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Megaton Seminar: You don't have to be smart

Megaton had a light warm-up to start his seminar, nothing like the grueling hour we used to endure back in the old days.  We did jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups.  We then did break fall practice, slapping the mat from the supine position, sitting, squatting, and standing.  We then did forward rolls, note that you roll over your lead leg, place the palm of the opposite hand on the floor, and then roll over the back of your other hand, forearm, arm, and shoulder.  We finished with backward rolls.  Whether you have a strong judo arsenal in your combat sports arsenal or not, a clear understanding of break falls and rolls is critical for your development.


  • Seonagi: Your opponent has a single same side lapel grip.  Reach superiorly to their grip, and secure the ipsilateral lapel.  Pull medially across your body to make your opponent step laterally, as they do meet them by turning into them. Simultaneously place your cubital fossa into their axilla, fist up palm toward in-line with their shoulder, your feet squaring with them and pointed in the same direction.  Bend forward to lift and throw them.  
  • Osoto gari: Control one arm at the elbow with the other at the lapel, lift their arm and fit tightly but stepping laterally with enough room to clear your hip.  You should close with half your chest in contact with half theirs, pushing them backward at a 45° angle, anchoring them to this leg.  Reap with a bent leg, by acting like a "dippy bird", chest coming down as leg comes up.
  • Hopping variation of osoto gari: If the leg you wish to reap is positioned posteriorly, reach your leg reap leg forward, hooking your heel behind their knee.  Now hop forward as this leg pulls toward you, your will reap them as your body moves forward and the leg pulls posteriorly.
  • Twist sweep: With lapel and opposite elbow control, close with your opponent, lateral chest to lateral chest on the elbow control side.  As you do push their elbow backward as you pull their lapel, your objective is to twist them.  This twist should provoke them to step on the lapel control side.  Block their step with the dorsal surface of your foot.  The twist and sweep all occur simultaneously, you are not kicking their leg, they are kicking your foot because they are provoked to step.

Suicide chokes

  • Cross collar and triceps control:  From a neutral kneeling postion, obtain cross collar control and pull forward, looping your arm over their head with the lapel across their neck.  Now dive your head underneath them on the side you are gripping, attempt to get your head to the opposite side as you turn over.  Cup their triceps on the side opposite your lapel grip.  If they roll to escape simply follow them by rolling with them, when you reach a prone position, hip switch to obtain a perpendicular position to your opponent, release the triceps, put your palm on the floor and slide your hand away from you, increasing the wedge height behind their head.  Start with a loose grip on the kimono lapel, too tight and you will run out of room putting undue pressure on your wrist.  Also when you hip switch, move away a little to tighten the choke.
  • Suicide mata leao: From the same neutral kneeling position, your pull forward with the cross collar grip, but they post their hand on this side on the mat.  Continue to loop their head, but this time underhook their posted arm and place the hand on the back of their skull.  Dive your head lateral to their posted arm to cinch the choke.

4-Points reversals

You are in the four points position, with our opponent hugging your from the top, parallel with you.
  • Hip out:  Grip their opposite pant leg at the knee, step out the leg on this side laterally.  Throw your free elbow up and back, simultaneously drive your head laterally and up, sliding along your opponent's body.  As soon as you are clear, turn the corner to obtain rear hip control.
  • Roll to arm lock: Grip their opposite sleeve, to block their post.  On the side opposite their controlled sleeve, step your leg out laterally to facilitate a barrel roll in the direction they cannot post.  Once they are on their back, wrap your free arm around the limb you have a grip on, proximal to their elbow, securing the figure-4 and locking the elbow.
  • Pulling guard:  Step the leg up on the outside of your opponent's body, simultaneously popping your head out on the opposite side, sit back, pulling them to the guard.

Wrapping Up

Brabo choke from guard: From the closed guard, free the kimono and feed it over their back to the opposite side, cross grip the distal piece of the passed kimono, and bring your forearm close to your opponent's body.  Now pull your opponent's arm (the one ipsilateral to the manipulated kimono) across your body.  Re-guard into a high closed guard, keeping their dragged arm's elbow against your torso, to tighten the choke.
Transition to arm bar:  If your opponent ducks under the passed kimono to avoid the choke, use the kimono to wrap their arm, then pull their arm across your body.  Drop your forearm across theirs to keep the wrapped arm trapped.  Now use your free hand to reach across to grab the shoulder fold of their kimono to spin to the arm bar.

Spider guard to X-guard sweep

From the spider guard, switch to a De La Riva hook, cup the ankle on this side, use your other leg to push their rear leg back.  Undo the De La Riva hook and set-up the X-guard, by bring this foot into their far hip, with your knee now behind their cupped leg.  Your other foot now goes behind their far knee.  Pass the arm sleeve of their rear leg to the hand that was cupping their heel, making an overhook of their leg.  Extend your legs as your tilt them laterally over their trapped arm.  Come to the knee on stomach position.


