Posts Tagged ‘drills’

Triangle from Guard


Triangle from Guard

You’ve got your opponent in a closed guard. Your right hand has a sleeve grip on the opponent’s left wrist and your left hand is gripping his right sleeve.

Climb high with your knees on his back so as to disrupt his posture. You want your left knee behind the opponent’s right shoulder.

You open your guard placing your left foot on the opponent’s right hip and bringing your right knee over the opponent’s bicep. As you do this your release the left arm, allowing your leg to block it out of play, and  pull the right arm across your body up towards your right shoulder.

You’re looking to stretch your opponent out as much as possible. Your right knee is pushing your opponent away and you’re sleeve grip is pulling them, uncomfortably in.

From here you’re going to slide your right leg until you can get it above the opponent’s head . Make sure you bridge from your shoulders so that you’re hipping up into the triangle. Your aiming for the back of your knee to be in contact with the back of their neck. You want the leg to cut across the back of the opponent’s shoulders. Your knee will be on top of the left shoulder and your foot will be over the right one.

As you’re getting your hips up into the triangle pull your opponent even more using the sleeve grips you’ve got. You also want to be as far over on a 45 degree angle as you can get (towards your right leg). You want to be able to look into the opponent’s ear.

Once here take your left hand and get a grip as far up your shin as possible on that cutting leg. This is an adjustment arm. If you’re cutting the right leg hard across the opponent’s shoulders, and you’ve pulled the arm well across you should have plenty of time to work the posture without having to quickly try to lock up the triangle.

In fact, once you’ve locked that leg in place the adjustments become slightly harder. You limit your own movement and lock your lower body into your opponent. So, here’s a checklist before you throw that second leg over.
- Is there any space between my right leg and his head? If so use the left arm (grabbing your right shin) to eliminate that space. Simply work it across.
- Is my opponent still postured up, able to kneel comfortably, or even stand? Keep that left hand grip on the leg, and the sleeve grip with your right use your left foot to help you shrimp away from your opponent. This will simply stretch him out and make the whole smaller and smaller. If you’re quick enough you’ll get him almost flat. That’s a terrible posture for countering the triangle.
- Am I going to get all shin when I put my leg over or will I get all toes? If you put your leg over and only get toes you won’t be able to tighten the choke much. In fact you’ll end up easing some pressure. If you’re not high enough up the shin to be able to lock on to the leg (rather than toes) you want to check the previous two tips and adjust accordingly.
- Is my opponent’s arm to my right or to my left? You want your opponent’s ‘in’ arm to be across his neck and on the right side of your body. This creates a much, much tighter choke. If his arm is straight out and to your left simply hip up a little bit to create enough space to drag it over to your right.

After you’ve checked though this you can feel free to throw your left leg over your right shin. Squeeze your knees together and lift your hips to get the tap. If you’ve done all the tightening before you shouldn’t need to pull on the head.

If you’re still not getting the tap try shoulder scooting away even more.

But what if my opponent locks down on my hips in guard and I can’t move my legs into place?

Well, you need to make space for your legs to move a bit, don’t you?

From a tightened, caged hips closed guard bring your left arm across and place it on your opponent’s left shoulder. Bring your right hand to his left elbow. Push on the arm as your shrimp onto your right hip, and slightly away. You want to make just enough space for you to be able to bring your left foot onto his right hip.

With your left hand grab the right sleeve. With your right hand push the left shoulder as you get into your left hip and bring your knee across your opponent’s bicep. Now you’re into the triangle set-up position.

That’s great, but what if my opponent stands up?

Well, you can still adjust into the triangle if you’re that keen on it.

You’re opponent stands while you’ve got a closed guard and both his sleeves. Open your guard and bring your left foot down, putting pressure on the opponent’s right knee (or as close as you can get to it). Get onto your right hip and bring your foot onto your opponent’s bicep. Push with your right foot on the bicep, push with your left foot on the knee, pull up and right with both arms on the opponent’s right sleeve.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

Hip up, shooting the LEFT leg up across the opponent’s shoulders. This is a way to encourage the opponent’s posture down.

