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After the Gift Wrap, with Eli Knight

After the Gift Wrap, with Eli Knight


When beginners tackle BJJ, they tend to learn in terms of discrete moves and steps.  This means their Jiu Jitsu has a lot of similarity to a traffic jam—lots of stop and go and stop again.

Ironically, some of the most confusing places for a new Jiu Jitero are dominant positions.  When a white belt finally gets to mount, their next thought can be “Now what???”

Similarly, getting an opponent secured in a Gift Wrap position feels like an end.  It’s an incredibly secure position. And when a technique concludes with us securing the gift wrap, we usually stop our drill there.

The problem is that gift wrap isn’t a submission; it’s a waystation.  In a street situation, you can, of course, disengage and escape. But in a competition or live rolling, it’s only a pause on the way to a submission.

In this video, Eli Knight and Jared Jessup show us some options for where we can proceed after securing the Gift Wrap.


Knight begins with his training partner in the Gift Wrap (0:48).  Using his left hand, Knight has Jessup’s right arm secured around his own neck.  Knight can more securely keep Jessup’s arm in place by pushing on Jessup’s secured elbow with his right hand.

Knight’s left knee slides up behind his partner’s back while his right foot blocks Jessup’s legs from kicking out.

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Since Knight’s first transition from Gift Wrap is to take his opponent’s back, Jessup’s wrapped elbow can be an obstacle, serving as a kick-stand that prevents Knight from rolling his opponent onto his stomach.

Counterintuitively, Knight loosens the Gift Wrap on his teammate, pressing Jessup’s protruding elbow into his chest.  Meanwhile, Knight keeps Jessup secured by keeping his chest secured against Jessup’s back.

By keeping himself tight against Jessup, Knight can roll him onto his stomach, ideally pinning both of his arms under the weight of both his own and Knight’s bodies.

Knight then has little trouble picking up Jessup’s head with one hand on his forehead, making plenty of space for his other arm to reach around and secure the Rear Naked Choke (1:27).

Next, Jessup shows us how to deal with an opponent in the Gift Wrap who throws out a leg as a kick stand.  

Instead of trying to move Knight’s outstretched leg, Jessup’s plan is to shift his teammate’s upper body.  

Just as Knight did, Jessup loosens his Gift Wrap on Knight.  This time, though, he slips his right hand under Knight’s upper arm and grabs his forearm (1:51).

With both hands securely gripping Knight’s forearm, Jessup puts his left elbow on the ground and then steps his back knee away from his opponent’s back.  This allows space for Jessup to pull Knight’s upper body in line with his legs. Once Knight’s body forms a straight line, Jessup can roll him onto his belly.

But Jessup has an alternative plan for completing this roll.  Since Jessup has both hands secured on Knight’s forearm and wrist, he uses them to roll Knight over.  Jessup places both sets of knuckles on the ground and then pulls Knight’s shoulder directly over his elbow.  Once Knight’s shoulder tips over past his elbow, it is easy for Jessup to roll him over (2:30).

Jessup then alternately walks each hand under Knight’s neck to make space for a choking arm.

If these two routes to an opponent’s back don’t work, Knight has a third option for us.  This time, instead of pushing an opponent over, Knight takes his back by pulling his opponent into a sitting position.

Knight uses the same two-hand-on-forearm grip as Jessup used, but he then windshield wipers his left foot toward Jessup’s lower back.  

From there, Knight sits Jessup up as he also sits up behind him.

From this sitting position, Knight wants to make sure that Jessup falls to Knight’s underhook side.  It is also important that Knight’s head is closer to the mat. This prevents Jessup from escaping back control easily.  And since Knight still has both arms on Jessup’s forearm and wrist, he uses one to push Jessup’s arm down while the other secures the Rear Naked Choke hold around Jessup’s neck (4:29).

Following these approaches to taking the back, Jessup shows us how to transition from Gift Wrap to an armbar.

Jessup opts for this attack because, while he has both of his arms secured on Knight’s gift wrapped arm, Knight is throwing his other arm forward to prevent Jessup from rolling him onto his belly.  

Jessup keeps his grip on Knight’s wrist, but he removes his right hand from Knight’s forearm and locks it into a figure four grip on his left wrist.  Jessup then slides his left arm around Knight’s head and across his face, stopping when his left arm is underneath Knight’s chin.  

Keeping his weight on his hands, Jessup walks his right foot closer to his arms.  Jessup then swings his left leg around Knight’s head, falling back and taking Knight’s arm with him for the armbar (5:22).

Knight shows his own variations on this armbar.  Instead of the figure four grip, he uses one hand to press his opponent’s head to the mat as he swings his back foot around Jessup’s head.  

He also suggests bringing both arms up with you as you fall back into the armbar.  That way, an opponent can’t scoop your leg as you attempt to complete the submission (6:45).

Another option from Gift Wrap is the triangle, and Knight demonstrates that technique.

He starts off with Jessup in a tight Gift Wrap; however, Jessup is using his free arm as a post to prevent Knight from rolling him onto his belly.  

Knight traps that arm with his free hand and works his lead foot up toward that arm.  Then, he pins that arm down with his foot.

He then places his weight on that foot, enabling him to pick up Jessup’s head with his left hand.  Once he’s cleared a path under Jessup’s head, Knight shoots his foot and leg under Jessup’s head and, picking his own ankle up, locks in the triangle (7:56).

Jessup then shows how this triangle is still possible, even if your opponent turns onto his back facing you.  Essentially, this places Jessup in the mount position. And, from here, Jessup shifts from side to side to work one leg beneath Knight’s head and then to lock the triangle.

Finally, Knight discusses how—if in a street fight or a competition that allows striking—the Gift Wrap allows an excellent opportunity to land multiple blows upon an opponent’s head.

Further, the pressure to escape from these strikes will often make an opponent naturally inclined to roll over onto his stomach, making the back-take an even simpler process.

Overall, Knight and Jessup offer a number of options so that you don’t get to the Gift Wrap and then freeze up wondering where to go next.

Jiu-Jitsu Based Self Defense Solutions by Eli Knight
Whether you are a Black-Belt, White-Belt, or No Belt Jiu-Jitsu Based Solutions By Eli Knight will give you the tools required to survive a real life altercation where your attacker is trying to inflict serious harm to you. Will you accept less than the best in training, when your life depends on it? If the answer is a resounding NO, than Jiu-Jitsu Based Solutions By Eli Knight is for YOU!



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