Search This Blog


BJJ: The Arm Drag

  1. The Arm Drag From Hooks Inside Guard
    Your opponent is attempting control both pant legs. Set-up a same side pistol grip of one sleeve. Free your hook and kick past your partner as you reach across with your free hand to cup the triceps and arm drag. As you do scoot your body to this side. Immediately try to place the center of your chest between the shoulder blades of your partner while locking the seatbelt grip. The hand that goes to the far side will reach under the far arm grabbing the opposite hand that comes in over the shoulder. Insert your other hook and attack the neck.
  2. Pulling to the Rear Mount
    You attempted to take the back but your opponent grabs your leg preventing you from being able to get to the rear mount. Scoot away and grab the iliac crest (the hip) on the far side and drag them to their side. Cross your ankles to lock one leg in place. Pull with your seatbelt grip or attack the neck to straighten them out. Place your second hook and re-attack the neck
  3. Calf Slicer
    You have performed the arm drag but cannot obtain rear mount control, turn towards your opponents legs, inserting your one hook between the calf and thigh of your opponent. Grab both feet and pull towards you, flattening or forcing your opponent to their back. Put your free foot on the medial side of your ankle and pull on the distal part of their leg (not the foot).

I am by no means a wrestler or judoka but I can on a good day make people fall down, here are some brief notes on low-line shots:
Shots work best when the other guy is thinking about something else, like punches or a different take down.
Aim to place your penetration step on the toe line of your opponent's lead foot.
Lower your level
In order move someone, you must in some fashion load their center of mass. By lowering your level you are able to deliver more of your kinetic energy below their center of mass, forcing them to move. Thus a low-line shot needs a drop in your center of mass without losing the solid posture required for a combat chassis.
Turn the Corner
Explosive shooting delivers a large amount of kinetic energy, in order to prevent a take down your opponent must expend a force opposite your own. So as soon as you are inside, turn the corner driving the force in a perpendicular angle against their weakest muscle groups.



  1. Midline (Belly) Guillotine
    This guillotine is set-up from the double wrist control, to ensure that you are close enough to jerk the head. Use one hand to jerk your opponent's head toward your midline, lay your abdomen on the occipital surface of their neck. Hook the other forearm under their chin (gently) chopping up. Pull up into the anterior surface of their neck while pushing down into the posterior surface of your head with your belly.

  2. G & P Defense to Figure 4 Arm Bar
    Your opponent is in your guard and throws a looping punch. Cover and simultaneously throw a face shot (palm heel, punch, eye jab). Wrap the punching arm, placing your forearm proximal to your opponent's elbow. Use the hand you struck with to put pressure on the shoulder, and form a figure 4. Their forearm should be trapped under your armpit. Use your "check hand" to hold their shoulder in place, as you elevate the forearm on the wrapping arm, placing pressure on the elbow joint. Thus your hand and armpit apply pressure inferiorly while the wrapping forearm applies pressure superiorly. If they roll their arm, switch to a straight sameside armbar using the the leg.


BJJ: Attacking the Turtle

We reviewed methods for attacking the turtle as presented by the Kyle Watson. The basic control position is the sprawl, laces in the dirt, with the hips directed into the head and shoulders of your opponent. With the kimono, grab the triceps area and push into the mat. The techniques reviewed were:
  1. Clock Choke (relógio)
    Assume rear side control. Personally like to insert the knee after I grab the cross collar but that's probably because I have large thighs and usually end up defeating my own choke. The hand closest to your opponent's head grabs the cross collar. The other hand can control any portion of your opponent, the pant leg at the hip or ankle, the far wrist, or even sliding your triceps on the near side of the face. In any case the choke works by cropping your weight across the your opponent's neck and shoulders, placing maximal torque on the spine while simultaneously pulling your elbow toward the ceiling.
  2. Anaconda Choke
    From the sprawl, insert one hand to grab the cross collar, while the other arm overhooks and then reaches back toward you. The cross collar grip should be snug but not tight as you will need a little play. Dive your head into the "hole" created by your over hook arm, rolling your opponent to their back. As you transition, your choke will tighten while your other hand pops beneath their head, this is accomplished by hip heisting from parallel supine position to a perpendicular (prone) side mount.
  3. Crucifix Choke
    Assume rear side control, with the hand nearest the head pull their near hand away and hook with your near leg, underhook the opposite arm with your other hand. You can attempt to arm bar with your legs and pelvis by sliding distally on the first snared arm and extending your legs. If this fails, transition control of the arm to your other leg and somersault forward, landing on your back with your opponents limbs outstretched laterally. The hand of the arm that has arm control should go to your ear (imagine you have an earache). Now use your free hand to reach around your opponent's neck and grab the collar closest to your head. The arm control forearm now drops posterior to the neck to complete the choke.
  4. Figure 4 Turn Over
    Start in the front sprawl, insert one overhook, place your opposite hand on the occipital surface of your opponents skull, and complete a figure 4 with the overhook. Using this increased leverage push your opponents head toward your knee on the overhook side to roll them to side mount.
  5. Atomic Wedgie Rear Mount
    From rear side control secure a grip on your opponents belt with your inferior hand, transition behind them while standing, pinching with your shins. Secure the grip on the opposite side of the belt. Stand and jerk them upward to open the access for the hooks, and tehn drop your weight backward into the rear mount position.
  6. The Flip Over
    From the rear mount position, dismount and turn 180° leaving one hook in and standing next to your opponent. With your far hand grab the skirt of the gi while at the top grab the collar, sit while lifting your opponent with the hook and skirt grip to flip the to their back. You should end in a position to cross arm bar or with your opponent's head on your inner thigh while the calf hooks the far arm. From here you can choke.


