Artechoke in a Can is a weekly video series by Marshal D. Carper taken from his no-gi classes at Steel City Martial Arts. The “artechoke” bit comes from the name of his publishing start-up, Artèchoke Media. Marshal had me up in Pittsburgh, PA last weekend to give two seminars–one at his Cal U grappling club and another at Steel City Martial Arts–and to shoot footage for an upcoming instructional. You’ll be hearing more about that over the coming weeks, but for now, armdrags! Here’s the technique where I share secret Rickson Gracie knowledge:
With my crucifix and reverse omoplata seminar just over a week away (Sun, May 5 at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh), I wanted to share a handout that we’ll be giving to participants. If we can get our act together in time, we’ll also be giving attendees notepads and pens for note taking.
The seminar is being put on by Artéchoke Media, a Jiu-Jitsu publishing start-up founded by Marshal D. Carper. Marshal and I are also working on an instructional together, but we’re staying mum on the details until they we’re closer to release. Hint: you can safely guess the topic is related to the seminar.
This handout doesn’t cover everything that I’ll be teaching, but it hits the basics that I will definitely cover. It’s as many key points as I could fit on one sheet of paper.
Crucifix Seminar Handout
The crucifix fits into a bigger game of attacking the back. You’ll discover it fills certain gaps and solves problems. Even if you don’t add the crucifix game, I hope to give you a fresh perspective on positioning and control, and make you think about the difference between “the fundamentals” and “the fundamentals of an advanced position.”
We will start with a basic crucifix so you know what our goal is during each entry. The most common and obvious crucifix entry: countering a bad (head outside) single leg. The usual mistake is trying to throw a hook in to take the back, only to be dragged down. Taking the crucifix is the simpler thing to do.
Crucifix on the knees – Maintaining position
• Harness (seatbelt) grip, or one-on-one with free hand posted far in front
• Hips heavy on their shoulder, lean to their rear, pressure on the arm
• Knees pinched, ankles crossed or triangled on their “hip side”
• Use the pressure of your hips and legs to break their grip if they join their hands
Sideride Basics – Maintaining position and getting the crucifix
• Grips: Harness, double lapels, or spiral ride
• Drive knee in behind elbow and shoot it forward to expose arm
• Step or stomp foot over arm and drag heel back to trap arm
• Sometimes they will just grab your leg if you put it in front of them
Rolling to the traditional crucifix (laying face-up)
• Keep your “head side” leg bent to trap their arm as you roll
• Roll over your “hip side” shoulder (the other way is awkward and dangerous)
Traditional crucifix – Maintaining position
• Keep a very tight harness, or grab behind your head, or control their wrist
• Don’t let them join their hands and turn toward your legs
• Bridge so they don’t slide down to escape or push themselves too high
This submission is awesome and simpler than you think. Here it is in 5 easy steps:
1) Trap the arm. 2) Cross the arm. 3) Reach inside. 4) Roll. 5) Finish.
After being a member of Jason Scully’s Grapplers Guide since its launch, I’m now taking on the role of regular contributor with videos like the one above. Here’s the write up I did for GG:
My instructor Eduardo de Lima showed me this idea a long time ago, and I’ve worked on it ever since. The leg position (hooking outside the knee) is something I came up with on my own, but I later refined it with help from Jeff Rockwell’s study of Baret Yoshida. That’s what the “super bonus” version is at the end, just showing how you can do the leg entanglement like Baret if you want (Jeff can speak on this better than I can [he's also a GG contributor]).
Doing the armdrag like this on purpose doesn’t happen much, since I’d rather have a clear path to the back, but anyone who has experience with the armdrag will think of times when they get stuck in the awkward situation of trying to climb to the back while the arm is under the leg. It often happens when they are trying to drive into you and get an underhook as you armdrag, or when they just grab on to whatever they can to stop you from going behind them.
If you want more crucifix goodness, and you’re in the Pittsburgh area, come to my seminar on May 5 at Steel City Martial Arts. The seminar is being put on by Artéchoke Media, a Jiu-Jitsu publishing start-up run by Marshal D. Carper. You’ll be hearing more about my work with Artéchoke soon!
