Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK -27/07/2022
Bring your leg around the outside of theirs, hooking your foot around the inside. This establishes the spiralhook, of which there are several variations. In a standard spiralhook guard, you grab the foot of the trapped leg with your same side hand, while your other foot presses into their far leg. Your free hand is looking to grab a sleeve or even better, their collar. If you can’t get either, then grabbing a gi lapel can work too. From there, you can transfer the sleeve or lapel to your other hand behind their leg for a variety of sweeps, or do certain other sweeps should you have the gi collar instead.
I’ve always found the spiralhook a tricky position as I don’t have flexible ankles or big feet. I therefore go for a spiral underhook instead. From the spiralhook, reach your same side hand between your butt and their leg, trying to get the crook of your elbow right against their leg for maximum reach. You can then either grab your shin with that hand, or your gi trousers. You can use this to prevent a common grip break that starts by them pushing down on your leg.
Should they instead underhook your spiral leg to strip the leg, switch to x guard as an easy transition. If you’re able to maintain the spiral, you can use the other leg to push theirs, and scoot your hips underneath them. You’ll need a gi collar grip too, so that you can combine your leg push with a yank of the collar, in order to make them do a big step.
That should give you the opportunity to lift their trapped leg. Adjust your grip so they can’t free their leg, bringing your own leg underneath. Come up on your free arm, in a technical stand-up motion. As you do, grab their other leg if it is in range. If not then pull back on the leg you have trapped, before driving forwards again to ideally grab that other leg and take them down.
Teaching Notes: It’s a quite confusing position, so although I’m explaining it very slowly and carefully, some people still have trouble working out where everything goes. But meh, I can fix that during drilling. However, next time it is probably worth doing the step-by-step thing I do at the end of class before drilling too, making absolutely sure everybody knows where to put their hands and legs.