I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You found my BJJ blog!
Hello, fellow traveller
Thanks for visiting! I really appreciate you're being here. It's nice to know I'm not sending jiu jitsu musings into the void. Afterall, we jiujiteria/jiujiterio have to stick together in our obsession ;) - Meg
Carrying on with the fundamentals from the Gracie University BBS1 syllabus, this drill begins in the mount and ends with offence from the full guard. Firstly, we look at the guard recovery from the full mount. Then, we work the cross choke and armbar from guard as an attack by combination. Lastly, we add in the triangle as well as triple threat position from guard.
To confirm, please note that these video shorts do not purport to offer thorough instruction, nor are they intended to replace proper online or in-person training. However, if, like me, you are looking for inspiration for you personal at-home training maybe these drills can encourage your own practice. If so, great. If not, thanks for watching anyhow!
And now, before you go any further, couple things to bear in mind. Firstly, I’d recommend doing each drill for 2-3 days, perhaps a couple times a day – for example, as a warm-up to strength and conditioning. Consistency is key, rather than binging and burning out. Lastly, of course, you’re doing these drills at your own risk.
Days 1-2. Guard recovery from half guard
Suggested drill is 5 minutes per variation, alternating sides.
Days 3-4. Cross choke to armbar from guard
Suggested drill is 5 minutes, alternating sides. Then, 5 minutes going from under the mount to the guard. Feel free to work your posture control and wrist-control armbar.
Days 4-5. Triangle from guard and the triple threat
Suggested drill is 5 minutes, alternating sides. Then, 5 minutes going from under the mount to the guard and threading together at least 2 attacks. Feel free to work your posture control and wrist-control armbar.
Sticking with fundamental techniques from the Gracie University BBS1 syllabus, this drill starts in the closed guard and ends in the side control. First, we look at the scissor sweep from closed guard. Next, we consider transitioning to the butterfly guard if the scissor sweep isn’t happening. Then, we look at the strong side and weak side sweeps from the butterfly guard, landing in side control. Finally, rather than moving to knee ride and submitting via the elbow cup armbar, we drill some basic variations of the Americana.
For clarity, please note that these video snippets do not purport to offer thorough instruction, nor are they intended to replace proper online or in-person training. However, if, like me, you are looking for inspiration for you personal at-home training maybe these drills can encourage your own practice. If so, yay! If not, thanks for stopping by.
And now, before you go any further, couple things to note. Firstly, I’d recommend doing each drill for 2-3 days, perhaps a couple times a day – for example, as a warm-up to strength and conditioning (I’m loving the online programming at Subversive Fitness, by the way). Consistency is key, rather than binging and burning out. Lastly, of course, you’re doing these drills at your own risk.
Days 1-2. Scissor sweep from closed guard
Suggested drill is 5 minutes per variation, alternating sides.
Days 3-4. Butterfly sweep
Building from the scissor sweep, let’s add butterfly sweeps to side control / knee ride to side control. Suggested drill is 5 minutes per variation, alternating sides.
Days 4-5. Americana from side control
Here, we’ll finish the sequence with a variety of fundamental Americana submissions from the side control. Suggested drill is 5 minutes per variation, alternating sides.
In order to, perhaps, help you while I help myself, here’s the second full sequence in my ‘train with me’ series. In the previous sequence we began in side control, moved to knee ride and submitted from there via the elbow cup armbar. So, this time let’s start from inside the side control. From there we can use the bump and recover escape to recover the guard. Then, we’ll work some posture prevention from the guard. Finally, we’ll submit from the guard with basic armbar and triangle set ups.
Again, I’ve confine myself to techniques within the Gracie University BBS1 syllabus. Moreover, I’m assuming a ‘greasing the groove‘ approach to training. Okay not strictly greasing the groove, but certainly inspired by that notion. In other words, frequent practices of well-defined movements, rather than blocks of longer sessions. If, like me, risk factors for you or your loved one have you off the mats during the Covid-19 pandemic, you might be tiring of the dummy and lack of fellowship. I hear you! While the current situation is unpredictable, overwhelming and exhausting, I’m doing my best to carry on in my many spheres of endeavour, including, of course, jiu jitsu. I hope you can too. This ‘drip feed’ style of training is working well for me and perhaps it’ll boost your engagement with your own training.
And now, before you go any further, couple things to note. Firstly, I’d recommend doing each drill for 2-3 days, perhaps a couple times a day – think between homeschool lessons, for example. Get that regular consistency by training a little, a lot. Secondly, what follows is intended as a fun sequence for your solo practice, rather than a course of proper online instruction. Finally, you’re doing these drills at your own risk, for the record.
Days 1-2. Escaping the side mount
Suggested drill is 5 minutes per escape, alternating sides.
Days 3-4. Posture prevention from the guard
Suggested drill is 5 minutes from the guard, repping each posture prevention strategy. Then, 5 minutes starting from the side control, escaping into guard and working posture prevention.
Days 4-5. Armbar and triangle from the guard
Suggested drill is 5 minutes from the guard per submission. Then, 5 minutes starting from the side control, escaping into guard and working posture prevention and then submitting (dealer’s choice!)
Training at home in the age of covid? Looking for drill snippets to work every day in a little and often approach? Me too. For the last year, I’ve focussed on short daily drills of 10-20 minutes. I find anymore than this with the dummy is too demoralising. Perhaps you’re in a similar situation. If so, join me in the first set of drills in an emerging series of ‘train with me’ snippets.
