The Secret to the Inescapable Guillotine

Last night I trained with the big boys.  I got creamed in every roll but man did I pick up some good stuff.  We trained on Guillotine technique.  Of all the training last night the thing that stuck out the most was how to keep some one from escaping the Guillotine.  Here are some pictures I took using my Submission Master Grappling Dummy (explanation below):




Notice how I am not using the blade of my choking arm on the neck.  This is because I will need my palm up in order to put my arm over the shoulder.   I am going to rely on the tremendous pressure I create when I sit back into a open guard to really apply the Guillotine Choke. 

If he hasn’t tapped yet I then fall back into open guard and put one foot on the dummies hip and create a wrenching motion while escaping my hips.  This is done by bring the choking elbow down and swinging it in towards the dummy.  It is kind of a “J” motion.  At the same time I push on the hip to add force.  In practice this made my neck crackle.  It is very powerful.

As you have noticed the real trick is to get that arm over the shoulder before he lifts his arm  over yours to start a escape.  With his arm blocked under yours its all but over.  The secret to the inescapable guillotine.

If you have any questions please post a comment and I will answer them as best I can.

Free Take Down Seminar From West Side Jiu Jitsu

It seems that the weakest link in most BJJ practitioners arsenal is the take down.  I have to admit that I get a little gun shy when I think of take down practice.  That is after all how I tore my MCL last year.  I was to bull headed and tried to stop my instructor from taking me down.  So when my school offered a free take down seminar this Saturday I decided it was time to get into it.  The best way to improve is to work at something that bothers you until you master it.  I don’t like take downs because I fear injuries.  I get injuries because I’m poor at it.  The good old saying “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” is my philosophy.  So I’m going to go to the seminar.  Any of my readers in the area are welcome to join me and meet me in person.  It will be held at 12 – 2pm on Nov. 7th at West Side Jiu Jitsu Academy (2236 Washington Blvd.) in Ogden, UT.  It is being taught by Clint “The Badger” Christensen.  Clint is well known in the area for his expertise.  I understand he fought Matt Hughes to a draw.  It should be good.  I’ll blog later about how it went and what I learned.  I might even have some videos to show.

How To Use the Submission Master Grappling Dummy To Increase Muscle Memory

I’ve had my Submission Master Grappling Dummy now for about 1 month.  I’ve been using him in a daily drill routine that I formulated.  I have to say I really like my Submission Master and last night it paid off.  I’d been work on the Triangle Choke, Arm Bar from Guard, Triangle Choke to Arm Bar, and Arm Bar from Mount.  I got 3 of the 4 last night in class.  What I really liked about my drilling with the Submission Master was that it gave me the physical feedback that helped reinforce my muscle memory.  The more repetitions I did the easier it seemed to notice my chances for a submission and connect on them.  For example I was having a hard time getting the transition from a failed Triangle Choke to a Arm Bar.  I kept putting the wrong leg under the guys chin.  After doing reps on the Submission Master for a week I instinctively transitioned from the Triangle to the Arm Bar.  I’ve also noticed that working with the Submission Master has helped me realize how I need to lift my hips up toward the head as I work for submissions like the ones I’ve talked about.  I know I keep blogging about it but with good reason.  I’m seeing success and want to share what I’ve found out.

We all know that the more reps you put in the better you muscle memory.  We also all can’t spend every waking moment at the gym or dojo.  Using the Submission Master has become a good way for me to satisfy my BJJ addiction.

Take a few minute and enter my contest to name my dummy and a chance to win a free Sprawl rash guard.  See my post: Name My Submission Master Grappling Dummy Contest.

See The Flying Bow and Arrow Choke In Action

I’ve seen flying triangles and flying arm bars but this has to be my new favorite.  That was just sweet!  I wish it had another angle so you could see the other side.  It looks like he grabs the collar and then leans over to hook the leg.  One of the things I found most interesting was how he tried to set it up.  The flicking of the hips to fake a hip throw and then the arm pull that gave him the back.  BJJ never ceases to amaze me.  It looks like the guy pulling the Flying Bow and Arrow Choke is a brown belt.  I can’t tell the belt on the other guy.  I have to wonder if it would have gone off so easy against another brown.  Then again they may only be training.  This is one of the reason I love training in the gi.  I don’t think you could do that in no-gi.  You would have to use the neck instead of the collar and it would really be slippery.  When you did get to the ground you would be able to do a collar choke either.  I wonder how this would go off in a street fight with the other guy wearing a coat?  I found this video on Georgette’s World – Flying Bow and Arrow Choke.

