I got back yesterday from a two day Marcelo Garcia seminar down at American Top Team in Hollywood, FL. It was a great experience, learned a ton of great techniques and had a lot of fun.

The theme for the whole seminar was giving Marcelo a chance to teach the material he uses in his everyday training but rarely gets to teach since most people only want him to do seminars on his signature moves. Marcelo said he was grateful to get to take a break from teaching the standard armdrags, RNC and x-guard. He said he never holds anything back, but there are aspects to his game that he doesn’t get to teach much since he’s still developing new material that people don’t know to ask to learn. This was especially true of the second day, which revolved entirely around omoplatas, which is a game few people realize he plays.

The first day focused on taking the back and finishing the RNC, which you’d expect from a Marcelo seminar. But what made this different than usual was that Leo Kirby, the host, asked Marcelo to go into aspects of his game that aren’t given as much fanfare, like the crucifix and the finer points of using his hooks and maintaining back control. Leo has been to four previous seminars and as many private lessons with Marcelo, and yet almost everything in this one was brand new to him.

Here are my notes so far. I know at least one person at the seminar was glad I was there so they wouldn’t have to take their own. “I’ll just read yours online.”

Pulling guard from clinch to butterfly guard sweep

You’re in the clinch with your right hand underhooking (palm on the back) and your left hand cupping the elbow. Your knees are slightly bent and your hips are a little bit back.

Pull them down and sit into butterfly guard and immediately try to sweep them to your left. Sit to the right and rock back on your left side. Lift your right hook as high as you can.

Ideally, they can’t post with their right arm since you’re holding the elbow and have their hand trapped in your armpit and they go right over.

But let’s learn how to do it when it’s not that easy. Instead of being swept, they’re able to post with their right arm and leg.

Keep your right hook up, lifting their left leg so it never touches the ground. Scoot your shoulders back and to the right to create space. Step on their right thigh with your left foot.

Lift their thigh with your left foot, taking their foot off the ground. Make sure your foot doesn’t slip off their thigh. Keep your left elbow pinched to your ribs to trap their hand.

With both their feet in the air and their arm trapped, they’ll fall over and you’ll come up into side control with an underhook on the far arm.

Taking the crucifix as they escape side control to RNC

When you have side control, you want to underhook their far arm. If they have the underhook, it’s easier for them to turn into you and come to their knees. But let’s say that happens…

You have side control on their right side (so their head is to your left). They underhook your right arm and bridge and come to their knees to try to get a single leg takedown.

Keep pressure on them with your chest as they turtle. As soon as you feel them grabbing your right leg, and before they can get a deep grip on it, kick it up and away. Your knee comes completely off the ground and your foot points to the ceiling.

When you feel their hands slip off your right leg and touch the floor, circle your knee over and drop it behind their arm (between their elbow and knee). Turn the corner and come to sideride and get the harness grip.

As always with the harness, the hand that goes under their far armpit covers the hand that goes across their chest/neck. This is because the hand of the arm that does the choking is the most important one, and they’ll be trying to grab it to defend.

Keep your chest pulled tightly to their back. Keep your knee deep behind their elbow so they can’t hide it.

Step over their left forearm with your left foot and drag your heel in to pull their arm into the crucifix. Triangle your legs on the side nearest to their legs (so your left ankle behind your right knee).

Grab their right wrist with your right hand. They now have no arms to defend their neck. Crawl your left hand up their shoulder and shake your forearm to dig under their neck. Keep getting deeper and deeper until you can’t go any further. The crook of your elbow shoulder be right below their chin and your hand on the back of their shoulder. Now take out your right hand and slide it behind their head for a RNC.

Lean forward and touch your head on the ground to the left, putting the weight of your chest on the back of their head. Finish the (very mean) RNC.

Sit into crucifix and armlocks

You have sideride but they are trying to bring their elbow around your knee and tuck it in. Sit though, sliding your knee deeper. Pull them back as you lean back and sit. This exposes their arm, so you can throw your left leg over it and get the crucifix. Triangle your legs per above.

Keep pulling them and sitting until your back touches the ground. Don’t do this until you’ve got their arm trapped. They’ll fall back so they’re laying on your chest. Keep your harness grip tight so they don’t slide their back to the ground and start escaping.