To begin with we’ll practice controlling the side mount. Then, maintaining the knee ride. Finally, we’ll progress to an elbow cup armbar from the knee on belly. I like building up attacks by combination or flows with position-control-submission. Here, I’ve confined myself to techniques within the Gracie University BBS1 syllabus, which includes a lot of the fundamentals. In this way I can force myself to make connections between techniques, in order to internalise and conceptualise the material more fully. So, if you’d like to join me, please read on for videos and suggested drills.
Before you go any further, couple things to note. Firstly, I’d recommend doing each drill for 2-3 days. Get that regular consistency by training a little, a lot. Secondly, what follows is intended as a guide for your solo practice, rather than a course of proper online instruction. Finally, you undertake these drills at your own risk, just sayin’.
Days 1-2. Controlling the side mount
5 minutes each side:
smart knee to cross chest
modified side to standard side control
Days 3-4. Maintaining the knee ride
5 minutes each side dropping to side control, integrating the side control flow from the previous snippet before returning to knee on stomach.
Days 4-5. Elbow cup armbar from the knee ride
Start from side control, drill your control from there. Then move to knee ride, and perhaps drop back to side control before establishing a solid knee ride. Finally, apply the submission.
10-15 minutes alternating sides.
Lastly, enjoy yourself! And for what its worth, spend more energy on celebrating getting all these great reps and less on missing the proper gym and you training partners.
Jiu jitsu practice is defined by its reliance on and respect for training partners. We are only ever as proficient as our training partners allow. Likewise, a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’. Typically this arrangement develops not only our craft but also our empathy and tolerance through fellowship, however it does not play well with social distancing. Moreover, those of us on this path often ‘need’ jiu jitsu to keep us happy/sane/functional. So, when forces beyond our control cut off our access to training partners, we’ve got to adapt, lest our spirits die.
Building a pandemic training routine
My family has been in lockdown for 10 weeks. During that time I’ve had some success building a home-based training routine. Firstly, my partner and I are both home-based workers, so while the longer-term economic disruption of the pandemic is worrisome, transitioning to a ‘quarantine lifestyle’ wasn’t a big change for us. While adding homeschool to the mix has been challenging, again our burden isn’t too heavy as we only have to manage one first grader. In fact, the boy and I have built a good working routine. We set up a desk for him in my office and we do our work together in the morning. By early afternoon I finish too and we head down to the playroom/gym in the basement.
Shelter-in-place jiu jitsu
I’ve had the opportunity to really get to know my grappling dummy. While ‘he’ can be boring, I am grateful for the mats I hauled to the US from London and his presence on them. Initially, I aimed for an hour at a time with him. That got old real fast. So, I modified my expectations and have gone for a little-and-often approach. Instead of a couple 1 hour sessions per week, I aim for 5, 15 minute sessions a week. In this way, I make sure I get regular jiu jitsu movement during the week. Moreover, I revise Gracie University lessons and train Jr Combatives with my son, every week. While clearly not where I’d like to be with my training – none of the current situation is about what we want – it is much better than sitting on my hands. Not to mention, it serves as a great warm-up for my strength & conditioning work.
Strength & conditioning
While jiu jitsu training has taken a serious hit, I have been able to significantly increase my strength & conditioning work to 5 times a week. Since I relocated to my home-town of Rochester NY, I’ve been training with Wolf Brigade gym. I’ve already discussed the benefits of their strength & conditioning program for BJJ, and it has certainly been essential to maintaining the stability of my post-ACL-op knee. In short, I have been younger; I have been leaner; but I have never been stronger. That’s 100% due to Wolf Brigade.
Though a local brick-and-mortar business, Wolf Brigade’s programming is available to everyone. One the one hand, there are 5 years of detailed training days on their website, free for all to use. Have limited access to equipment? No worries, the Wolf Brigade Public Assistance Project is a comprehensive training program that uses everyday objects as equipment. Finally, more recently, the gym launched its online training program at subversivefitness.com. Offering both a thorough video movement library and access to instructor feedback, individuals can practice Wolf Brigade’s instruction and programming from home. So, if you’re looking for a great, effective and safe training program to take you through the pandemic and beyond, consider Subversive Fitness.
Finally, I’ve started integrating mobility into my routine. My jiu jitsu instructor at Gracie Jiu Jitsu Victor, John Ingallina, is providing a lot of remote learning content from GJJ sessions on Zoom and Facebook Live to mobility tutorials on YouTube. While there’s lots of stuff you can’t do without a training partner, there’s many things you can, and working on your mobility and smoothness of motion are some of them. For me, John’s mobility sessions help keep me moving around on the mats, while also offering age-appropriate material when ‘playing Legos’ with my son 😉
To sum up, this is a really tough time. The full effects of this disruption are not yet known, even as the ripples are already seriously affecting peoples’ businesses and livelihoods. Indeed, our jiu jitsu and strength & conditioning communities are on the front-line of feeling the immediate economic effects. As a web developer for small businesses I’ve seen first hand how these past few weeks have negatively impacted hard-working people, as trusted clients can’t pay invoices, stop projects and – in some sad cases – have already started closing. I don’t have any answers. I hope you all stay well, protect the humans around you and come out the other side relatively unscathed. Jiu jitsu will be waiting for us. Let’s make sure we stay ready too.