Friday, April 07, 2056

Seminar note links

Image by Bluefluke

John Will

7 Apr 2018 - Butterfly Guard
4 Mar 2018 - Turtle Defence
11 Nov 2017 - Pirate Grip, Russian Tie
15 Oct 2017 - Half Guard, the Seed
5 Mar 2017 - Ashi Garami 2.0, Honey Hole and Heel Hook
9 Oct 2016 - Ashi Garami, straight footlock
John Will Seminar 16 April 2016- Legbars
21 Feb 2016 - collar grip guard, single leg X guard
30 Aug 2015 - post clinch takedown strategy, Z guard, kneeride
22 Feb 2015 - Snatch Single, Vale Tudo Guard, Darce/Anaconda
24 August 2014 - a Spider Guard Plan
23 Feb 2014 - Advanced Spider Guard
29th September 2013 - Crucifix Control
24 March 2013 - X Guard
21 Oct 2012 - ankle picks, Z guard
21 April 2012 - Z guard
25 Mar 2012 - Guard Passing
2 Oct 2011 - takedown strategy, 2 on 1
20 Aug 2011 - D'arce choke, Deep Half Guard
3 July 2011 Side control escapes and counters
John Will Seminar 16 Apr 2011 - attacking from the turtle
20 Mar 2011 - Hooks and hooking sweeps
24 Oct 2010 - Anaconda, D'arce, Peruvian Necktie, Shackle
15 Aug 2010 - Back Control
14 Mar 2010 - Kata Gatame
18 Oct 2009 - Getting the back, back attacks
1 August 2009 breaking out of the clinch, roundhouse kicks and takedowns
4th April 2009 - hooking sweeps, S Mount armbar
1 Nov 2008 - open guard, side control escapes
5 April 2008 - Shell, Omoplata
20 Oct 2007 - X guard
Jul 28, 2007 - MMA defence from bottom, darce
31 MAR 2007 Shell in depth and takedowns
29 October 2006 - Triangles,knees in guard. passing half guard, visor
29 July 2006 - handstand sweep, side back escapes
8 Apr 2006 - turtle escapes, pillow escape
9 Jul 2005 - half guard bottom
9 Apr 2005 - better choke and armbar from mount
23 Oct 2004 - hooks-in and side back techs
10 Jul 2004 armdrag from guard, crossface
6 Mar 2004 - sweeps, legbar against open guard, passing
18 Oct 2003 - basic takedowns, legbars

Interested in going to a seminar with John Will? Check his seminar schedule and sign up.

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell's Jiu Jitsu for a Lifetime seminar - 3 Feb 2018
Steve Maxwell's Jiu Jitsu for a Lifetime Seminar 4 Feb 2017
Steve Maxwell's Integrated Breathing Seminar 11th February 2017
Steve Maxwell - Gracie Jiu Jitsu Core Concepts - 11 Feb 2017
Steve Maxwell's Jiu Jitsu for a lifetime /Mobility Conditioning for Jiu Jitsu and MMA seminar 6th February 2016
Steve Maxwell's Jiu Jitsu for Life seminar - 14 March 2015

Carlos Machado

Carlos Machado Seminar - 7th May 2018
Carlos Machado Seminar - 7th May 2015
Carlos Machado seminar - 8th May 2014
Carlos Machado seminar 16 May 2013
Carlos Machado seminar 10 May 2012

Rigan Machado

The Gathering 2017
Rigan Machado 17 Sep 2016
Rigan Machado Seminar 15 Sep 2007
Rigan Machado Seminar 21 Aug 2004

Jean Jacques Machado

Jean Jacques Machado seminar 28 July 2012

Richard Norton

Richard Norton seminar 21 November 2015

Gui Mendes

"Secret Session" at Langes MMA with Gui Mendes

Dave Camarillo

Dave Camarillo 16 Sep 2017 - offside grip, King's chair, SAP
Dave Camarillo seminar 3 Sep 2016 - Kimura grip, armbar

Pedro Sauer

Pedro Sauer 24 Oct 2016

Stanley Tam

Stanley Tam Qigong Seminar 25 Feb 2017

Rodney King

Crazy Monkey Defense System 10th June 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rodney King's Crazy Monkey Defense System seminar - 10 June 2018

The seminar was held are George Adams' gym in Lakemba. Thanks to George for arranging the seminar and to his students for their friendly and welcoming attitude.

Seminar group

The best place to get an idea of Rodney's background and qualifications to teach personal defence, and an overview of his system and its rationale, is on these websites:

Rodney's website
Crazy Monkey Defense website

Suffice to say he is very well qualified.


