Back To The Basics…The Back Step Pass

Sometimes it is best to go back to the basics. It can rejuvenate your game, since as you move up in experience/belts, your game expands. One of the basics techniques you can always revisit is the back step pass. The back step pass is an old school, basic yet effective way of passing the half guard. It is one you can do quickly and get out of anyone’s pesky half guard to side control. Let us examine how you can use the back step pass to get right out of the half guard position…

When you get put in the half guard, that is the time to act. It is important not to wait and let your opponent attempt techniques. Once you are there, you need to get out. So, as you get put in the half guard, you need to post both of your arts. While you post, you need to clamp your arm to your opponent’s under hooking arm so that you don’t have your back taken, but still have it posted. Next you need to tripod up and raise your hips. When you do this, your knee that is trapped within the half guard should become freed up.

While your knee is out, you need to switch your hips and take a big, strong back step with your completely free leg. You should back step to the other side of where your leg is. After you back step, you need to lower your hips to the mat and use your free arm to under hook his now far leg. The arm that was clamping your opponent’s arm will now come under his neck, and control him, also allowing you to put shoulder pressure on his face if needed.  Now you must scoot your hips back a few times to get the proper distance, and then use your formerly back stepping leg to push down your opponent’s near side leg to free yourself from the half guard completely. You are clear of the half guard and have now moved into side control. Time to work!

Passing the guard, especially the half guard can be tricky. There is so much going on between you on top, and your opponent on the bottom. Both of you have two very different goals and are trying to implement your techniques. But if you have solid passing, you should be able to get through every time. If you need a great resource for passing the half guard, closed guard and more, then check out…

Rodolfo Vieira’s Smash, Pass & Finish DVD set. Click here!

The Way A Catch Wrestler Uses A Guillotine

Catch Wrestling is known for its brutal pinning and submission techniques. Every single technique in Catch seems like a rough, tough way of destroying an opponent when it comes to grappling. Many techniques from Catch transfer over into Jiu Jitsu, just like Jiu Jitsu techniques transfer over to Catch. One of those techniques, is the arm in guillotine. There are many versions of the guillotine choke, including a nasty Catch variation. Here is Neil Melanson, a Catch wrestler and grappling coach to some of the best fighters in the world. Let’s see how Neil does a Catch style guillotine…

I won’t spend much time on the set up. Neil shows a particular set up of passing the half guard. As he passes the half guard, he gets head position in the middle of the chest and he locks up a whizzer on his opponent’s right arm to prevent back takes and sweeps. His left hand  grabs his opponent’s left wrist and passes his left shin over that same side bicep. He does that so he can slow his opponent down and work on the choke. Neil notes that he uses an extremely tight clench on the whizzer. He does not keep it loose.

With his right arm, he pinches his elbow down on the whizzer. Once properly pinched, Neil steps back and posts with his right leg. He then locks his left arm over the opponent’s neck and drops his chest on his opponent’s shoulders. He once again pinches his elbow down, this time the left elbow. Neil circles again and drops to his back. His left knee/shin goes to his opponent’s hip while his right leg goes over the back of his opponent. The grip he uses on the guillotine is an s-grip. This is so his opponent cannot pry his fingers away to defend. All he has to do to finish is to squeeze inward. This arm in guillotine is a nasty way of finishing an opponent with a choke…catch style!

Catch Wrestling is an interesting style of grappling. It is the opposite of the “gentle” arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Judo. There is no gentle. Every technique is used to the full extent of its power. If you’re looking to add some Catch Wrestling techniques to your repertoire then you have to check out…

The Catch Wrestling Formula by the one and only, Neil Melanson. Click here!

Closed Guard Essentials: The Hip Bump Sweep

There are a few techniques from closed guard that are absolutely essential if you want to be a great guard player. One of those essentials is the hip bump sweep. The hip bump sweep is a sweep that you can always use and come back to, no matter how far your game evolves. This strong sweep has allowed for both me and my students to win matches in the past. The hip bump gets you to the mount position with very little energy lost. Check out how you can make your hip bump sweep strong as can be.

The hip bump is best used when your opponent’s hands are not on your body. This can be through his mistake, or by you clearing the hands off of your midsection or hips. Once the hands are cleared, you can go into the sweep almost instantly. You will have to get off of your back. So, when you’re ready, you have to open your closed guard. When your guard opens, you need to rotate yourself and get up on your right elbow. As you get up on your elbow, your left arm and shoulder has to go over your opponent’s right shoulder. While getting over his shoulder, you must move from your elbow to your hand to get more of a powerful extension. Then you need to cup your opponent’s right elbow with your right hand.