My two favorite BJJ sites are running a contest, and I joined in on the fun! The Jiu Jitsu Laboratory and DSTRYRsg launched Drill to Win, asking for jiu-jiteiros to send in videos of their favorite drills for the chance to win amazing prizes (that is, t-shirts and stickers). Here’s mine!
Here’s a description of the drills:
1. Spin behind – This is a simple drill which is good for staying on top of side control when your opponent is turning in to you with an underhook. You can also use it to get the harness (or other back control grips) if they turn far enough on their side. I was emphasizing the spin more than taking the back in these reps.
2. Spin behind to kimura grip – Adding to the previous drill by grabbing a kimura grip during the spin. I’m aware that my arm and leg positioning is different than how others teach the spin behind (see Ryan Hall’s Back Attack DVD for an example), but it’s how my teacher Professor Eduardo de Lima always showed it, and it lends itself to grabbing this kimura grip.
3. Spin behind to kimura grip and armbar – The flow continues into an armbar. It’s important that you stretch the elbow away with the kimura grip to stop them from spinning up and pulling their arm out (again a point made in Ryan Hall’s DVD, which he credits to Dave Camarillo). You can see another variation of the spin behind to armbar here.
4. Passing guard to spin behind – You can do this with almost any type of pass, but it works especially well with standing passes that go over the top of the legs. You’ll see a mix of kneeslides, leg drags, bull fighters, x-passes and the like.
5. Crucifix vs bad single leg – This drill has the simple purpose of making you recognize when the arm is vulnerable to being trapped in the crucifix. You could upgrade it by having your partner do a good single leg with the head inside, then sprawling and pushing their head to the outside.
6. Reverse omoplata! – My favorite move ever!
I recently became a moderator on reddit.com/r/bjj so I could reboot their Technique of the Month project. With help from the redditors, we came up with a new format for the TOTM that would encourage more discussion and community participation.
March is Mad Flow Month, focusing on chaining techniques into submissions. Here’s the video I shot for Week 2: Sweeps into Submissions:
Here are the weekly topics:
- Week 1: Guard Passes into Submissions
- Week 2: Sweeps into Submissions
- Week 3: Submissions into Submissions
- Week 4: Escapes into Submissions
Join in over at reddit.com/r/bjj! Upcoming TOTM themes include…
Fighter of the Month: Marcelo Garcia, Roger Gracie, Andre Galvao, anyone noteworthy fighter.
Get Your Mind Right: Gameplan building (flowcharts, mindmaps, etc.), building good habits, keeping a training log, reverse engineering your problems to find solutions, etc.
Posture and Pressure: Solo drills (balance ball, army crawls, etc.), P&P while passing, P&P while on dominant positions.
Operation Backpack: Taking the back (armdrags, rolling back takes), upper body control (seatbelt, figure-four, one-on-one, grip fighting) and lower body control (one-vs-two hooks, body triangle, positional control), submissions (RNC, bow-and-arrow, armbar, etc.)
Houdini Month: Escapes from side control, escapes from mount, escapes from rear mount, escapes from anywhere else.
Here are my notes from last month’s Carlos Machado seminar.
After running us through a warm-up, Carlos talked about the different ranges of attack and control you have from open guard, starting further out and getting closer and closer:
The first techniques of the day start with wrist control since you can usually grab it right away.
Double wrist control hook sweep
Start in closed guard. Grab both sleeves at the wrist. Step on their hips and scoot back, pushing on their elbows with your knees as you cross their wrists. Since you will be sweeping to your left, cross their left hand over top of their right hand. Carlos calls this the “cuff.”
Now you are in open guard with both feet on their hips and their wrists crossed so they can’t grab you. Scoot your hips to your right, then your shoulder, switching back and forth until you have changed the angle so you are out at a diagonal to them.
Step your left foot on the inside of their right knee and kick it out as you put in your right butterfly hook and flip them. Make a little circle with your hands (like you’re turning a clown car) to add rotation into their shoulders so they tilt into the sweep. You can come up into side control or whatever you want.
Double wrist control hook sweep by switching sides
Do the same as the last technique, but when you go to sweep, they step up their right leg to post and prevent you from sweeping them.
Put your left foot back on their hip and push off as you swing your shoulders around to your right. As you swing around you can turn your hands like you’re turning your clown car to the right and recross (re-cuff) their wrists the other way (Carlos said this isn’t totally necessary but it helps.) Push with your right foot inside their knee and put your left butterfly hook in and sweep them the same way as in the last move, only to the other side. It may be even easier because they will be leaning into it after trying to prevent themselves from falling the other way.