We face our opponent, one foot forward.

Our feet need to be wider than our hips for the fundamental concept of balance. When moving, we never want to end up with our feet narrower, or crossed up, as our balance and ability to defend or strike will be compromised.

We should be up on the toes of our back foot. Both feet face forwards at the opponent. We need to be able to drive forward from the back foot without adjustment. Turning the back foot out to the side is a  giant no-no.

We pull our stomach in and try to pull our upper body down into our hips, rounding our shoulders to pull our elbows down and in to protect our flanks.

Our shoulders are raised and our chin and head pulled down to hide and protect our neck and jaw. The neck and throat cannot easily be conditioned and must be protected.

If your head is up and you get hit on the side of the jaw, the shock tends to go up into the brain. With the proper CM stance, the shock will go down through the body into the ground.

Hands are up near the cheekbones, protecting the face, for now.


We do not want to compromise our balance, or ability to move again, defend or hit. Movements should in general be small. Better several small steps preserving the integrity of our stance rather than one big step which compromises balance or stance integrity.

For an orthodox fighter (L foot forward), forward movement requires us to push off the back R foot, and take a small step with the L foot, always coming back to the same stance. The same applies to stepping to our L or circling anticlockwise. Make sure the back foot comes back to the correct stance every time when drilling, do not let it drag and compromise the stance.

For the orthodox fighter to move back, push off with the front L foot, step with the R, bring the L foot back to the correct stance again. Same for moving to the R or circling clockwise. As before, take small steps and make sure each steps lands you back in the correct stance.

Forming a Fist

A proper fist is formed by pointing the fingers outward laterally (for the L hand point the fingers out to the L), then closing the fist, keeping the forearm muscles tight. If done properly, this will prevent the wrist from bending forward and collapsing.

You can test this by forming a fist without pointing the fingers outward and having a partner trying to bend your wrist with his hands. It will be bendable if you do not align the fingers as discussed, but if done correctly with the fingers pointed out first, your pratner should be unable to bend your wrist.

Jab and Cross

The jab should be thrown with the chin kept on the chest, so it is tucked securely behind the deltoid of the punching arm, and thus safe from counter punches.

The cross requires you to open your hips so the rear hip can come forward behind the punch. An orthodox fighter should step his L foot slightly to the L to allow the R hip to move. Turn the L foot slightly in so it still faces the opponent. Bend the R knee and allow the stance to drop slightly as you throw the cross. Remember once again to keep shoulders lifted, head and chin tucked and keep the chin hidden behind the deltoid of the punching arm. Always finish in the proper stance, retaining stance integrity and balance.

If throwing the jab cross combo, step the L foot out as above with the jab to set up the cross that follows.

Drill: Jab/cross on focus mitts or Thai pads, bare handed. Partner should move around and hide and flash the pads each time, so the puncher can work movement, timing, and distancing. Use broken rhythm.


Against hooks to the head

From their position down near the cheekbones, slide your hand up and grab the back of your head. Hide your chin and lock everything in tight. You need to grab the back of your head as the target may be anywhere from the jaw to knockout points on the back of your head. After blocking the punch return your hand immediately to the guard position.

For most of the drills, you want a defence position with your hands touching your head, up near the hairline. With gloves on, the fingers of the palm side of your gloves should be on your head, without gloves, your palms and fingers are on your hairline as if running your hands through your hair. do not take your hands off your head while defending - you will end up hitting yourself in the head or leaving gaps to get hit through.

Drill: Partner has focus mitts, you have boxing gloves. Partner throws slap-style hooks with the pads, you defend as above. Start light and ensure the punchee is not so pressed as to abandon good form.

Against straight punches, jabs and crosses to the head

From the defence position with hands on your head, shift your elbow into the centre, blocking the punch with the bone of the forearm or the seam of the glove. You can block a L jab with either your R or L forearm. You can block a L jab R cross combination with a L forearm and R forearm, an R and an L or two L forearms (blocking with two R forearms might be inefficient and risky). You should mix the responses to avoid becoming predictable.

Drill: Partner has focus mitts, you have boxing gloves. your partner should left his fingers and strike with the flat of the pad, rather than the forward edge, for safety. Partner throws jabs and crosses with the pads, you defend with the forearms.

You should not block punches and step straight back for more than a couple of steps. After that, start circling away to the side. You should practice circling away to both sides and mix them up while drilling so as to avoid predictability.

