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Diary of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Whitebelt: 3

Updated on December 1, 2013

Scissor Sweeps, Cross Collar Chokes and....

For a good week and a half of class we focused on working from our guard. This included training guard passes, but we primarily worked the guard from the bottom position. The guard is one of the more advantageous postitions from the bottom, if not the most. There are a wide variety of sweeps and submissions that are available to you when you have your opponent in your guard.

Before addressing sweeps or submissions it is important, my trainer noted, that the bottom player maintain good control over their opponents posture. If the player in top position maintains good posture with a wide base it will be very difficult to sweep or attempt to submit them. In other words they have the advantage. With good posture they can begin to pass your guard, and in an MMA match or real life fight scenario they can rain down punches and elbows if they maintain good posture.

When the top player's posture is broken, the bottom player has an advantage, many sweeps and submissions are opened up for you. In order to control your opponents posture, you must use both your legs and arms in collaboration with each other. One method of breaking an opponents posture is to use lapel or collar grips in combination with your legs to pull your opponent down close to your chest. From here you can begin to work your legs up higher in order to prepare for either a sweep or submission.

cross collar choke grips
cross collar choke grips | Source

The Cross Collar Choke

Our practice of controlling our opponents posture led to the Cross Collar Choke. This is a pretty standard submission that can be executed either when you have your opponent in your guard or if you are in the mount position. It is possible to execute this choke from other position such as when you are in the top position in their guard, but it will be much harder to finish.

The cross collar choke as I learned it is as follows:

Step 1. With either hand, the fighter grasps the enemy's collar and pulls it open.

Step 2. While keeping a hold of the collar, the fighter now inserts his other hand palm up grabbing the collar. The hand should reach around deep to the back of the neck grasping the collar.

Step 3. After grasping the back of the enemy's collar, the fighter inserts the other hand under the grasping hand and into the collar, on the other side in the same palm up fashion. Again, remember to get this grip very deep almost at the back of their neck.

Step 4. The fighter turns his wrists so that the palms face toward him, and brings his elbows to his side. He will complete the choke by leaning forward and crunching his body into a ball.

When executed correctly this is a very tight choke, although it must be done with speed and fluidity since it is relatively easy to defend once you realize its happening. None the less it is an effetive way of submitting your opponent. A plus is that this choke is applicable in a real life scenario given that your attacker has a jacket on, collard shirt, any shirt really, although if it isn't a heavy garment it might rip before the attacker is fully out.

The Scissor Sweep

After repping the Cross Collar Choke for some time we formed back into a group and my trainer began to go over the Scissor Sweep. This was a logical next technique to teach as the initial grip is almost the same and you can use the choke as a bait to initiate the sweep.

Step 1: You begin by aquiring a cross collar lapel grip much like the choke. Rather than getting the opposite lapel grip with your other hand, you will grab the opponents same side sleeve behind the elbow.

Step 2: Snake your hips out and get an angle so you are almost on your side. As you do this, your top knee is going to move across the torso area of the competitor, your other leg will be parallel with the floor on the opponents knee.

Step3: In one quick motion you will push, pull and scissor your legs. Your lapel grip will push (in the direction you are sweeping. Your hand griping the sleeve will pull in the opposite direction, and your legs will kick in a scissor like motion.

Step 4: Finish the move by maintain good control and top position. If timed and executed correctly you should end up in the mount position.

My trainer emphasized timing when executing this technique. While this technique is extremely effective when properly performed, impeccable timing is required. This is especially true when facing an opponent with an exceptionally strong base. This is why we were taught the choke and the sweep together as a series. One can be used to set up the other. They go both ways. For example, one might start to go for the scissor sweep, but as their opponent places their hands on the mat to base themselves, preventing the sweep, you immediately shoot your hand gripping their sleeve behind their neck aquiring the opposite collar grip and apply the choke.

Not as bad as it looks
Not as bad as it looks
My Belt with new stripe!
My Belt with new stripe!

One Small Step for....

I have been faring well during sparring sessions and have begun to test myself against the more experienced of my training partners. I try to get at least one sparr in against someone my level and size, one against somebody my skill level but bigger and then the rest against partners at a higher skill level. This is not always the most enjoyable of experiences but I feel it is really important that I test myself each and every training session if I really want to improve quickly. (This led to a nasty brushburn on my neck that was fun to explain at work, nothing major though) In a recent sparring session I was feeling a little more confident than usual after a sparr with a likesized and technique partner, in which I submitted him 3 times in 5 minutes, and so decided to try my coach on for size. He is not hugely bigger than me, but the gap in technique and experience is insurmountable. Yet I although he would have easily won the match on points in real competition, he was unable to submit me and actually gave up some positions to me. Albeit he didn't give them up for very long but still I was proud of myself for holding my own and surviving all 5 minutes without having to tap.

I would have been perfectly happy to go home at that point and needed no outside recognition for what I had done, nor did I think that I deserved it. Yet, before I could find another partner to sparr, my coach calls the class to attention. He has us line up according to belt rank. He states that we will continue sparring but that he is giving out a stripe today. That person he says is....ME! I couldn't have been happier. It is only my first stripe and I still need 3 more before I can test for my Blue belt but just that little bit of recognition was wonderful and motivating. In fact I stayed 45 minutes longer than I normally would have repping technique and sparring, almost as if to prove to myself that I really did deserve the stripe. I plan to take this motivation and run with it, hopefully it will take my game to a new level.


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    • MacBradaigh88 profile image

      MacBradaigh88 4 years ago from Buffalo, New York

      Unfortunately KB, I had to discontinue my jiujitsu study for the time being, i can't afford it right now. (school loans take priority) I can't wait until I am able to continue with it, I still follow the sport as much as possible and still do drills as part of my regular workouts. I miss the gentle art greatly

    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 4 years ago from United States

      So are you still a white belt?