JKD & BJJ "The pointy end goes into the other man."

Filipino kali is used in Jeet Kune Do not only to teach the use of a weapon for self-defnse, e.g. a stick or knife as well as a rolled newspaper, car antenna, screwdriver, or bat, but also to translate the body mechanics of fighting with weapons to that of unarmed fighting. The complex motor skills need to whip a stick or sword around are difficult skills to master and the thought process may have been, if these skills are hard they may help hone the simpler (unarmed) ones, see for example the Dog Brothers series on stickfighting concepts in MMA called Kali Tudo. However this translation is not always obvious. Today I used some simple stick drills to highlight the offense and defense similarities in unarmed combat. There is one caveat, whenever one trains with weapons from fists to nuclear missiles always remember that it is applied to a specific target. Thus when we do a stick drill we are not merely waving the stick around we are picking a target and attempting to damage it because of the inherent properties of both weapon and target. In each drill use both a stick and a boxing glove
Using the high-low-high stick jab drill, envisioning targets at the throat and just distal to the knee cap, the footwork and energy of the unarmed jab is developed. After 90-seconds of the drill, drop the stick and go into 90-seconds of jab panatuken (3-strike drill).
Lead Hook
Using the high-low-high pattern to emulate the the lead hook. The initial forehand has many of the same torso driven power delivery of the hook. Again 90-seconds of stick work followed by 90-seconds of lead hook panatuken.
Lead Upper Cut
The upward figure eight pattern is similar to the lead upper cut. Repeat as above.
Slipping the jab
Using the middle range passing drill, where a forward angle with a triangular step is necessary to avoid the angle 1 we can emulate slipping the jab. As they strike with the stick you defang the snake and pass the hand, stepping with your rear foot to not only off-angle but to close on their flank. Then you pivot bringing all off your weapons against their backhand. In the unarmed version you slip the jab without checking it.
Slipping the jab/cross
The downward backhand (angle 2) emulates a cross, the lowering of your level and the roof block prevent the stick from landing. In striking your opponent has measure you for the jab and knows you will slip off angle, they then try to catch you with the cross and your merely bob and weave to the opposite side.

During the BJJ portion I reviewed the figure 4. We covered the drills we worked on Wednesday. We also did:
Round the world version for the neck
From standing, figure 4 guillotine, pivot your partner for rear naked choke from both sides, and then finish another figure 4 guillotine from the front, switch after each set
The Clockface
From side mount do the americana, followed by the straight lateral arm bar (figure 4 the arm pointed directly perpendicular from your opponents body), and the kimura, then switch sides by jumping from one knee on the stomach position to the other. You should tap your partner in each position, relax it and allow the to "escape" the next one before resubmitting them.
We finished with two rounds of using only figure 4 submissions. Remember with the figure 4 that a stable, locked grip is key. The hand on your opponent must fully surround the appendage you are submitting while the opposite arm must encircle this appendage and have a thumbless grip attached to your wrist. This grip should be immovable thus your wrists should be straight and you should be holding them at roughly your peanut butter jar point (the place in front of your abdomen where you would open a tightly stuck jar of peanut butter). Be as relaxed as possible as you tighten the submission, you should ooze into place gently taking as much slack out of the submission until it is as tight as you can make it without effort, then apply the muscle. In order to tighten the shoulder locks bring your partners elbows in the direction opposite their hand is pointing, for ankles try to put their foot to their butt.


Grueling Days of Summer

This evening we trained in the Bugeishako (my garage) our warm-up and conditioning consisted of
  • Lower body: 1 minute rounds of kicks starting with one and going up to five, alternating each minute for a total of 10 minutes.
  • Anterior core: Two minutes of crunches while throwing the medicine ball, one minute rest before doing leg lifts with the medicine ball.
  • Posterior core: 20 second neck bridges, 10 second alternating side plank x 10 rounds.
  • Upper body: 20 seconds pitter pat, 20 seconds holding, 20 seconds push-ups w/ 10 second hold while being kicked in the abdomen.