Our gaze should be on the "Bermuda triangle" between his shoulders and his sternum. You should not try to watch the hands. Rodney demonstrated how his reaction time to block the glove, while watching the triangle, is very much faster than when he watches the gloves.

The other value of circling is that it allows us to get a look at the wider lay of the land - other people, obstacles, exits, etc. while still keeping our attention on the opponent. As we have a tendency to "tunnel vision" under stress, and we never want to turn our heads away from the immediate threat and "Bermuda triangle", the circling can be very useful.

You will be able to move quicker from a base of movement rather than stillness. So, both move in the stance, but also keep moving your hands on your head constantly, as your reactions and movements will be faster that way. Rodney used the analogy of a tennis player waiting to receive a serve. No one stands there awaiting the serve in a horse stance.

Drill: Partner with mitts throws jabs, crosses, hooks, mixing them up. You defend and keep circling away to both sides.

Drill: Partner with mitts throws jabs, crosses, hooks in various combinations, you defend and cricle, then he holds both pads out for you to return a jab cross. Return to defending, then hold the pads up, repeat.

"Rimshot" Range

This seminar is an intro to "CM1", which works where we are at a range where he cannot hit us without taking a step, but if he does take a step, he can hit us or we can hit him. This is "Rimshot" range.

"CM2" deals with closer ranges than this. We are not ready for this yet. There are CM3 and CM4 after that.

It is important that we understand how to stay at rimshot range and  be able defend ourselves there. If we get too close, we can be hit, clinched with, taken down, etc. If we are too far away, we may not have time to close and hit or grab/smother him if he tries to access a purpose made or improvised weapon.

If we are able to "ride the storm" of his attack and retaliate with our own strikes, we need to be mindful that once we stop striking him, his automatic reaction will probably be to retaliate with strikes of his own. We need to move back out of range without giving him the opportunity to hit us while we are doing it.

As we move away, we need to jab, jab, jab to keep him from following until we are back at the relative safety of rimshot range. The jab away may be a hard push or slap to the chest rather than a punch to the head if the situation does not yet warrant punching. Much like Geoff Thompson's push away, when they start closing in on your Fence.

Drill: Similar to the previous - partner attacks with the pads, then hold them up for the jab cross. Then he presses in at you. You should circle back to rimshot range while throwing jabs. Often, only the first jab might connect.

A short video from the seminar recorded by George Adams

Progressive Stress Inoculation

It is important to start slow and ramp this stuff up at a level the student can cope with. Certainly not go at them full speed, full power from the get go. "Challenging but achievable", perhaps? As Keith Owen (IIRC) said, "If you break your toys, you don't get to play any more". This applies to training partners, and of course applies to Jiu Jitsu, and other aspects of martial arts training, as well as boxing.


We want to avoid violence. Don't make such situations a battle of egos. Try to use verbal Jiu Jitsu to defuse situations. You do not have to beat, dominate, or punish the other guy. If you cant defuse the situation with words, defend just long enough to make an exit.

If you can distract the guy and get out of there, that's SO much better than a knock down drag out confrontation where you might end up dead, or in jail. Dead hero is an overrated state.

Rodney and myself

Thursday, May 31, 2018

It seems to be working - Part I

I went to my GP a few weeks back for my annual checkup. I've gone once a year since I turned fifty. I am now sixty-three.

He asked me if I had any problems eating, sleeping, going to the toilet, etc. No.

I take no prescribed medication.

I am in good shape for my age, about the same weight I was when I was twenty-five, i.e. seventy-six kilos, with a visible six pack.

Age sixty-three. Unfortunately the hair on my head did not survive as well as the rest

He listened to my chest with a stethoscope. Got me to breathe noisily, pant and cough. All good.

He took my blood pressure. 114/78. Right in the normal range.

He sent me to the local pathology centre for blood tests. Sixteen Haematology indicators, eighteen biochemistry indicators, four lipids and HDL (cholesterol) indicators, glucose, PSA (prostate), all within the normal ranges.

Except for the HDL cholesterol, which is slightly above the normal range, but that's the "good" cholesterol, so that is perfectly fine.

I have regular bowel cancer checks as well, the details of which I will spare you. All good, to date.

I attribute my good fortune here to, well, good fortune -  to a large degree.

My wife Pat is largely responsible for my diet, and I think she plans healthy meals and prepares them well.

I don't consciously avoid many foods because of potential health impacts. Every time I've tried a serious fashionable diet, I've gotten sick, was unable to get some of the necessary ingredients, or something else went wrong. So we eat fairly conventionally. Meat and three veg.

