Chronicles of the arm collector, vol4

New week, same topic… almost… Professor intends to move into double ankle sweeps this week but decided to share additional details on the arm knowledge started from last week. Mainly to focus our attention to how many different scenarios that can bring arm bar/lock opportunities.
Without further ado, we dived straight into a warm up consisting of running, side stepping, backwards running. Then moving to hip escapes and backward rolls. Now we did some different stretches this evening which were new to me but effective. They required use of our belts, focusing on stretching our legs, shoulders, arms and also working core muscles.
Professor then did a quick recap of the last technique taught from Friday’s lesson, which we practiced briefly. He then demonstrated a scenario if the attacker attempts to stand up whilst in the guard, one leg at a time whilst attempting to put one or both hands on our throat. As Professor demonstrated this also gives us an arm bar/lock opportunity, difference being on the emphasis to twist onto our shoulder to secure hyper extension of the elbow joint.
We practiced this a few times, which was slightly tricky given the awkward position of the submission, which i knew was partly due to not doing it before. Added details were also explained about having a higher guard position on them to drive their weight forward making it harder for them to get up. We moved on to the next technique which involved rotating underneath them to off balance them and take them down to the floor. What isn’t nice for the person being swept is that both arms are caught up in the initial arm bar/lock which means it isn’t easy to break fall. I found this out the hard way and crash landed on my shoulder!
We practiced this a few more times, i needed to make a small adjustment as I was getting caught against the leg. This was remedied by pushing on the leg to assist off balancing the person in order to execute the sweep. The Professor went on to  show a further variation in the event that taking the leg wasn’t an option was to go for their hip and pull them down to the floor.
At this point, more explanations came from the Professor about the concepts and ‘fluidity’ of movement to catch someone in the arm bars/locks from different positions and to always be on the look out for them. Understanding positions being the key to knowing how to move next and also to counter certain positions.
Professor also showed us a more elaborate arm bar/lock manoeuvre involving getting someone lifted into the air and literally ‘dropped’ into an arm bar/lock.
He also quickly followed this up with it being not necessarily the best arm bar/lock technique to perform in a street fight. Either way we  attempted a few times, being sure to maintain control of the suspended person at all times.
This ended the lesson, Professor was conscious of the fact that a lot of details were shared this evening and made concerted efforts to answer all questions and encourage the asking of questions.
My thoughts, this was again, a valuable addition to last week’s lessons and also gave me more to think about when attempting submissions. However, after the lesson I drilled the different arm bar/lock’s from the closed guard to get more comfortable with attempting them as I find that i don’t do this often enough when sparring.
“Tapping Out!”

Chronicles of the arm collector, vol3

We have arrived at the end of the week and the Professor had a massive treat in store for us. A lesson passed down from the great man himself, Helio Gracie. Professor described this particular technique he was going to teach us as the glue to all moves. When he first mentioned that, admittedly I wasn’t quite sure of what he meant. But I look down, see my white belt hanging from my waist and realise this is one of those moments not to think but to watch, learn and do!
We went into a warm-up which consisted of recapping the arm bar/lock position taught this week. Once we had done that enough, Professor explained situations that can occur when someone is in your guard and they seem to pass your guard with almost relative ease.
The technique about to be shown is ideal if the person in your guard has double hooks under both arms.
First part involves a head shove followed up by threading an arm inside to lock down one of their arms, having a tight hold on their gi, placing foot onto their hip and performing a hip escape to the side. This will straighten the arm that’s locked down. The other arm is then controlled by the free arm, now at this point moving the leg thats not on the hip to the back and applying pressure on top of your own arm will create a submission attempt on the person.
Lots of technical details on this move, but surprisingly a very simple manoeuvre to complete. The interesting part about this move is that it’s a gateway to other submissions or setups.
We continued to practice this move for the majority of the evening, until the Professor taught us another technique to counter someone’s guard pass attempt. This move involved good use of the legs, framing and manipulation of the arms to put yourself in a position to retake the guard position back.
With this move added to all the details this week meant for a very significant addition to the jiu-jitsu knowledge. Professor gave quite a significant speech on friday evening about the academy, training, getting the most out of the time on the mats and various other things including Royler Gracie’s pending visit next month. The whole week struck a cord with myself, am i actually progressing?, am i doing myself and/or the academy a disservice?
My thoughts, the details this week were awesome, feel very lucky to have close to the original source jiu-jitsu  being taught to me. However,  I feel i’ll need to have periodic spot checks with the Professor to see where  I am potentially going wrong.
“Tapping Out”