Life is Jiu Jitsu and Jiu Jitsu is Life.

5 Tips to Overcoming Claustrophobia In BJJ

There is nothing like being in North South with someone’s chest on your face to give claustrophobia or the fear of being suffocated.  You feel enclosed.  You are breathing hot moist air.  You desperately want to get out.  The next thing you know is your heart starts racing and your breathing with it.  What do you do to overcome this?  Here are the 5 tips I’ve gleamed and have started working on:

  1. Relax.  Easier said then done!  But I’ve found that I can reduce my anxiety by first reminding myself this isn’t life or death.  If it was he wouldn’t be staying on me in this position long before I took a huge bit out of his chest.  Think about something that will help you relax.  I try to think of something warm I like wrapped around me like a blanket.
  2. Control your breathing.  Once again, easier said then done!  If your opponent isn’t going to move then take that time to slow your breathing.  Chances are that is what he is doing too, resting.
  3. Find something to help you practice over coming it.  I have found that the hot moist air bothers me the most.  I can simulate that under a thick quilt.  I try to stay under longer each time.  I’m starting to develop more tolerance for the feeling.
  4. Improve your escapes.  If you have one that you get in all the time that causes you to feel claustrophobic then what better motivation to become a expert at getting out of it.
  5. Create Space.  When you are on the bottom that’s your job anyway.  It doesn’t have to be enough to escape at first.  You may do it just to get situated to wait for your opponents next move.  It may be just to make your opponent uncomfortable.  When you are moving around even a little you start to find pockets of comfort I’ve discovered.  If you stay still your situation is one dimensional.  Open up some other options for yourself by “wiggling” around.

Now not all cases of claustrophobia I understand are physical like mine.  Some require expert help.  I don’t presume to solve all cases in this post.  I’m just trying to as they say, cherry pick,  the easiest.  This is what is working for me.  I hope it helps you too.

    Submission Master Grappling Dummy Taps Out For Me


    I recently purchased a Submission Master Grappling Dummy to help improve my BJJ technique.  I have done a couple review posts: Review of The Submission Master Grappling Dummy Part 1, Submission Master Grappling Dummy Review – Assembling of the Dummy, Review of the Submission Master Grappling Dummy – Drilling along with a contest to name my dummy in which I will be giving away a free Sprawl rash guard to the winner: Name My Submission Master Grappling Dummy Contest.

    I have to say I am really enjoying my Submission Master.  I keep it in my office with me and when I need a break from my work I practice a few chokes or combinations on it.  I now have a lunch time drill routine that I do with it too.  If you haven’t seen a Submission Master before then go to and check it out.  They have some good demonstration videos on the side.

    Yes, the price might make you see cross-eyed for a bit.  It took me a good while to save up for mine.  But BJJ is what I do.  I want to do it even when I’m not at class.  I used to Fly Fish until I had kids.  Its not practical to go off Fly Fishing all the time any more and BJJ costs less.  Some people put there cash into computers, and others into cars.  I put mine in BJJ.

    Never Under Estimating Your Opponent

    Last night during BJJ practice I got to roll with one of our younger members, Robert.  He looks to be 13 and has a wiry frame.  Now I weigh about 210 lbs and stand at 6’ 2”.  Robert on the other hand might blow away if he didn’t turn sideways into the wind.  I of course wanted to be nice and give him a chance to learn.  What I didn’t think about was why Mark, our instructor, had asked him to start attending the adult class.  I under estimated my opponent.  Our match started out typical.  Robert couldn’t move me and after some friendly exchanges I decided to put him in spider guard.  Its all a blur from there.  The next thing I knew Robert had me in a excellent ankle lock and was applying the pressure.  As he put it on I wasn’t to worried.  I figured he couldn’t apply the needed pressure to make me tap.  After all my ankle alone is thicker then his arm.  I was wrong again.  Robert tapped me out and without me handing it to him on a silver platter.  We both knew he had the submission fair and square.  The smile on his face showed he would reliving this one in his mind for some time.  Robert showed me what Helio Gracie has said all along.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was designed so the little guy could submit much larger opponents.  Kept at it Robert you may be the next Helio Gracie some day.