Touch the toes of your right foot to the ground and open your left knee (the one closest to their head) as much as you can. Their wrist should be trapped under your calf or heel. Bridge, keeping your left knee pointing out, to elbow lock them.

If they turn their arm (like doing a thumbs down) to avoid the pressure, turn towards them, getting on your right side to find the proper angle again. Make sure their wrist didn’t slip out from behind your left heel. Bridge to armlock them again.

Crucifix to guillotine

They are turtled and you have the crucifix. They are defending their neck with their free hand so you can’t get the RNC.

Release the harness and turn towards them. Wrap their neck with your left arm, getting your wrist/forearm under their throat. Lean so your weight is on their head. Slide your right hand between their shoulder and your chest/stomach and grab your left wrist. Pull your left arm and punch it deeper, getting the crook of your elbow below their chin. Pull your elbows to your body.

Sit and throw your right leg as high over their back as possible (over their shoulder if you can). Torque your body towards their head and finish the guillotine choke.

Reverse omoplata

They are turtled and you have the crucifix. They cross their trapped arm back so it’s around your right leg, pointing towards their own knees.

Switch your triangle so it on the side closest to their head (right ankle behind left knee).

Release the harness and bring your right arm to the near side of their head and do a forward roll. Give your training partner a chance to roll too or you’ll hurt his shoulder.

As he lands on his back, sit up and reach across his body with your right arm.

Hold his chest down as you bring your right leg back and lift your hips for a shoulder lock.

Sideride to rear mount with arm trapped

You have sideride but are unable to get the crucifix since he’s grabbing your choking side arm with both hands and tucking his elbow.

Use your harness grip to pull him back at a diagonal. Don’t try to take him straight backwards, but back and towards you.

As he raises up, bring your left foot up and step on his left forearm with your heel. Kick it down to break his grip and trap it under your leg.

Keep pulling him back so he falls into rear mount. With your left leg pinning his arm, put your foot in his groin like a normal hook. Your top hook can go in like normal or do whatever else you feel like.

Grab his right wrist with your right hand to trap the other arm too. Walk your hand up his shoulder and dig and shake under his neck. Get your arm as deep as you possibly can before taking out your other arm and finishing the RNC.

Sideride to rear mount, cobra stretch to two hooks

You attempt the previous move but are unable to trap his arm. You are able to get the bottom hook in, but he touches his right knee to his elbow to block the top hook.

Get your bottom hook (left leg) really deep and cross your ankles behind him. Like this.

Stretch him out by bringing your legs back, bridging your hips in, arching your back and upper body. Keep your harness grip tight with your chest on his back.

With him stretched out, throw your right hook in.

Keeping him on the choking side

You have rear mount with the harness and both hooks. You want to keep them turned to the same side as the arm that will choke them, but they’ll usually try to prevent this.

Let’s say your right arm in the choking one. They bridge and get to the left side and drive their shoulders to the mat to try to escape. This stretches out your arms and breaks the harness grip.

Take your right hand and reach behind their head, grabbing your wrist with your left hand (which is still underhooking their armpit). This creates a frame behind their neck and locks their shoulder so they can’t continue the escape.

Take out your left hook and throw your right leg all the way over their stomach. Keeping your upper body grip, twist your body like you want to come up into mount. This creates a ton of pressure behind their neck and shoulders. Swing yourself behind them again and turn them to the right with the frame. This puts them back on to their right side, where you want them.

Release your special grip and go back to the harness.

Roll them belly down and mean RNC

You have rear mount. They are grabbing your arm with both hands and bridging on you, but not really trying to escape. They just want to stall out.

Bring your right hook out enough to put the sole of your foot on their thigh. Take out your left hook and post on the ground. Push on their leg with one foot and bridge with the other to roll them.

Follow them over and quickly throw your hooks in before they go totally belly down.

They’re now face down, but they still have your arms trapped.

Put your toes on the ground so your heels lift their thighs and legs entirely off the ground. Explosively drive your hips into them and arch your back up as you rip your arms out. Maintain this pressure on their back. Don’t lessen it by posting on the ground with your hands.

Grab their forehead with one arm and pull it up to expose their neck. The pressure of your hips in his spine makes it easy to lift their head. Drive your other arm across their neck. Get a gable grip and bring your elbow behind their back. Get the crook of your elbow in the middle of their throat and finish with a harsh Dan Severn RNC.