I eat as much as I want, which isn't generally a huge amount. I could probably eat cleaner and better than I do, had I a good reason to do so, or a good reason NOT to do otherwise. I drink alcohol, and could drink less.

The rest is a lifestyle in which martial arts practice plays an integral part.

Not just going to regular classes, but all the other things we do to stay healthy, and get stronger, more mobile, agile, and enduring to be able to do more training at different intensities more often. As well as my formal stylistic practice, I do qigong and other breathwork, much of which I got from Steve Maxwell, directly or indirectly. Steve, at 65, is definitely my Mr Jiu Jitsu for a Lifetime.

My current reasons for training definitely involve self defence  - in the wider sense, not just physical, but also financial, emotional, and guarding against sickness and the ravages of time for as long as possible. Looking at it another way, I train martial arts to be able to keep training martial arts as long as possible. The other health benefits are consequences, not necessarily unintended.

I want to move well into advanced age. Avoid muscle wasting and reduced bone density as far as possible. Stay agile, mobile and nimble enough to avoid the damaging falls that seem to signal the beginning of the end for many old people.

(Just so you know, "old" means bout ten years older than me. It's been this way since I was about forty-five).

This is not a boast. I am no superman. I am not preaching, but testifying. This lifestyle has, to date, worked very well for me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Carlos Machado Seminar 7 May 2018 - Straitjacket, Elbow Dig, Pliers

The prof and I

The seminar was held at Lange's MMA, North Manly. Thanks to Anthony, Nikki, and Prof. Carlos. Oh, and Nick, my training partner for the evening.

Seminar group

Closed Guard - Getting the arm drag position, flower flip

You have him in your closed guard. He has some type of grip on your collar(s) on your chest. Assume he is gripping your collars with his R hand. Get a grip on his R sleeve with your own R hand, and cup the L hand over both your R hand and his to prevent grip stripping attempts.

Alternately bridge and crunch.

Bridge by pulling your heels in toward his butt and lifting your hips. your guard should be fairly low on his hips.

Crunch by .. crunching, but also pulling him in with your legs.

Each crunch will apply significant pressure on his wrist and grip. He probably won't tap out, but he will likely relax his grip which will allow you to nudge it across your body to your R with your hip. Or, move your hip out to the L away from his hand. You can also nudge his R arm across using your L elbow.

Once you have his R arm fully across his body, you can crunch up and reach around his back and grab his lattismus dorsi muscle under his L armpit with your L hand, or grab a "wrinkle" on the back of his gi. Pull your L elbow close to your body to deny him any space to extract his R arm.

You now want to start working your hips back to the R to get back underneath him. You should open your guard now and use your feet on the ground to do this. Carlos often moves backward as well to pull the guy further off his base. Get your hips under and twist his body so his hips turn to your L. Turn towards him, kick your R leg up under his armpit, use your L foot to knock his R leg out from under like a a scissor sweep and complete the flower flip.

N.B. There is a lot of things Carlos will do with moving his hips in various directions which are too much reliant on the situation and feel for my limited writing abilities to be able to properly elucidate.

That move was really a prelude to ...

Pressure Passing

You are in his closed guard. Lie on him, get chest to chest, forearms blocking his shoulders and arms. Get off your knees, legs out behind and up on your toes. All your weight is on him. Don't do anything, just WAIT.

Dont worry if he has a sleeve control, just put your forearm over the top of that upper arm and apply the pressure. Your bodyweight on top will basically nullify any utility it had.

He should eventually want or need to start pushing on your shoulders or chest to create space. When he starts to push, start walking up to a tripod position one foot at a time and raise your hips. If he keeps pushing start walking your hands down his body until they are on his hips.

If you stay static here, he may be able to pull you straight forward and off balance. To prevent this, sway from side to side, bending and straightening your legs alternately. This prevents him from getting a good angle to be able to pull you forward.

Turn your hips to the R, putting pressure on his R hip with your L hip, looking to break his ankle grip. When his legs do open, turn to face R, stretch your L leg behind you and get your R knee behind his L thigh, up on the toes of your L foot. Make sure you keep forward and downward pressure on him so he cannot knock you over backwards. Keep the pressure on and WAIT, again, for him to start pushing back at you.

(NB - wheter you tur nto your R or L probably depends on what he does as much as your preference.