Quickly shoot over to your right, hip up again, and cut that right leg across the opponent’s shoulders.

You’re basically climbing up the opponent starting with your left leg. Now you should be back into the ‘small adjustment’ position. See your checklist and adjust.

- Opening your guard doesn’t mean you’re letting go of any pressure created with your knees. In fact, you should look to increase the pressure of the hold with your thighs and knees. If you’re bringing your left foot to the mat you should still be cutting across the back with the right. It’s not ‘release the captives guard’, it’s just open.
- Don’t be scared of adjusting. It’s important.
- It’s all in the hips! If you can’t figure out how to get your leg into certain positions try moving your hips.  Switch them or scoot them. The triangle is a very hip reliant submission, as are most from the guard. Get those things moving. If you’re not used to it find some drills that encourage your hip movement. Your bottom game will love you for it.
- As with all BJJ techniques, you want to eliminate the steps to create a ramp. Train this in it’s steps with the aim of tying them all together into one continuous movement. If you work in steps you allow small opportunities for escape or counter. If you work in a ramp you don’t give pause for counter.

Solo Drills:
- Hip Ups: From your back simply bridge onto your shoulders and shoot your hips as high in the air as you can. You are aiming to shoot your feet straight up above your head.
- Solo Triangles: From your back turn 45 degrees to your right, hip up, cut your right leg across and lock it under your left leg as you come back down. Repeat to you the left.
- Leg Swings: Another drill to get your feeling your hips. Lay flat on your stomach. Turn onto your left hip, swing your leg around to the front of you and all the way around until you’re flat again. Now, turn onto your right hip and do the same the other way.

Partner Drills:
- Hip ups: Top and tail with a partner. Reach under their legs with your inside arm and grab the arm they’re reaching under with your outside arm. Now, at the same time hip up getting your butt high in the air and switching sides with your partner. Your butts should pass each other on the way and you should come back down in the same position, just on the other side.
- Triangle: Just drill the triangle over and over and over. Then, let your partner have a go.

Escaping Headlock Side Control

Many Judoka and Wrestlers use the headlock side control a lot. For Judoka, this is the marquee side control position. For Wrestlers controlling the head is controlling the body. There are also many BJJ players that use the headlock control to dominate opponents. It’s important that you’re able to escape this position.

Headlock Side Control Escape to Back
Headlock Side Control Escape to Knees
Rolling Escape from Headlock Side Control

Notes on Escape:
- This is not a resting position. Rest in guard or when you have mount or when you’re at home. You can’t rest when someone has you in headlock side control. The longer you stay there the worse it is for you. Escape as soon as you can.
- The foundation of Jiu-Jitsu is position. The foundation of position is posture. I believe that posture is the most important part of any escape. Establish the right posture in order to perform the escape.  
- You shouldn’t be flat. A flat opponent is much easier to deal with than an opponent that on their side. As soon as you get your guard passed, or when the opponent switches base to establish headlock control you should be turning into him, and getting up onto your hip and shoulder.
- Know what your opponent needs. This works for every position, but we’ll focus on headlock side control. The attacking options for this position is the near arm, and the neck, to a lesser extent. Isolating the near side arm is the key to attacking in this position. That means, that you should be protecting that arm. This arm should either be in or out. The preference is that it’s out. Taking the first point into account will actually help with the second point. If you’re on your side, facing your opponent, you’ll be able to hide the inside arm under your own body. That posture leads to the first two escapes. The other option is to establish an under-hook on your opponent. Once this is done you need to lock your hands to keep the arm protected. The under-hook exposes the arm, but the lock protects it, to a point. So, basically, it’s either IN for an under-hook or OUT underneath your body. This eliminates available submissions, which forces a transition, or forced attack, which is what you want.
- Pre-empt your posture. In this position it’s about keeping that inside arm tight, even before they switch base. Many opponents won’t switch base if they can’t get the arm isolated. By all means, block the opponent’s hip, but you shouldn’t be reaching out with extended arm. That’s an offer, not a block. Keeping the arm tight is first. The pre-empting was about anticipation. Anticipate the opponent switching base. When he does, get that arm out, and onto your side. This is ¼ of the way through the escape.
- Escapes, just like everything else in jiu-jitsu, are best done when linked with other escapes. If one doesn’t work you should immediately transition to another. If that one doesn’t work, go to the next, or back to the first.