From seated De La Riva, cup their ankle on the hook side, and obtain the cross collar grip with your other hand.  Extend your legs and push laterally to have them fall to their posterior.  Now perform a straight roll, perpendicular to their hooked leg.  As you end up on your back, you should still be hooking the leg, your opposite leg is across their body at the hips, switch your ankle grip to their opposite ankle.  Now roll them by pulling with your leg hook and guiding their ankle.  You should end up behind them but will need to pull them/climb to get their back.  If not you can simply sprawl on their legs and pass.  If that was clear as mud, this may help:

Leg Drag Pass

From a open guard position, grip one pant leg with both hands, pressure in and then retract simultaneously pulling their leg across your body.  You want to get the posterior side of their thighs against your legs.  Keep the grip ipsilateral to their leg and move your opposite hand to grip their same side collar (your arms will cross).  Now pull yourself forward placing your head on the same side your hand is, creating an intense pressure from the tripod position
The lasso guard is set-up like a spider guard, but you control one sleeve and have their arm wrapping your shin.
  • Lasso guard to oma plata:  If you chose to dive or if your opponent attempts to pass your leg, spin underneath, clear their leg and obtain the oma plata.
  • Lasso guard to sweep: Rather than going all the way to the oma plata, keep your shin against their cubital fossa.  Either push on your ankle with your free foot or triangle your leg to sweep your opponent by their arm.


Tiago Alves Seminar: They can beat you. They can cut you. They can hurt you. They can never take your knowledge.

Today I went to a seminar by Tiago Alves hosted by Max Burt of Muncie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  We started with a timed jog around the abundant mat space of the gym.  Then we did mat lengths of:
  • Shrimping: Use your foot and the ipsilateral shoulder to elevate the ipsilateral hip, moving it laterally and superiorly, nearly turning over.  Use the walk between the hips and the foot/shoulder to move down the mat by alternating sides.
  • Forward Shrimping: Using only one foot and the ipsilateral shoulder, lift the hip on this side and move it toward the foot by bending your knee and activating the leg muscles.  Move down the floor by switching sides, again walking by using foot/shoulder and the hip.
  • Shoulder Roll:  Sitting on the mat with your legs extended in front of you, roll to your shoulder by tucking your hand underneath the space between the floor and your legs made by bending your knee.  Roll shoulder to shoulder, not over your back, your feet can touch the mat if you're flexible enough.  Position yourself at a 45° degree angle to the wall so that you can roll one way then pivot 90° to roll the other.  In this fashion you can work your way down the mat.
Next we moved to partner drilling from the four points position.  The hips and upper thighs are the contact and control surfaces for you as the top player.  When the bottom partner moves you can either switch hips or you can walk.  The entire time work on dropping the hips while you move, not raising them (which at first glance seems to be needed to move), simultaneously keep the legs wide.  There is no need to "run" around your partner, simply alter the direction but not the magnitude of your pressure.  We  drilled 60 second intervals where the four points partner moves but does not try to escape while the top partner cannot grab, isolating hip and leg movement.  Then we added grips and drilled it again.  Next we covered the cases where the four points partner attempts to pull guard or to roll:

  • Pulling guard: As the top player, you feel their body shift, keep your legs wide and drop your hips into your partner.  It is possible to move laterally to clear the legs, but you can end up sprawled on your partner's legs if necessary.
  • Rolling: If the bottom player tries to roll, make sure that one of your hips is placed on their sacrum and use the ipsilateral arm to hook your elbow anteriorly to their hip.  Then turn this corner, allowing the bottom player to land supine, while the top player secures side mount.

We drilled this in 30 second sets either "slow" or "fast".