When he pushes back at you, move your hips back slightly so that you can scoop up his R ankle in the crook of your L elbow. Go for the ankle, not the knee. Flare your L elbow out and up to the side to straighten his R leg, then drop your shoulder and hip so your L arm is on his torso, and sideways sprawl your legs so your L hip is pressuring on his R hip. Hip to hip pressure is crucial here. If his R leg is still blocking your head or whatever, WAIT until he starts trying to push you with it. If you have good hip to hip pressure, it should be easy to let his L leg slip past your face and to your R and you have pretty much completed the pass.

If he is doing a heavyleg with his R leg making it hard for you to scoop up his ankle, grab the outside of his R knee and pull it to the R, thus making the shin and heel jut out in space. You should now find it much easier to scoop up under your L elbow.

If he is using the heavy leg but he is controlling your R sleeve so you cannot manipulate his R knee as above, grab his calf with your L hand and drive your hips forward. Again , you should have a longer bit of his shin to hook your elbow under and lift up.

If he gets his R knee across in a type of Z guard configuration,  or uses other types of open guard,this will still work with some minor adjustments.

If he has a De La Riva hook in, you must turn towards it. You need to turn the knee on that side out, and come up on the heel, lifting your toes, downward pressure on the knee on that side should make it hard of even painful for him to keep the outside hook. The rest of the pass should be substantially the same.

If he gets a DLR hook with his L leg on your R and puts his R foot on your L thigh, he will want to scoot around to your R and set up and angle for a sweep, etc. Turn your R knee out as before, and grab the knee and pull it to you, thus keeping his foot in place. If/when you feel the pressure change, move back slightly, grab his foot and pull it past your hip, dropping your weight and pressuring him.

As Pete King observed, there is no point in rushing the pass. It is nearly all about waiting for his reactions to our pressure, and our capitalising on those reactions. Let him decide when you move and how long it takes.

There seems to be some potential in that hip to hip pressure for controlling an opponent safely and strongly.

And I'd say that once again, the movements you use rely strongly on what he does and so it is impossible to go into all the nuances.

Plus, to be brutally honest, there's way more to all this than I was able to grasp during the seminar.

Tough black belts

The Straitjacket and Side Control Escape

He is passing our guard, on our R side. We stop him getting a good side control position by adopting the Straitjacket.

He is coming around to our R. We block inside his L arm with our R arm to prevent the crossface. Our R arm is nearly straight, with the palms turned up, so we are blocking his arm with the back of ours. we want to keep his R arm back near his hip. Our L arm is pushing against the L side of his head in a similar configuration. His bodyweight and head should be pushed well down towards our hips. "Spread him out" with our arms.

If he pushes in with his R arm, we can guide it over our head and around to the other side with our L hand. If he tries to pull it back again, use both hands to return it to the original position. He should never come close to grabbing our head.

I understand the "straitjacket" name comes from the way we keep his R hand close to his hip, sort of like ... a straitjacket.

Crunch and "Elbow Push" Escape

From the straitjacket, he has pushed his R arm across and we have taken it over the L side of our head both forearms on each end of his upper R arm. (not hands - hands are the weak link).We are turned to our L.

We kick our legs straight out just off the floor, which gives us momentum to crunch up, pulling on his R arm. We the curl our feet back under our butt as far as we can. Now we push with our legs and arms and escape our hips out behind us. We are now on our L side facing him. Do not turn away - instead get your  R leg out and on top of him, and/or reestablish your guard.

(This bears some resemblance to the elbow push escape popularised by Marcelo Garcia, though the way MG does it is much more of a lever and timing based movement, relying on momentum, and this way uses frames more and can be done much slower and more deliberately).

If he keeps following you with his knees and you cant get your hips out, you may need to revert to more standard shrimping and framing side to side.

The Elbow Dig Escape

He passes to our R. We catch him in the straitjacket. He shows no desire to try to grab our head.

We turn toward him and pass our L arm over his head, and ideally "dig" it in to his L tricep. If you cant quite reach it, go for the armpit or front of his chest on that side. This "Elbow Dig" now forms a frame which we can use to escape. Hold him in place with your L elbow. Start sliding your R knee and hips underneath him, using Your L leg posting in the floor to push. Use the L elbow pushing down, or grab the back of his armpit with your L hand, to keep his head down and stop him regaining posture. Put him back in closed guard. His L arm may be vulnerable to kimuras, cutting armbars and wristlocks here.

This then, is the Elbow Dig. Make sure you keep the elbow where it is and do not let it slide across toward the centre of his chest.