Headlock Side Control Escape to Back
You’re in side control with your opponent on your right side. He transissions to a headlock side control. You pre-empt the switch and get onto your side. Your left hand is getting a friction grip on his back, under the shoulder blade. Your right arm is sucked under your own body so that he doesn’t have control. He has your head, and his knee is to the side, and up.

Hip escape away from the opponent and use that space to turn onto your knees. Because the opponent has his knee up, your goal is to get your left leg in as a hook on the opponent’s raised knee. Walk over, and get that leg in.

Grab the wrist of the opponent with your head still in the headlock. Pull back with your arm as you stretch his leg out with your hook. You’re using your body to take out your head. You’re not trying to yank it out. If you’re pulling the arm and stretching the leg you will be able to take your head out.

From there, proceed taking the back of the opponent.

Headlock Side Control Escape to Knees
If you find yourself in the same situation as above, but the opponent doesn’t have the leg in a place where you can insert a hook to establish back control, you can move to this option.

From the headlock, your arm underneath you, you’ve hip escaped and gotten to your knees. This time you can’t take the back using your legs to establish the hook. Instead, glue your left ear to the opponent as you turn him over onto his other side. You should end up behind him.

If your head is still stuck simply climb higher and higher up his body. Understand how his arm works in relation to his body. Pushing his elbow up towards his ear will open space for your head to come out.

Rolling Headlock Escape
If you find that your arm gets isolated as the opponent switches base you can’t just leave it hanging in no-man’s-land. You’ve missed the initial opportunity to take it out of the equation. Now you need to fight for an under-hook. Again, this is better done early than late.

You’re caught in headlock side control but you’ve established an under-hook with your right arm. It’s important that you find a way to lock your hands around the opponent.

Walk your legs into the opponent. This does two things: 1) disrupts the base of the opponent, and 2) turns your body so that it’s parallel with the opponent rather than perpendicular. This assists with the roll. This is a minor detail that makes a massive difference in the effectiveness of the technique.

When you get as far as you can you want to bridge the opponent forward, further disrupting his base. This is (in a way) the point of no return for your opponent. If he hasn’t reacted by now it’s too late. If he lets go here you’ve just about take his back. His other option is to put his weight back into you, which is exactly what we’re going for.

Because he’s getting his base disrupted the opponent will push back into you. When he does this you need to violently whip him over your body, effectively establishing your own side control.

- Sometimes when you move your legs towards the opponent he will scoot around to avoid the escape. Often this scramble can create enough space for you to pull your arm out and go to one of the first two escapes.

Ideas for training:
Escapes, in my opinion, are the most important techniques in BJJ. If you know 100 arm bars but can’t get our of side control, those 100 arm bars are good for nothing. Escapes need to be drilled and practiced.
- Drill them at home. This isn’t something many of us actually do, but it’s worth it’s time. If you drill your headlock escapes you won’t have to stop when you get headlocked to think, “okay… so how do I get out of this?” while your opponent is cranking your arm.
- Train your escapes while sparring. The best way to do this is by laying on your back. Allow people to pass your guard. Allow people to get mount. You get the idea. And don’t munt out of them. Use technique. This is also a good way to train yourself to stay calm underneath.
- Further, ask your sparring partner to attack away in the top position. There are plenty of people that would love to polish up their arm bars and headlock side control positions. All you need to do is ask.