ with a view of dictating the next position. Again the key detail was in the connections with the person on the bottom. At this point into the lesson one of the more famous members of the EKBJJ brotherhood walked in and due to their ‘dimensions’ provided a decent question for what to do with opponents of their type. Professor explained the mechanics and also demonstrated. In the end the most sensible approach was to move to the position on them which allows you to stand up before they do so that when they do decide to get up you’re ready for an attack on them!
We practised this a few times, before wrapping up for the evening and breaking into some sparring.
My thoughts, a good start to the concepts of the cross body position and i believe it complemented well with the mount position techniques that we learnt months backs. Professor made mention to going into potential escapes on Wednesday, so for me it’s a session that i cannot miss!
Until the next time.. “Tapping out!”

X marks the spot!

I managed to join the afternoon session at the academy, where the professor had plans on wrapping up the week with reviewing the different escapes from the bottom of the mount.
Professor proceeded to explain the afternoon’s lesson and he made mention to all of the different techniques taught this week, namely:
Basic Elbow escape
Basic Elbow escape – Hip bump variation
Basic Elbow escape – Hooking Heel
Basic Elbow escape – Defense of hooking heel (toes pointed straight up) variation 1 – (preventing foot from touching floor)
Basic Elbow escape – Defense of hooking heel (toes pointed straight up) variation 2 – (wrapping the foot)
Additional escapes:
Escape one when top person has you in a modified mount – Leg hook with arm variation
Escape two when top person has you in a modified mount – double hip escape variation
Escape three when top person has you in full mount high up the body
Escape four when top person has you in full mount – hip escape to heel hook
All of the above were practiced today, with varying levels of success and confusion (for me).
The Professor then introduced one more move, a more advanced technique, called the X-Guard!!!
This move was introduced as an additional option from the ‘hip escape to heel hook’ escape. This particular technique gives options of defence as well as attacks, in the form of submissions and sweeps when used correctly. We then drilled this a few times to get acquainted with it’s mechanics. Personally, i wasn’t a big fan but I’m putting that down to limited understanding of the move.
To close of the lesson we did a drill to combine at least 3 of the escapes depending on the top person’s actions. This proved to be a very important drill which, as per usual with the professor, is designed to get us thinking beyond the escapes themselves.
In close, I thoroughly enjoyed the lessons this week and feel more at ease being on my back in a less dominant position.
Until the next time… “Tapping out!”