A while back, Jeff Rockwell sent me a tutorial for a move he calls the shinplata. He didn’t want me to share the pictures until he could get better footage of it.

Thankfully, that day has come. Check it:

A nice little move to retain your guard, sweep, or reverse your opponent. Sorry if it seems a bit rushed, I only had a few minutes to shoot this clip! (I should be stiff-arming his armpit while my shin is inserted, and gripping farther across his back on the belt.) Careful observers will see my son, the future BJJ champ of the world, watching videos in the background. You might think he’s watching Elmo, but no, it’s Mundial highlights! 😉

For the sake of completeness, I am also including the original pictures and explanations Jeff sent me since I think they help flesh out the instruction.

Intro

This series of techniques is a combination of a few different strategies of guard retention and sweeping. It is part omoplata, part north-south escape, and part all its own thing. I use it all the time and with the proper timing and energy, it works even against opponents who underpass the guard tightly with a lot of pressure. Though it is shown here with the gi, it also works very well no-gi – though I find I usually end up with the reversal than the sweep.

I apologize in advance for the grainy quality of the pictures, they were “cut” from live video.

Part 1

In this first picture, my partner Mike is beginning a stacking underpass. He could have one leg on his shoulder, or both; he could even be passing a failed triangle choke attempt. The technique works the same for them all.

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As he pressures forward and begins to turn the corner, I will place my right palm on his left hip, just to slow him down for a moment. Then I will thrust my hips as high as possible into the air. Depending on how tightly he is passing, sometimes you are only able to create a few inches of space. Once you get good at this, a few inches is all you will need. As my hips reach their highest point, I will straighten my right arm and place the web of my hand in his right armpit, bracing him here for just a moment.

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I will now quickly drop my hips and slide my right knee and shin underneath the bend of his left arm. My right hand will guide and control his elbow, while my left hand will control his wrist.

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My left foot is on the ground, helping me to pivot my body around so that we are facing in the same direction, and I maintain tight control of his arm.

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Now I quickly take my right hand and secure a tight grip on his belt or pants. Sitting all the way up and reaching across his waist to control his far hip is also an option, just more difficult to get. We will address what happens if you are not able to control his belt or waist a little later.

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Now keeping tight control of his left wrist or sleeve, I will extend my hips and drive with my right shin, sweeping him forward. I will also use my belt or waist grip to push and guide him over. NOTE: my right elbow should be over top of his left thigh here, to block Mike’s legs from spinning over top of me. If that happens, I will have to abandon the sweep and switch to the reversal. In any case, it is shown correctly a little later on.

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Here you can see that I am not trying to drive him straight over his head, but forward and then to the side.

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I start to take the top position, still controlling his arm with my shin on his bicep and my grip on his wrist or sleeve.

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I sit up and momentarily establish a knee ride position on his arm, still pulling up on his sleeve or wrist. There are a number of options from here…

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…but the easiest and most reliable is to drive your right elbow down to the mat underneath his right armpit…

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And slide down towards his legs to a reverse scarf hold position.

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Part 2

Okay, let’s rewind for a minute and look at some potential problems you’ll run into and variations you’ll have to employ. In this first picture, I have been able to drop my shin under his armpit, get to the side, and control his arm. Unfortunately, he stabilizes his base very quickly and I am caught “hanging out” in this position, with my foot dangling right in front of Mike’s face.

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Now, if Mike was strong, aggressive, and liked lower body submissions (WHICH HE IS and DOES! J), he might be able to rip his left arm out of my grip, attack my foot with a fig.4 toe-hold…

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…and make me tap out and beg for my momma. Now against your average guy, this really is not much of a threat. He has no control over my leg, hips, or upper body here, he only has his figure 4 grip around my ankle. Usually, I am able to simply extend my right leg, bring my left leg into play to break his grip, and turn to face him with an open guard. Against aggressive leg lock specialists, however, you may not want to risk it, as they can sometimes create enough pressure to do real damage even without controlling the leg. So…

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If you get caught “hanging out” in this position, you may want to triangle your right foot behind your left knee for added security.

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You can still execute the sweep just fine, you just have to change the angle of your hips slightly.

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Another option to protect your feet and actually add more power to the sweep is to keep control of his arm, lift it slightly to make a little space…

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…and insert your left shin underneath his arm as well. Now you have double the sweeping power, and you can cross your ankles to prevent any footlock attacks.

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Here is Mike going over with both shins controlling his arm. Notice how (this time) my right arm is in the correct position, clamping down on his left hip/butt/thigh. This is so that he can’t jump his legs to the left over my body during my sweep.

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Another angle of the sweep…

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…and the finish. As with the first sweep, I am going to post my left leg out wide for base, and continue to pull up hard on his left sleeve or wrist. From here I can slide down to reverse scarf hold, spin to knee on belly, or attack with my “flying-reverse-cowhand-ten-finger-double-top-wrist-lock-choke”. Sorry, that one is secret, I just can’t tell you… it’s too dangerous for the ring. Only Ninjas, Navy SEALS, and pressure-point fighters can be trusted with that type of knowledge.

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