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Setting A Proper Crossface With John Danaher
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Setting A Proper Crossface With John Danaher

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We hear the term early and quite often in our training. Cross face. This highly utilized tactic is one of the most important aspects of control in all of BJJ and it is used in a variety of ways to control, subdue, and to ultimately advance in a match or even an altercation. It’s likely one of the first things we learn as newbies and this incredibly important piece of the jiu-jitsu puzzle will be a mainstay in your training for the duration of your time on the mat. There is however a right and a wrong way to apply this classic method of control. Haphazardly reaching under the head and hoping for the best will only get you so far in today's BJJ climate. To truly control a skilled training partner or opponent, you’ll need strategies that cultivate crushing pressure and provide high-level control. 


There are particular details that will make the application of the technique much more effective and powerful. We often take these things for granted as we gain control of the head and don't realize there's so much more under the surface that we can put to work to make our cross face efforts that much more devastating. A good coss face will command reactions from your opponents and in some cases it can even be used to submit if applied just right. 


John Danaher has some crucial details that he’d like to share with you on setting the proper cross face. In this particular scenario, Danaher is using the cross face as an initial step in passing the half guard where it's incredibly important that it's applied properly to keep the bottom player pinned while we continue passing. Take a look at this! 


 


Danaher addresses hand placement first. As he reaches under the head he highlights one of the most common mistakes related to the cross face. Grabbing the neck with the cross face hand can seem to offer security and control but as Danaher suggests, shooting to cover the rear deltoid will offer a tremendous amount of control and is a far superior anchoring point than the neck. Danaher offers us a point of reference, so that we know we’re in the right position. He takes his middle finger and aims to place it just at the opening of the armpit where the lat and delt muscle meet. When you've found this spot you know you've set your cross face properly and this puts your shoulder in the optimal position to deliver powerful pressure. 


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Next, Danaher will employ another strategy to tighten the cross face even further. He does this by pulling the elbow of his cross face arm to his knee, bringing his partner's body in tight to his own. Here, Danaher allows his chin to travel toward his partner’s jaw as he begins to move forward. He then rolls his shoulder forward, causing his partner to look in the opposite direction as he begins to elevate his hips, walking toward the head and positioning his weight behind his cross face, while then moving his own head toward the mat. With all of these positional details in place, Danaher has created a situation where it's incredibly difficult for the bottom player to keep an aligned body. This is highly detrimental to mounting any kind of positive defense or offense and it puts Danaher in the perfect position to continue passing. 


Danaher pauses for a moment to deal some sage advice. He explains that the true power of a cross face comes from the hips. That's worth repeating a few times. The further your hips are from your elbow, the less power your cross face will have. This is an incredibly important thing to realize when applying your cross face.


Danaher suggests we test our cross face with the presence of strangulation. When done properly there will be a small strangulation effect that occurs and this can be a tell-tale sign of a proficient and well-placed cross face. There will likely be some bloodshot eyes that will help you to prove the effectiveness of your technique. 


As per usual Dananer sheds some important light on themes that we may think we have a handle on but in reality we’ve only scratched the surface of. These kinds of tactics can have massive effects on our level of success and help us to understand these classic themes of BJJ on a much greater scale! 



The FINAL Chapter of the revolutionary “Go Further Faster Series” is HERE! Strangles & Turtle Breakdowns: BJJ Fundamentals - Go Further Faster by John Danaher is out NOW!

 

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