Friendly black belts

Elbow Dig if he switches base

If you get the Elbow Dig from the Straitjacket and he switches base to face your head and his weight shifts backwards, follow him with your L elbow (the one digging) and come up on your R elbow. If you keep pushing with both elbows and move your hip away, you should be able to roll him over you onto his back for the reversal.

Elbow Dig if he grips the near arm

A common tactic for the passer to your R is to grip your R arm as he comes around, and pull it up, ostensibly to flatten you out, either on the end of the sleeve or at the elbow. The elbow is more effective for him, usually.

Just go to the straitjacket as before, pushing his hand back toward his hip. This will put his wrist and hand in an uncomfortable and perhaps painful position. If you perform the Elbow dig with your L elbow now, you can hold his arm in place while you break the grip on your R sleeve. and then proceed with the escape as before, either recovering closed guard or rolling him.

Roll him if he switches base

If you have the straitjacket and he goes to switchbase, particularly if he lifts his hips to place weight on you, this may give you another escape opportunity. Move your feet to the R (rock and roll steps), keep the pressure on the straitjacket, and start sliding your hips to the R underneath him. once his hips turn, you can use the R arm to to "chop" his R shoulder down as you bridge and roll him over the top of you and onto his back.

Once he starts going over as you bridge, kick your L leg straight so as to turn your hips and his. Keep the L foot posted here, and you actually get in your own way.

Do not try to use the R arm to lift him over you. Instead move your hips underneath him until he goes, and then use the R arm to "chop" him down.

Escaping a strong switchbase

If he has a strong switch base posture (it is called the hundred kilo position after all) and you do  not feel the previous tactics will work, more your R arm from pushing on his L arm to pushing on the R side of his head. Stay flat and move your hips away, your feet moving in a circle out to your L. You thus take you body out from underneath him and he will fall to his back, as you come up to take top position. Similar to the collar push escape, but this should also work no gi.

Beating the Crossface

He is passing to your R and beats your straitjacket and catches you in the crossface, his L arm pushing on your jaw.

You need to wrap his upper arm and shoulder with both of yours. Your L elbow is under his jaw. Don't push away - instead, grab that arm tight and pull in

"Stretch his skin" by pulling your hands apart, as a result pushing his head away with your L elbow.  Try to create enough space to get your R knee, then hips underneath him and get to closed guard.

Consolidating an Open Guard, and Pliers Sweep

Say you have closed guard on the guy, and he stands up. You should get both sleeve grips. Or he is approaching your open guard in a good position, with his elbows on his thighs, stopping you from putting your feet to his hips. Grab his sleeves in any case.

So he is standing in your guard, your legs are open. You have his sleeves.

Move your hips and turning from side to side, putting weight  on his hips and pushing away by raising yours and pushing down with your legs and heels ("sinking the spurs"). until you are able to get a heel to the hip. Assume you get the L heel in his R hip.

Anytime you can get the R hand in his R collar, do so. Carlos did it late in the process in the seminar, but on his "Seven Winning Strategies" video series, he gets the collar first.

So you have his R sleeve with your L hand, your R and is in his collar, and your L foot is in his R hip. You can put your R leg in the crook of his L arm. Get your L knee outside and pressuring his R elbow, and bring your L knee in as well. Drill and experiment with keeping the position.

For the "Pliers" sweep, get your L knee behind his R elbow and use it to bring him closer. Wrap your R leg around the back of his L leg (sinking the spurs once again), and then wrap your L leg around the other side, joining your ankles like closed guard, pulling his knees together until they touch. Like a pair of pliers.

Move your hips slightly off centre (probably to the R), then rock him side to side with your legs until he falls. Be gentle in training, If he falls hard onto his R shoulder and you have his R arm this could damage his shoulder.


Professor/Master Carlos seems to really enjoy the teaching process. He is doing a LOT of it in Australia.

He makes Jiu Jitsu seem almost effortless, much the same as I noticed with fellow coral belts Rigan and Pedro Sauer. Not there yet myself by any stretch, but hoping.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

John Will Seminar 7 April 2018 - Butterfly Guard

The seminar was held at George Adams' gym at West Pennant Hills.

Butterfly is a better option for self defence than closed guard due to your ability to control distance and turn them over.

Warm Up - Rocking Chair

Our partner is on his knees. We have two hooks in facing him, lying on our backs. We sit up and get double underhooks in him, rolling back and elevate him using our hooks.

We should align out hands in the underhooks as if using both thumbs to point behind us over our shoulders. The common option of grabbing his back with the palms of our hands is not nearly as strong a motion.

Put him back down, disengage the arms, lie back down, sit up and get double overhooks, and elevate him again. Repeat with one over one under, then one over one under on the opposite sides.