    How To Shake The BJJ Blues

    A post on entitled Rough Wednesday Class really made me feel better today.  I had the same thing happen to me a few months ago.  Things were going great  I had recently been awarded my blue belt and I was making leaps and bound in growth in my BJJ classes.  Then one day I came to class and I couldn’t do anything but hold guard for dear life.  I blogged my experience in these two posts, Jiu Jitsu Mind Block – In The Slump and Jiu Jitsu Learning Curve – What To Expect.  I over came the plateau I was stick on with some good advice and friends.  It was still nice to hear Steve saying the same things I had felt at that time.  It validated my feelings and gave me a chance to share with him the fact I found the light at the end of the tunnel and so would he.  My love for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu goes on and I can tell Steve’s will too.  So for all of you out there who are on a plateau or feel the BJJ blues, keep trying and going to class.  Jiu Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu Jitsu.

    Review of the Submission Master Grappling Dummy – Drilling

    Its assembled and I’ve started drilling with it.  The first thing I noticed was how hard the floor is.  I don’t have a mat.  I have been thinking about if I should even get one.  I like some real world or practical application of BJJ.  If I got in a street fight I will use my Jiu Jitsu training but I doubt there will be a mat.  The next thing I noticed is that when I tried a Kimura it doesn’t feel right.  The structure of the Submission Master’s arm is a arch with no true joints.  At first I didn’t like this but then I realized it felt more like a arm that is trying to do a escape.  It gave me a different perspective on my Kimura technique and how to apply it.  The next thing I tried was the Triangle Choke.  This hurt at first because the dummy is so hard.  I didn’t realize how soft real humans are.  I worked my Triangle and figured out something new I hadn’t noticed before.  I posted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submission Techniques – The Triangle and gave tips and tricks on improving your Triangle.  I now can add to that getting the knee of the leg around the neck above the neck.  I have also found that just moving it around, it is 70 lbs, breaks me into a sweat.  It doesn’t do infinity drills so you have to reset some drills to do it over.  But for the most part you can do Arm Bars, Triangles, Kimuras, and other submissions over and over on each side.  For Cross Body and Mount work you sit or lay very high.  You don’t have a soft gut to lay into.  I also can’t hook the legs (grapevines) in mount.  What it comes down to is its no full substitute for a person but it does very well for what it is intended.  So far I really like it and feel it is money well spent.  It is true the $560 price tag is high but it sure beats the home made version I’ve seen on  I think the only true competitor in its class is the Bubba.  I didn’t choose the Bubba because it didn’t sit up in guard, it looks light weight, and flimsy.  I’m going to start trying some escapes and sweeps on it tomorrow and see how they go.

    The Submission Master Grappling Dummy Review – Assembling of the Dummy

    I got my Submission Master grappling dummy yesterday for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  I was very excited and hauled the 70 lbs box into the house.  The dummy comes in two pieces and requires some assembly.  Here it is all assembled and in my old gi.  Submission Master 1 One of the reason I decided to buy the Submission Master was that it will sit up in guard.  I found the video on very helpful in getting it put together.  It came with a poorly photo copied set of instructions that looked like something from a kindergarten craft project.  Here is the link to the Submission Master Assembly Instructions video.  He does make it look a lot easier then it was.  I had a hard time getting the rope tight enough.  I think I will have to go back later and tighten it or do it again.  That isn’t to big a deal.  I think it will loosen in time anyway and need to be retied.  I also followed the YouTube video about breaking the Submission Master in.  If you don’t break it in correctly you can pop stitches.  Here is the video to help you: Submission Master and Breaking It In.  After working the feet and legs as directed it sat right up.  I didn’t waste any time in trying out a Triangle Choke on it.  The first thing I noticed is that humans are softer then dummies.  I didn’t realize how hard the Submission Master would be.  Its was easy to practice a Triangle Choke to Arm Bar combination on the dummy.  I started breaking a sweat just trying to haul the thing around and get it in place for another technique.  I was getting a “caveman” work out just moving the thing.

    In my next post I’ll tell you more about how my BJJ practices are going with it and other things I’m finding out as I work with it.