Chronicles of the arm collector, vol2

Moving on beautifully from the first lesson of the week, we looked forward to added details to build on what was taught on Monday. Professor made it known that we would be reviewing the lesson from Monday and he was going to add in additional submissions.
As an added treat we were blessed to have one of the Professor’s black belts from the north academy.
We started off with a warm-up as normal, going through the normal routines. We then swiftly went into recapping the previous lesson and started drilling the arm bar/lock again.
Afterwards, Professor showed us an additional arm bar/lock on the other arm. This involved clamping the arm between the head and shoulder then feeling for the elbow to apply pressure.
After practising that a few times, Professor then explained other attacks that could be attempted on us whilst we have them in the guard. They were…
1) If punch attempt misses and the back of the head is grabbed with one arm.
2) Back of the head is pulled
Even though the dynamics were slightly different the end result was the same, an arm bar/lock. In fact, executing the move was slightly easier because with the 100% committal on the attacks effectively ‘gives the arm’ to us to make it easier to catch them in the move.
The only added detail which was divulged to us was on the double hand neck crank, we needed to stop this attack by placing both hands on to the chin. Once the threat had subsided, we can then go ahead to execute the arm bar/lock.
We practiced this diligently making sure to incorporate the proper technique on the arm bar/lock.
Finally on the evening, Professor showed us an additional detail if the person manages to get their arm out of danger. This wasn’t a problem as it provided an opportunity for them to give us an arm bar/lock on the other arm. The important detail here was to create a frame against them and wait for them to attempt a pass to give us the opportunity with the arm bar/lock.
After practising this a few times, the lesson came to an end. Professor again addressed the class on making sure to drill and practise to improve on the details introduced this week.
My thoughts, concepts are very simple and I tend to over think and over complicate things sometimes, I should do less thinking and more doing. As the ‘doing’ will give me insights into how people’s minds work and how they move which in turn will allow me to better execute these techniques.
“Tapping out”

Chronicles of the arm collector, vol1

This week’s tutelage focused on securing the arm bar/lock from the guard… Hold on didn’t we do this already? Yes we did some months back. However, the professor had other ideas on executing the arm lock from the guard as so to get there more efficiently!
We started with the usual warm-up to get us ready for the lesson ahead, incorporating hip escapes, backward rolls over the shoulders.
The Professor then explained the steps to doing the regular arm bar/lock from the guard, trap the arm, foot on hip, leg heavy on the back, knee on the other leg tight on the body to prevent arm from being pulled then lastly pushing head back to bring the leg up and around to bite over the ear and raising hips to execute the final part of the move. Sounds like a lot of steps and with my previous attempts in sparring was never straight forward to pull off.
Here’s the thing, the professor then explained a slight variation on doing this but executing this with one move!
If the person is in your guard, then the whole move is reliant on a number of factors.
1) Initial assumption that the person knows no Jiu-jitsu
2) Keep everything tight, namely connections
3) Use of core muscles and hips
The difference with this variation is that once you’ve locked in the arm you move the legs and twist up simultaneously.
This was practiced for the majority of the evening but we did break momentarily at different intervals to get extra detail about different parts of the move, with respect to turning and connections. The final detail was on the validity of crossing the legs. Professor explained that it is perfectly valid as long as the leg that’s anchored on the head is at the bottom and the other leg crosses over the top.
This concluded the lesson. The professor then reiterated the need to actually try these moves in sparring and not always to run back to default positions. He then eluded to other details which will be covered in later lessons this week.
My thoughts, I was exceptionally glad for this variation as I wasn’t a big fan of the other technique. I think primarily this is due to my dimensions as sometimes moving long limbs is a bit of a chore in Jiu-jitsu. But i’m told repeatedly from my academy peers that once I have the limbs engaged properly it’s a distinct advantage. Either way I enjoyed the lesson, appreciated the details and look forward to the next lesson.
“Tapping out!”

Crank it up!

Today we continued the additional details of head lock escapes with added technical adjustments for different submissions.
Professor addressed the class and warned us of two potential moves he was going to teach us to be quite nasty and when drilling these moves to be very gradual with any pressure. Then he said he doesn’t want anyone using these moves in sparring, purely for reasons of safety. Professor was very adamant on this and as always is concerned for everyone’s well being.
We moved into doing a warm-up which was more stretch orientated today, mainly around the shoulders, neck and spine. We then quickly recapped elements of monday’s lesson.
Extra detail added today was centred around a crank which affected the arm, neck and shoulder. IMG_0132
Important details he explained was to make sure to compress arms and then gently push into them whilst cranking the head and neck up. The professor explained what was happening to the vertebrae in the spine with this technique and again warned us to apply this very gently. We practised this a few times, with some minor adjustments being told to us from the observations the professor was making.
We then moved on and talked about a potential escape from this position.
Details here involved changing the angle with the hand, straightening the arms and creating a frame to prevent the crank to the head.
These details prevent the technique from being done, then once the attempts stop it is then the ideal opportunity to perform the rest of the escape.
By doing a big hip bump and rotating on to the shoulder you can effectively move the person on top into the position you occupied previous.
We again practiced this, slowly becoming more proficient on continued repetitions. Professor did however, note a detail with reference to making sure we move the arms and hips together when executing the escape.
The last technique shown for the evening is a counter to the counter. In more straight forward terms, if the top person stops you from rolling them over, you can do a further escape which leads back to the original head lock escapes done previously.
Professor explained all the techniques demonstrated again to us on the mat this evening, he also progressed on to a more general speech with reference to be respectful to each other, practising responsibly on the mats to make sure everyone benefits. The speech was very well received and in conclusion the professor was very grateful to all people attending and urged everyone to study and practice to get to the next level.
My thoughts, the professor is a gracious human being who has high expectations for us all. He has a simple way of getting his point across which makes learning from him a pleasure. Details tonight involved a fair amount of technical understanding but as always he makes it look very, very easy.
“Tapping out”

The great headlock escapes cont.