After getting the movement of the four points position we moved onto technique for offense from the top:
  • Defend the roll, one hand lapel choke from the back: From the four points position, you as the top player secures your partner's contralateral lapel while placing your palm on the proximal part of your partner's near triceps (don't grab).  The bottom partner wraps the arm gripping their lapel and attempts to roll laterally.  Move with the roll, sprawling on your partners legs, then clearing them by moving further in the same direction. Your knee should end up in their popliteal fossa.  Use the free hand to grab the contralateral collar, across your opponent's anterior neck.  Move the contralateral knee (the one on the "rolled" side) superiorly up near your opponents shoulder, placing it on the mat.    Now roll to the mat on this side, pulling with the hand across their neck.  You will end up on your back, re-grab their forearm with your "trapped" arm, use the leg ipsilateral to your choking hand to overhook their shoulder and proximal arm to finish the choke.
  • Defend the roll, 180° roll to the one hand lapel choke from the back: From the four points, in the top position you again have secured the contralateral lapel and your partner on the bottom again attempts to roll.  However they feel your weight shift and recover, this recovery should relatively open the neck.  Secure a cross lapel grip with your free hand, anterior to their neck.  Release the original grip you hand and clasp their forearm on this side.  Now roll sideways, placing your shoulder over their posterior neck and pull them with you, somersaulting them .  You pull with the arm controlled side to allow their ipsilateral hip to cover your ankle, while your other leg overbooks the shoulder and proximal arm.  Use this to finish your choke.
Then from the bottom of the four points position we built and chained the following together:
  • Sit reversal:  From the four points position you circle towards your partner as if to grab their far leg.  Simultaneously kick the leg adjacent to them ceiling ward (you may have to kick more than once).  The kick rotates and moves your body so that the top players ends up sliding from your hip to the middle of your torso.  Remain propped on the elbow furthest from your partner and sit your far knee and shin next to your partner, the other extends across the mat.  Using a rear elbow motion to to pull them laterally over your proximal legs and hips.
  • Taking the back:  If your partner defends your reversal by stopping their momentum with their lapel gripping hand by switching it to the mat. Simply use your top leg to overhook their near calf,  remain propped on your elbow and pull your other arm tight to your body in the space between you and your partner. Grab their far hip at the belt line
  • Reversal from the whizzer: Your opponent whizzers the arm your freed and placed across your opponent's belt line.  Take your far leg and place the proximal part of the foot, into their popliteal fossa.  Now roll laterally and extend your hook reversing them to their back.  Now if they turn over to four points you can start from the beginning.
After the work from the four points we turned to the guard
  • Pump handle single leg with pass to kimura:  Your partner is posted with one knee up, you have control of both sleeves with your foot in the the hip opposite from the one posted up.  Your free leg acts as pendulum to get you sitting up and moving your base laterally in the direction of and around the posted leg.  Now feed the arm from the unposted side under the posted leg and grab the sleeve with the contralateral arm.  Remove the foot from their hip and hook their leg.  Now put your head just medial to their shoulder and sit up,  you can cup their posterior knee with your free hand, in order to do a single to double leg from the ground.  Now pin their bottom leg with the hand holding the passed arm.  Start circling toward their open side, following the "pump handle" arm to its origin.  Their free leg can stay betwixt your legs until it gets to be hip height.  Now slide over it, placing your inferior knee to their hip.  Now transition further, circling their head.  Use your free hand to undertook their arm posteriorly, release your sleeve control hand to secure kimura.
  • Koala guard to 50-50 60-40 guard:  You have the same set-up as above but after you have secured the grip on the passed arm, your partner stands.  Use your free hand to grab the skirt near the butt. Put the foot posterior to them at the anterior side of their hip.  Use this foot and the skirt grip to rotate your head to be lateral to their far leg.  Pike up and secure a triangle over this leg and the arm, with medial leg (the one placed in their hip) passing anteriorly to their arm and this foot extended laterally from their body and posteriorly to your other leg (i.e. medial leg forms two parts of the triangle).  Sweep them backward by flexing your leg and extending your hips.  You are now in 50-50 guard but in reality its more like 60-40 since you have them more controlled than they do you.
  • 50-50 guard pass to ezekiel choke and arm bar: From the 50-50 guard lay supine, clear their triangled leg by passing the hand lateral to them posterior to their heel, cupping it and moving it laterally.  Place the lateral leg knee in their popliteal fossa and then bring your other (medial leg) shin behind their thigh by pulling your knee to your chest.  Now clear their leg in the opposite direction as you come to your knees, pushing them onto their side facing away from you.  Bring your inferior arm medial to their upper arm and to their contralateral neck, place the shin of your inferior leg into their back.  Ezekiel choke by using this hand to grab the sleeve of your opposite arm.  If they have strong neck, keep your inferior arm wrapping their neck and use the other hand to scoop up their arm nearest the mat.  Move your superior leg over their head and sit for back for arm bar.
  • Koala guard to taking the back:  Should they free their gripped sleeve while going for your 50-50 set-up, simply place both of your shins into their popliteal fossa, pull on the skirt to gain access more gi and belt.  Now make them squat as your kick both shins forward to obtain rear mount.  Seat belt grip to control while getting hooks.  Tiago grabs his fingers and places his seatbelt higher and nearer the neck than I am do, so I will try this as well.
Front Row: Your humble blogger, Tiago Alves, and newly promoted faixa preta Max Burt


Balance thyself, unbalance thy opponent

Another day of upgrading my striking software.  I know I need to relax, my body just hasn't agreed yet.  I am cognizant of my new first commandment: "Balance thyself, unbalance thy opponent."  I'm just not sure I can apply it.  Again when side stepping, the head moves over the moving leg, like a normal step, just laterally and rotating.

We reviewed the walking knees.  With a lead leg half-step, land on the ball of the foot, the rear knee goes straight forward as you extend your base leg and open the chest.  The knee drives forward, made sharp by the flexion of trying to get your calf to your thigh, the foot angles laterally to drive the knee midline.  A fluid, seamless, hip thrust finishes the knee.  In order to maximize precision, the hands simultaneously turn an invisible steering wheel toward the thrown knee side.

Ian then showed some clinch knee technique.  From a wrestling tie up, throw three curve knees, then pummel inside to plum.  Drop step backward, and simultaneous snap the head.  Throw a straight knee.  If they are strong, i.e. you are unable to pull toward you, push the side of the head, perpendicular to your original pull, re-establish plum and drop step pulling them in the same direction.

Plum defense, reach one hand lateral to their clinch and grab the neck, pull the this arm as you twist this shoulder toward your opponent.  Now, trip them over your leg on this same side.  This can be drilled in knee sparring, with one opponent simply using the shoulder twist to defend and counter, keeping their hands behind their back.  You can use the fist to hold by placing the glove knuckle behind the head on the opposite side.