As this is happening, Your left foot should be planted on the ball of your foot. When you’re ready, you need to do all of these steps and finish by shooting your left hip bone right into your opponent’s mid section or chest, whatever is available. If you have done everything correctly, you will have blasted your opponent right over and you will end up in the mount position. And from there, you have a whole new set of fun techniques at your disposal.

This hip bump is an excellent sweep for so many reasons. Not only can you end up in the top position, but depending on how our opponent reacts, there is a series of attacks you can do. There are submission counters to those who try to defend against the sweep. This is a win-win situation for you, the user of the hip bump. For more awesome closed guard techniques, then check out…

The Closed Guard DVD set by Bernardo Faria. Click here!

Using The Japanese Necktie To Defeat The Turtle

For those of us that like to attack our opponents while they are in turtle, there is a whole world of attacks. Truck, calf slicers, crucifix, and arm bars all are possible from the turtle position. One particularly awesome way of attacking the turtle is to use head and arm chokes. D’arce chokes, anaconda chokes and a personal favorite of mine…the Japanese necktie. The Japanese necktie works as a great way of submitting your opponent while he tries to defend from the turtle. Let’s see how you can use the choke to finish anyone from the turtle…

So, as this starts, we see that the opponent is in the turtle position. First, you’ll need to get a strong upper body connection. So you will need to use you arms to go through your opponent’s arm and neck, similar to a D’arce choke. But instead of locking up the bicep/tricep grip, you’ll lock up a gable grip, similar to that of a no gi baseball bat choke. Once that grip is achieved, you’ll need to bring your top elbow down over his neck. After you have the grip locked up, you’re going to need your inside leg to hook his top leg and bring it to you. This leg hook will be crucial for finishing the choke.

The hardest parts are now down and the finish is close. You will need to drop your shoulder to the mat over your opponent. When you do that, you need to make sure that your stomach is against and covering the back of your opponent’s head. To finish this, you need to pull in with your arms and bridge your hips in. And trust me, your opponent will tap. Even if you don’t have the choke in clean, you will get a crank as well.

The Japanese necktie is a new school, yet high percentage submission. Richie Martinez, who is a black belt under Eddie Bravo has used it in both MMA and Submission Wrestling. And the choke has also made an appearance in the UFC courtesy of Matheus Nicolau. It can be a great tool to defeat the turtle. And if you’re looking at ways to get past the defensive capability of the turtle, then check out…

Attacking and Defending The Turtle. Click here!

Sumi Gaeshi Variation From Travis Stevens

The sumi gaeshi is one of the excellent throwing techniques from the art of Judo. It is a sacrifice throw, which means that even though you’re throwing your opponent, that you will go down as well. But just because it is a sacrifice throw does not mean it should be ignored. Sacrifice throws can be some of the most effective throws in all of grappling. It is a deceiving looking throw, where your back will hit the mat first, but you will end up in the dominant position when it is over. Olympic Judo silver medalist has a great variation on the sumi gaeshi that is not only applicable for Judo, but for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well. See how it is done…

Travis starts with a left handed grip on his opponent’s left side collar. He steps over to his left and turns his elbow downward. This causes the opponent’s elbow to somewhat collapse.  By doing these simple things, he gets an avenue to see his opponent’s back. Travis then takes his right arm and goes over his opponent’s back (by way of the right shoulder) and grabs the belt. After he grabs the belt, he pulls up on it and clamps his elbow down. He does this so that his opponent cannot regain the proper posture to defend against the throw.

Once the proper grips are in place, Travis will take his left leg and step in between his opponent’s legs. He points his foot off to the right, to get the correct angle. He makes sure that both of his legs are  bent so that he will be able to get the proper momentum. Travis sits down and pulls up on his opponent’s belt. He pulls him towards his head and uses his right leg to catch and assist with his opponent’s body going over him. He continues to use the momentum to roll right up into side control.

This is a great take down because you’re not putting yourself in a position of total vulnerability if you do make a mistake. Because it is a sacrifice throw, you will end up going down anyway. Worst case scenario is that you don’t hit it correctly, and you re-guard so that now your opponent has to work out of your guard. Travis is a master of both Judo and BJJ, and knows what throws can work for both arts. If you want to explore more Judo style throws for BJJ, then check out…

The Takedown Blueprint by Travis Stevens. Click here!