Repeat the double underhook / double overhook / one over one under / one over one under opposite side as long as desired. Then give your partner a turn.

Basic Butterfly Sweep

We are in his butterfly guard. Sit up and post behind you with your L arm moving your hips out the the R, allowing you to get a deep grip on his belt under his L arm with your R hand. Try and touch his L knee with your butt. Clinch down hard with your R hand and arm. This attachment to him is the most fundamental principle of the butterfly guard sweep.

Next we want to control his L arm by grabbing his R elbow with our L hand and pinching his R wrist under our L armpit. Elevate him with our hooks, keeping the arm controls, and sweep him to our L by taking our R foot, and his L leg, overhead to the R (about 10:30 on the clock) while kicking toward 6 on the clock with our R foot, causing his R leg and hip to straighten, taking away hs base and spinning him to our L.

We do NOT go to mount. He has an overhook and could keep us rolling to our L so we end up on bottom again. Going to mount can also give him an opportunity to catch you in half guard.

Instead, put your R knee to the mat between your bodies and go to side control on his R. Your R ear should be pushing against his L arm so as to keep it between your head and your R underhook. As early as you can, bring your L elbow to the L side of his head so both your arms are underhooking his L arm. Keep pressure with your ear on his arm so you have the "radar" ready for the next technique.

If you do not get the L arm over his head like this, he can bring his L arm up in front of your face and from a frame with his L elbow on the L side of your head.

If you do get the L arm over and trap his L arm with both your own, and attempt to bring his arm in front of your face will expose it to a fairly easy Americana, demonstrated in the video below by Renzo Gracie, using his "answering the phone" technique. (I was first shown this by John around fifteen years ago).

Renzo Gracie demonstrates "answering the phone" to get the Americana from side control

Setting up the arm and head control during the sweep is an example of planning ahead. Think beyond the sweep to high percentage follow up techniques.

Zero to One - How to get to Butterfly Guard

Many coaches can teach a multitude of sweeps from a particular guard, but may not teach ways to achieve that guard in the first place. If they cannot reach that guard successfully in rolling, then the sweeps become pretty much useless to them.

The "Zero to One" concept is the idea of taking that first step towards a goal from nothing. Getting from destitution and sleeping on cardboard boxes to renting a one room apartment. This is often the most difficult step. Jordan Peterson also talks a fair bit about the difficulty of getting off zero.

So - getting from zero - to butterfly guard.

He is kneeling in front of you. You are sitting on the mat, posting on your L arm. Your L arm  is the engine which allows you to close with him, and chase him if he starts backing away. It also forms part of your base.

You want to grab his L collar with your R hand. This then restricts his movement in two directions. forward and backward. You can pull him in or stiff arm him away with the collar grip.

Your inside foot, the L in this case, points between his knees. As he moves, you shift position using your L hand to keep your inside foot aimed between his legs.

Now, pull half guard on your L side. Get a knee shield pinching low on his hip with your R knee. Cross your feet, not your ankles. The knee shield is vital to stop him smashing you down flat.

You have now restricted his movement in four directions, from back, left and right. Come up on your L elbow or hand and get the underhook and belt grip with your R hand. Move your hips back slightly and get your R hook in as well. Come up on your L hand, grab his R elbow and wrist and sweep him to your L with a basic butterfly sweep, as before.

Cross sleeve, belt grab, dive under, one in three out, sweep.

Cross sleeve Butterfly Sweep

You have your two hooks in and get both hands on his R sleeve. Pull hard on the sleeve  and sit up, pulling his R arm across your body to the R, reaching around his R arm with your L to grab his belt. Come up on your R hand and pressure his R arm, and cinch tight with your L arm on his belt, to stop him getting it back out. Same principles of attachment as before.

On other media, John had suggested thinking of the movement to get his arm across as if you are pulling on his arm in an attempt to stand up. This engages your lower body in the pulling action as well, increasing its power.

Coming up on the R hand, cinching with the L and pressing in with your torso is more effective in trapping his R arm than attempting to keep hold of the sleeve with the R hand.

You want to underhook his L arm with your R, and end up underneath him with his head to the L of yours before sweeping. Take you R post away and attempt to drop beneath him, as far out to your R under him as possible. It will probably not be enough, and you may need to escape your hips out to your R, perhaps three times. The more you move you hips R, the easier the sweep will become. You need to get his head to the L side of yours. Now use your hooks as for the basic butterfly sweep to sweep him to your L. The same provisos apply to your R underhook in his L arm as they did for the basic butterfly sweep.

