Recently, I had the opportunity to teach three seminars in three different states within a week. I’m extremely grateful, and that’s the primary reason behind this post. It’s a review of what was covered, but it will also contain conceptual lessons for all enthusiasts of our art.
If that sounds interesting to you, this is what we are going to focus on:
- Mind maps of each seminar.
- Overviews of the structures.
- A few breakdowns of technique.
Wrightson BJJ Seminar
The topic of this seminar was mount attacks and transitions, so the goal was to give a tightly bound system that reinforced itself. I also wanted to introduce the concept of chain drills and incorporate it into the instruction in order to increase the retention rate of knowledge.
- Light warmup (running, moving sit-throughs, reverse bear crawls).
- Chain drill buildout (armbar mount drill – armbar escape, transition to mount).
- Cross choke variation.
- Variations paths to the armbar and triangle.
- Link it all back into the chain drill.
Brutal Cross Choke
I learned this variation only once, but I’ve never forgotten it because it blew my mind. Once I saw it, I discarded every other variation I had and then I improved on it by merging it with a better initial grip entry. I’ll attempt to explain it in words.
- You want to establish a cross collar grip first (obviously) but your opponent knows that so they defend by keeping their elbows tight to their side and blocking the path to their neck with their hands.
- Slide your grip in low (below their elbows and four fingers in) and connect that elbow to your side. That connects that arm to the strong muscles and mechanical structure of your back.
- Drive forward with your upper body, and that force will allow you to drive your arm through until you can press your knuckles against the mat. This is only possible because your arm is reinforced by your upper body.
- Once the knuckles touch the ground, drag your elbow across your opponent’s body and drop your weight on it. That will drive your elbow right into the side of their ribs (psh, let em suffer), shift your weight towards the side where your base is strong, and turn your hand so that the palm faces up (an excellent position for the choke).
- Pull them in and really drive that elbow into them harder. It not only makes the situation extremely uncomfortable for them, but their head will raise off the deck. That allows you to feed the second grip by going thumb in behind the neck.
- Then rotate the second grip around, pull the elbow tight and slowly destroy all possibility of escape.
Wrightson BJJ is located in Towson, MD, and one thing I’ve noticed every time I’ve visited is how close knit community is. For that reason, I think it’s a great place to train.
Guardian Education Fund Grapplethon Seminar
The topic of this seminar was half guard tweaks and tricks. I know a little bit about that but I had limited time so I had to condense a lot.
- Chain drill buildout (kneetap, dope mount transition, elbow escape to half)
- Getting back to offensive position from being flattened.
- Grip variations that neutralize the overhook and crossface.
- Recounters to common kneetap counters.
The Grip Variations
I’ve spent a lot of time studying different half guard games, and there was a time when active prevention of the crossface was considered essential. For example, it was common to see single and double paw grips on the crossfacing arm. I never developed that game because I learned early that the threat of the crossface lied in distance (between your head and their body) and hip mobility (their ability to twist their hips and shift weight), so it could be passively neutralized.
- Dental Floss: Pull out their far lapel and pass it to your underhook hand behind their thigh. The main benefit of this grip is that you create small invisible barrier of distance that will prevent your opponent from ever establishing control after a knee cut. It’s also give you incredible leverage over their hip and neutralizes both the overhook and crossface.
- Far Lapel Around Back: Pull out their far lapel and pass it to your underhook hand behind their back. Then pull your elbow in tight. The main benefit of this grip is that it glues you to their body, making it difficult for them to steal the underhook back from you. It also immobilizes their hip, which also kills the overhook and crossface.
- Hip Hug: Grip low on your opponent’s hip and pull your elbow in tight. This is a no-gi variation of the far lapel back grip. It performs the same variation, but it’s harder to maintain.
The Guardian Education Fund is focused providing access to training for military and law enforcement personnel. This grapplethon was hosted at Capital MMA in Alexandria, VA, and I got in some good training there. I just wish that I had been able to attend for a longer duration. I’m curious to see if I can hang in there for 12 hours or more.
Evolution Fight Academy Seminar
The topic of this seminar was chain attacks from guard, but the mind map for this one is crazy because the material covered deviated from the plan. I intended to focus on closed guard, but there was a lot of interest in other topics, so we flowed with it. And this mind map reflects not only what was covered but also the initial intentions.
- Light warmup (running, moving sit-throughs).
- Chain drill buildout.
- Offensive loop from closed guard.
- …..We’ll just call it Q/A.
The Flavio Canto Choke
I learned this recently, and once I saw it, I had to see it again. At first sight, it had my full attention, and I’ve been showing to everyone because I think it’s incredible.
Here are some video examples of the choke. Play with it
In those two videos, there are slight variations in how the choke is shown. They also differ slightly from the way I learned, but fundamentally, you can see how the choke works. It’s similar to a loop choke but the leg is used to reinforce the grip instead of your other arm. It’s sneaky though because that collar grip seems so harmless.
What I’m focused on right now is figuring out different entries that can be linked to other attacks.
Evolution Fight Academy is located in High Point, NC. The gym is mostly focused on MMA, and they have a record of accomplishment. I’m also especially thankful to Larry Kidd because he went above and beyond to make the whole experience great for me.