A new week and a trip back to head lock counters as displayed in the academy curriculum.
Professor addressed the class with the outline of areas we will be covering this week which will ‘dove tail’ nicely from the details learnt last week.

We proceeded to do the standard warm-up which concluded with a gentle ‘roll’ to get all limbs nicely attuned for the coming lesson.

First detail we went through involved the first head lock escape from the ground which ends up with the ‘headlocker’ in a ‘head scissors’ we learnt.



The extra details given to us, were ‘what if’ scenarios if we weren’t able to secure the ‘head scissors’ position. The first option was to go through a series of steps that eventually put us in a position to choke them. Getting there required isolating the closest arm, controlling their other arm, maneuvering into a position to obtain the choke then apply.


Lots of technical details, each making a lot of sense and not too difficult to perform. After practicing this we then did the ‘no-gi’ variation, which had a small difference with respect to not grabbing clothing but getting better connections with limbs. The end result was a choke which was potentially more lethal than the first.


We then explored a scenario if they were able to get the arm closest to you free, this next part was clever and nasty all at the same time. In the event this happens, shifting your body position so that your in the cross body position over them with both of your arms
under theirs. On the side your pressuring from it’s required to move your leg so that it is underneath their arm and straightened out in front of you. Then the arm that’s exposed needs to be extended so that a straight armlock can be applied, the natural defense for
this position is to bend the arm, at that point the leg that’s extend can fold back in and trap the arm whilst it’s bent. Then to secure the position the other leg comes across and prevents the arm from getting out. The position is actually an ‘Americana’ applied with the legs instead of the arms.


Professor demonstrated different ways of applying the pressure and it didn’t take much for people to tap. We practiced this and i shortly realised that with my own dynamics, it doesn’t take much to apply pressure and being on the receiving end, this position is very nasty.

This concluded the lesson for the evening.

My thoughts, Professor says this is relatively straight forward, I thought it was complex until I tried it…
The understanding needed of the body to piece this information together not to mention understanding yourself; the previously taught information still fresh in my mind, overwhelming? enlightening? confusing? but very, very enjoyable! I can’t wait for the next lesson!

“Tapping Out”

Man can’t runout of pressure or combinations

To build on what was learnt on Monday, the Professor had more details to explain to us. Professor also announced that his academy was expanding, resulting in more space! This is very welcome news as the existing area, although an excellent size, is of late getting really busy! Which is a good thing and makes sparring at the academy very educational due to the vast selection of diverse body types and skill levels.
This evening we started work by doing single leg take downs, setup from throwing a jab. The details were to make sure we weren’t bent over whilst attempting and also to enter in like we are doing a double leg takedown but transition to a single leg takedown. From there, we would split the legs, step the knee through making sure to keep a connection with their hip  and then obtaining the cross body position.
This was practiced very well with little confusion on positioning. Professor then demonstrated obtaining the mount from one of the four demonstrated last week. From here, Professor demonstrated the positioning required to straight arm-lock the person’s arm on the ground, this is the same arm that was controlled from first getting into the cross body position.
We practiced this, with only minor slip ups on positioning the arm for submission. Professor then added another dimension, what if they are really strong and are struggling to get free? The answer generally depends on what position they are able to put their arm in which depicts the next best submission, this was demonstrated by the person on the bottom bending their arm. Professor then adjusted his grips and placed the person in a position to be subjected to a Kimora arm-lock! a very, very nice transition move.
We practiced this a few times, inclusive of the takedown and straight arm-lock with mixed success. My main problem was leaving too much space when isolating the arm, which allowed the person on the bottom to defend the position too easily.
Professor then added yet another detail which meant switching positions to one that setup the Omaplata arm-lock and to finish off the combination, a calculating move to put the person on the bottom in a standard arm-lock. The last two submissions were, for me, the more complicated ones as there are several details that needed to be followed to at least ensure understanding.
We practised this and changed partners as we went along, which made the drilling very varied and educational. Some people performed this very quickly and some performed things very meticulously. This brought the evening to a close.
Professor informed us that he wants to enforce these intricacies to make sure we understand how they work. Plus he’ll be going over connections and more finer details in the friday lesson, whilst adding more wisdom to the techniques shown so far this week.
My thoughts, very, very intense technical jiu-jitsu evening, all with a common theme on connections. I still leave too much room when performing particular moves, which tells me that I haven’t been performing then enough in my sparring!
“Tapping out!”