A great detail Carlos added was that if they step their leg up to prevent the sweep but keep their shin/knee turned in tight to you, it can be hard to lift them with the butterfly hook under their knee. Instead he drops his hook down to their ankle and open it outward, then swoops it up into the sweep. The motion is like writing a cursive J. This was my favorite detail of the entire seminar and you can apply it to almost any hook sweep.
Double wrist control sweep with your feet on the hips
To illustrate the importance of changing the angle by scooting your hips and shoulders out to the side, Carlos had us do the first sweep again but this time instead of using a butterfly hook you just kept your foot on the hip. Instead of using the hook to flip them, you just push their hip over as you twist their wrists around and kick their knee out.
He also showed another way to beat them putting their knee to stop the sweep. He just took his foot and stepped on top of their knee and pushed it back down to the ground and repeated the sweep.
Engaging from knees
Carlos showed a way of engaging from the knees. He put his elbows by his sides and his hands in front of him like he is holding a tray. When they reach in to grab you, just flip your hands over like you are playing slaps and grab their sleeves, then sit into butterfly/open guard and do your sweeps.
“Shakey shakey” hook sweep with back grip
Carlos talked about imagining your opponent has a compass over their head, with arrows pointing forwards and backward and left and right. He said he wants to spin the compass a little and get them going to the “in between” angles. He also wants to put it off level, doing things like tilting their shoulders up and down or making them lean in awkward angles.
Carlos said he may be bad at making up names but that you will remember this as the “shakey shakey.”
You are sitting in butterfly guard and they are keeping their hands in, making it hard to get a good control over their wrists. Scoot in as you reach around their shoulders and grab their gi in the middle of their back, making a big wrinkle in the fabric to hold on to (Carlos joked “Who says you need their belt?”).
“Steer” left with your arms to tilt their right shoulder down as you swing your head around to their right side. Lower and squeeze in your elbows to trap their arms inside so they can’t post. Don’t fall back, but instead throw your head as though you want to fall down behind them as you kick your right hook up to sweep them.
They will base back and lean away from the sweep to not get flipped. Maintaining your momentum, swing your shoulders around in a big arc to your right and sweep them again to your right, taking them over this time.
Sit up into armdrag drill
Carlos had us do a drill where we started laying down with one butterfly hook and one foot on the hip. You use your hook to help you sit up into them as you grip their arm for an armdrag and tug it across. He had us do this quickly 10 times on each side.
Carlos talked about how what he calls “the skirmish,” the grey areas between solid positions where you are both still fighting for dominance. The example he used was when they are passing your guard and you are somewhere between defending side control and still doing guard. He talked about how in these situations you may even lose the battle (like getting your guard passed), but even if you do, you should have made them pay a toll so they spent more energy than you did. Then as you put them through more of these skirmishes, they will come out further and further behind until you gain the advantage.
Open guard retention with the skirmish idea
Carlos had as do a drill where we would get double sleeve control and our partner would stand over us and start passing our guard by trying to run around. Our goal was to control their wrists and keep pushing them in or twisting their arms around or doing anything we could to keep them from grabbing what they wanted. If they got further around and came down close to us, we’d let go of one of the sleeves and grab the back of their head, using our forearm to block their shoulder and turn their head down and play with their balance. While we are doing this we are also bringing our knees and hooks in and getting back to guard. The goal isn’t really for the top guy to pass or the bottom guy to sweep, but to spend time in the skirmish, making the top guy spend more energy and effort than the bottom guy.
He repeated this drill except the bottom guy didn’t have wrist control and the top guy was almost all the way past your guard. You grabbed their shin and their knee with each hand and pushed and pulled at the same time to make their balance and movement unstable as you brought your knees back in and established some kind of guard.
Muscle memory drill
To end the seminar, Carlos had us all trot around in a big circle as he called out moves he had taught. You and your partner had to drop down and each do a rep of the move, then get up and keep jogging. He said Rigan made this up so people would get the moves in their muscle memory.
This was a great seminar and Carlos is a lot of fun to talk with so you should fly him out to teach or visit him in Dallas if you have a chance.