Front Belt Grab Sweep

You have butterfly guard. Sit up and grab his belt in front of him with your L hand. Use this grip to grab the belt with your R hand using an underhand grip, palm up. You can let go with the L once you have got the R grip.

Elevate him using the R hand grip as attachment, and sweep him to your L. Block his R elbow with your L hand to prevent him posting and stopping the sweep. The relative lack of close attachment here probably means you will need to scramble after the sweep. The objective of scrambling is to get on top and prevent him going to his knees.

The "Helio" or Pirate Grip

From closed guard. Grab his R sleeve with both hands,. Retaining the sleeve grip with your R hand, reach under his R arm with your L and grab his L collar. Flare your L elbow out somewhat so your L elbow is above his R elbow. This is the "Helio" grip - though in an earlier seminar I attended John referred to it as the Pirate Grip. This is a strong attachment.

Hip out and get your feet on his hips, then move your feet to butterfly guard and sit up. If he starts backing away, he will help pull you up into the sitting position.

Rock back. elevate him and sweep him to your L. Keep the grips and use his momentum to "hitch hike" to the top position. Many options from here.

The benefit of this position is its effectiveness, combined with its relative obscurity. Most people will not have seen it and thus not had time to develop counters to it. There are no instructional videos (yet). It is worth considering and seeking out other controls, positions, or techniques with similar profiles.

Drop Throw

The Helio/Pirate grip can be extremely useful from standing.

He grabs your L collar with his R hand. Get two hands on his R sleeve and break the grip by pushing the sleeve away while pulling the chest back. Keep your R hand grip on the sleeve and reach under his R arm to grab his L collar. As he squares up, flare your L elbow up and out the the L.

Kick your R leg between you and sit/lie down with your butt more or less on his feet and pull him into kneeride. The grips will prevent him stabilising and it is easy to roll him over you to the L and onto his back. Keep the grips and hitch hike up to the top position. If you get to your feet his R arm is right there for an armbar attack.

John called this a Drop Throw.

The video below shows the setup for the Helio grip from closed guard, moving to butterfly guard and sweeping, the standing Helio grip and Drop Throw, and a variation of the Drop Throw ending in an ashi garami control with an inside heel hook attack.

John and Simon Farnsworth demonstrating some options using the Helio/Pirate grip

You can use entries normally used to obtain the Russian tie / 2 on 1 and vary the control by using the Helio/Pirate collar grip.

Roll under him and Sweep from Helio Grip

You have Butterfly Guard with the Helio / Pirate grip. He is backing away, which may may the butterfly sweep more difficult. Instead, flare your L elbow up, swing your feet to the L and behind you and roll under him to your R, pulling him over top of you and onto his back. Keep the grips and come on top.

Alternative Helio Grip Setup

From closed guard, get a deep grip in his L collar with your L hand as if setting up for a cross collar choke. Roll slightly to your L and get your L elbow on the floor. Try to complete the choke with your R hand. If you can, you win. If he tries to block with his R hand grab that sleeve with yours. You can now square up with the Helio Grip and move on to butterfly guard. Taking your L elbow to the floor makes it hard for the guy to put his R arm under yours, or do much else other than present the grip you want.

John made the observation here that sometimes toying with the order in which you set up controls  or execute techniques can sometimes lead to significant or interesting improvements. Here we went collar then sleeve, instead of sleeve, then collar.

I attended a seminar at Universal Combat Academy last year where John explored the uses of the Helio / Pirate grip in considerably more detail.

Reps and Industriousness

John encouraged us to find ways to get in more reps during class and training. He would set things up where the person or team doing the least number of reps of a technique would have to do a small favour for those doing the most, and similar. While rushing to the point where execution deteriorates, and looking for ways to game such systems due to perverse incentives, would not be productive, there is certainly value in developing a habit of trying to increase the number of reps you perform of techniques or drills in class.

Industrious people tend to get further in Jiu Jitsu and life. Find ways to get more done in the time you have. You may even both accomplish more and have more free time if you pursue this avidly.

Self Defence - in a Broader Sense

John also reminded us that self defence involves more than just protecting against physical assaults. We need to learn to protect ourselves emotionally, financially, health wise, etc. He tries to make his classes about making students aware of the wider aspects of self defense and offering some strategies in those areas.

John's autobiography. Three volumes. Ripping yarns and great advice.

John Will's seminar schedule. Get on board with one of the best Jiu Jitsu coaches on the planet.