After this "light" warm up we worked on grappling technique, specifically the figure-4. The Figure 4 allows you to do several things (1) it locks your grip, securing you to the extremity you want to submit, (2) it gives you a 2-on-1 set-up allowing you to recruit more muscle groups than your opponent for controlling an extremity, and (3) it increases your leverage on the extremity you want to submit. Thus given (1) it is important to lock your grip even if that means riding your opponent until the submission presents it self. The drills we worked are the following:
Surrendering Gorilla Drill
Place your partner in the guard position, they put their hands on their knees and flare their elbows (the Gorilla) use your same side hand to grab their wrist and then do a sit-up reaching over their arm and secure your figure-4 grip by grabbing your own wrist. This is the kimura or inferior shoulder lock set-up position, notice if your partner's hands point inferiorly (i.e. down) it is a same side grip with an over hook figure-4. Repeat on the opposite side.
Now your partner holds their hands up (the Surrender) do a sit-up and use your cross hand to grab their wrist, then slide your same side hand beneath their arm to finish your figure-4 by grabbing your cross hand wrist. For the americana or superior shoulder lock set-up position your opponents hands points upward or superiorly, it is cross hand grip with your same side hand underhook figure-4.
MALrotation (medial ankle lock rotation)
Start with a reverse knee on stomach, i.e. with one knee on your opponents hip and lower abdomen, facing inferiorly, use the hand nearest the midline to grab the lateral side of your opponents foot. Slide your other hand beneath their calf and lock your figure-4, then fold the ankle medially and inferiorly (i.e. toward the buttocks). Next transition around the leg, and stand with one foot at midline and the other laterally toward the side you same from. Use the hand farthest from your opponent to grab the plantar and lateral surface of their foot and then reach over their shin to secure the figure-4. Again try to force their foot to their buttocks, they may turn over partially in the process. Repeat this on the opposite leg, and then transition around to the hip on this side and set-up your reverse knee mount to repeat the first ankle lock described.
Happy Submission Feet
Sit with one of your partners legs between yours and drifting over your hip. Lock a figure four by looping your same side hand around the leg and then placing your cross hand on their shin, cinch the grip by grabbing your own wrist. Pinch with your knees (your midline leg should be bent with your foot under your partners posterior and your other foot in your opponents hip, with the toes diverted laterally) Roll to the side the submission is locked and arch while raising the arm beneath the leg. Then switch the legs tapping the other side.
We finished by first rolling rounds where we could only submit one another with figure 4's and then with rounds using our full arsenal.


What "I need a partner" means

So today my BJJ coach was out of town teaching a seminar. During practice I was assigned teaching duties so I showed some conditioning/technical flows and some technique (more below). At the end of practice open roll started and I called for a partner. No response. There were six rounds of grappling before I left and of those I wrestled three. The folks that wrestled me are all a lot smaller than me yet we have a good technical rounds. I can count on the fingers of one hand those willing to grapple with me in a class of 30+. Back when I started and even now if someone senior to me says "I want to roll," I sprang at the opportunity, when I'm at practice I want to train as much as I can. There is no winning or losing in practice merely learning. As I get older and my schedule more full I find by making it into practice I'm just grateful and happy to be able to train. It angers me to think that people would want to take that away from me simply because they are concerned about winning or losing.

Today the flows we worked were straight arm to oma plata with your partner puling the arm out of the armlock and rolling trough on the oma plata, this was continuous for one side. We also worked on the kimura, straight, and americana arm locks from the side mount before transitioning via the knee on stomach to the other side.


Moving Again

The SWSMAFThis week we lost the use of the South Wright Street Martial Arts Facility (SWSMAF) essentially a beat up warehouse for the University's Print Services and Refrigerator Repair divisions. We had approximately 900 square feet of matted floor, a heavy bag stand, and lockers for our equipment. It was moldy, dusty (note the filter in the corner) and had no shower or locker room facilities. Yet it was a place to train, to temper our minds and bodies in the fires of adversity and painful drills. The genetic matter in the form of blood, sweat, and tears left on these walls and mats could probably be enough to clone anyone of us. For now we are exiled back to my bugeishako.
Yesterday we reviewed the the windmill sweep. This sweep use cross arm control and a same side under thigh "hook" to lift your opponent while you sweep the leg closest to the cross arm control side wide and through their base. Sit up to mount. Should they reposition their leg for balance, immediately switch to arm bar. An another variation places one foot in the hip, control the outside pant leg on the opposite side, retain same side arm control with the foot in the hip side. Bump your opponent toward the pant leg controlled side. They will base, free your arm control and cinch this hand in, re-bump to the sweep.
Today we worked some basic conditioning rounds, both sides with thai pads, one minute rounds of:
  1. Kicks, alternating, five each side
  2. Kick-knee, alternating, five each side
  3. Knee-kick, alternating, five each side
  4. Kick-sprawl, alternating, five each side
  5. Kicks, alternating, five each side
  6. Kick-knee, alternating, five each side
  7. Knee-kick, alternating, five each side
  8. Kick-sprawl, alternating, five each side
  9. Kicks, upward pyramid, one side
  10. Kicks, upward pyramid, the other side
Next for our core we worked one minute on, one minute off (10 minutes total): 3, fall, n punch sit-ups, stand up, pick your partner up and turn them, 3 body punches, fall, n punch sit-ups, stand up, pick your partner up and turn them, repeat. The n increases each time.
For our upper body we did one partner 20 seconds pitterpat, both partners 10 seconds push-ups, other partner 20 seconds pitterpat, both partners 10 seconds push-ups. Repeated for 5 minutes.
Then we got into our pad rounds:
  1. Basic Thai
  2. Ground n' pound especially working from inside the guard, passing to the side, and the mount. The emphasis was on heavy hands in the ground engagement.
  3. Knee drills: the distance drill, the three knees three punches drill, and the three knees turn drill.


JKD & BJJ A simple way to pass

From inside the guard control the lapels bilaterally and then knee walk backward stretching your opponents guard. Roll up to your standing, and then kneel with one knee up to break the guard. Once the guard is broken drop this knee to the floor on the same side as your rear knee. The shoulder on this side should also drop and you should control the underhook. Slide low and tight to pass the guard.


The creative juices are brewing once more

Yes I have a more hectic schedule and yes my software wasn't working, erasing a few blogs but I think I want to write some more, because it's good for me. This evening we worked a few rounds of pads:
  1. Focus mitt combinations
    • Jab-cross-lead body hook-rear upper cut-cross-lead head hook (Body 3-Upper cut 3)
    • Jab-cross-*pause*-jab-overhand-upper cut-cross (2 into 4 angles).

  2. Thai pad rounds: Leg evasion skills building
    Specifically using any of the four count kicking combinations and then reacting to the kick to the lead leg with a leg evasion followed by "Thai" reaction (cross-lead hook-rear kick). The holder could then vary the flow by doing nothing, forcing the leg evasion with cross-hook-cross (3) reaction, or holding for the opposite kick. This emulates the disposition of a flurry, do you reset your range, ready yourself for counter attack, or continue to hunt an injured opponent.

  3. Thai pad rounds: Tiip combinations review
    • Tiip-2-lead kick
    • Tiip kicking combination #1 (Tiip-cross-lead hook-rear kick)
    • Tiip kicking combination #3 (Tiip-cross-lead hook-lead kick)
    • Tiip-rear kick
    • Tiip-lead kick

  4. Defensive flow
    Both sides are wearing boxing glove, the feeder throws a tiip which the fighter deflects with the lead hand and follows with 3, then high covers the cross followed by three, then low side covers the body hook followed by three, then catches the kick (either right or left side) and either strikes off this or dumps the feeder. They then reset.
.Next we worked on the chutes and ladders concept, using pressure at one level to set-up an easier takedown at another. We worked four examples of this:
  1. The upper body combat chiropractor to the double leg, if you can don't even free your grip, just loosen and drop.
  2. The hip toss (ogoshi) to the double leg, attempt the hip toss, as your opponent hops/pivots around your hip shoot your double. Alternatively use the uchi-mata (a hip toss but with a reap to the medial part of the thigh opposite the reaping leg) if they again do not fall, do a low line shot to the base leg.
  3. Soto-makikomi to re-soto-makikomi, in this throw you initially overhook the arm and then turn 270° pulling your opponent over your back. Sometimes they don't fall, at this point, cut your far shoulder to the floor and repeat the throw over a smaller turning radius or reap upwards with the near leg.
  4. Arm pull single to clothes line, in this use two hand to pull your opponent's hand to his foot and shoot for the low single, if they fall great, but if not they will most likely pop up and try to get this leg out of the way, i.e. run backwards, you can then go for this throw and then chase them, shooting one hand for the cloths line and the other in the opposite direction at their hip pushing up.
Lastly we worked two grappling drills one using the kimura from side mount followed by climbing to knee on stomach and jumping to the otherside. This repetitively drills alternating sides with a dynamic transition. We then worked a new flow, specifically arm bar from guard, your opponent pulls out leaving the reverse (scoop) arm bar on the other arm, if they bend the arm, attack with kimura after returning to the guard or triangle position. If they fight out spin to the opposite side arm bar, allowing the drill to repeat.