Category: Seminars

Crucifix Seminar Handout

With my crucifix and reverse omoplata seminar just over a week away (Sun, May 5 at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh), I wanted to share a handout that we’ll be giving to participants. If we can get our act together in time, we’ll also be giving attendees notepads and pens for note taking.

The seminar is being put on by Artéchoke Media, a Jiu-Jitsu publishing start-up founded by Marshal D. Carper. Marshal and I are also working on an instructional together, but we’re staying mum on the details until they we’re closer to release. Hint: you can safely guess the topic is related to the seminar.

This handout doesn’t cover everything that I’ll be teaching, but it hits the basics that I will definitely cover. It’s as many key points as I could fit on one sheet of paper.

Crucifix Seminar Handout

The crucifix fits into a bigger game of attacking the back. You’ll discover it fills certain gaps and solves problems. Even if you don’t add the crucifix game, I hope to give you a fresh perspective on positioning and control, and make you think about the difference between “the fundamentals” and “the fundamentals of an advanced position.”

Crucifix Basics

We will start with a basic crucifix so you know what our goal is during each entry. The most common and obvious crucifix entry: countering a bad (head outside) single leg. The usual mistake is trying to throw a hook in to take the back, only to be dragged down. Taking the crucifix is the simpler thing to do.

Crucifix on the knees – Maintaining position

• Harness (seatbelt) grip, or one-on-one with free hand posted far in front
• Hips heavy on their shoulder, lean to their rear, pressure on the arm
• Knees pinched, ankles crossed or triangled on their “hip side”
• Use the pressure of your hips and legs to break their grip if they join their hands

Sideride Basics – Maintaining position and getting the crucifix

• Grips: Harness, double lapels, or spiral ride
• Drive knee in behind elbow and shoot it forward to expose arm
• Step or stomp foot over arm and drag heel back to trap arm
• Sometimes they will just grab your leg if you put it in front of them

Rolling to the traditional crucifix (laying face-up)

• Keep your “head side” leg bent to trap their arm as you roll
• Roll over your “hip side” shoulder (the other way is awkward and dangerous)

Traditional crucifix – Maintaining position

• Keep a very tight harness, or grab behind your head, or control their wrist
• Don’t let them join their hands and turn toward your legs
• Bridge so they don’t slide down to escape or push themselves too high

Reverse Omoplata

This submission is awesome and simpler than you think. Here it is in 5 easy steps:

1) Trap the arm. 2) Cross the arm. 3) Reach inside. 4) Roll. 5) Finish.


Marcelo Garcia Seminar Notes – Day Two

As I said in my first batch of notes, what made this Marcelo seminar special was that he was given a chance to teach aspects of his game that aren’t already covered on his instructionals or previous seminars.

I’ve seen Marcelo criticized for teaching the same seminars wherever he goes, so that if you’ve been to one, you’ve seen them all. I don’t think this is his fault. Most people want to learn his signature moves and that’s what they pay him to teach, so he’s stuck showing nothing but armdrags, taking the back, RNC and x-guard. They’re all excellent techniques, but it can get tiring to teach the same stuff over and over again.

For example, at the first seminar, I had a chance to watch part of his private lesson with the hosts. They were asking him about techniques straight off his DVD. They also got to choose the topic of the seminar, so he mostly taught material I’d seen in his instructionals before. It was all great material, and it was nice to have him personal teaching it and correcting you, but it seemed somewhat redundant.

Having trained with him so many times now, Leo Kirby knew how much more Marcelo has to offer. He knew first-hand how he has an incredible omoplata game, a fact that’s only now getting noticed in recent footage of him rolling at a seminar, his training footage in Arte Suave and his match with Lovato Jr. It was this omoplata game that Leo asked Marcelo to show.

At the start of the second day, Marcelo said he was happy to get to teach us what he does in his everyday training. He said that it’d get boring to just do armdrags, x-guard and taking the back in sparring. He said he’s also always working on expanding his game into new areas, so he can improve and evolve to have other skills fall back on if his main ones fail.

Here are my notes.

Counter double leg takedown with omoplata

You’re both standing and they shoot for a double leg takedown. Ideally, you sprawl and break their grips and defend it, since you don’t want to give up the 2 points. But here’s what you can do if you can’t stop them.

As you’re resisting the takedown but feel yourself about to go down, note which side their head is on. Let’s say to your left.

Shove their head to the side with your left hand. Squat and sit to the right (so you turn to face to the left), opening your legs wide. Swing your right leg over their back, bringing your heel towards the back of their head for the omoplata. Make sure their arm is wrapping your thigh with their wrist by your right hip.

Continuing the same motion, drive your right knee to the ground, putting as much weight in your leg (and their shoulder) as you can. Escape your hips slightly to the left. Force their shoulder to the floor.

I watched Marcelo going over this with the guys next to me. He made a point of throwing his hips forward on to their shoulder like he wanted to sit on it, so as much body weight as he possible drove it down.

Sit up and grab over their back before they can roll to escape. Reach under their far armpit with your right hand. Reach behind their neck and over their shoulder with your left hand. Join your hands however you can or just grab their far shoulder. This grip prevents them from rolling out or posturing up.

Fold your legs to the left so your feet are on the floor near each other. Lean forward and try to stand to get the submission.

Marcelo showed how you can do this to any double leg, regardless of if it’s from standing or them escaping side control or coming up into it from guard.

Omoplata from butterfly guard

You are sitting with butterfly guard and they are kneeling. You are playing the normal game of hand fighting and getting underhooks for sweeps.

You get an underhook with your right arm and grab their elbow with your left hand so you can sweep them.

They counter by pummeling their left arm in and getting double underhooks and driving in, starting to put you on your back.

You need to get a foot on their hip and push them away before they’ve flattened you out entirely. You want to create enough space to work your game but not so much that they are too far away.

Let’s say you step on their hip with your right foot. Push them back enough that your right knee can come up behind their armpit.

Keep their arm trapped in your armpit by grabbing their triceps just above their elbow and pinching your elbow to your ribs to trap their wrist.

Push their head to the left with your left hand. Swing your right leg over their back and into the omoplata. Drive the weight of your leg and hips into his shoulder and touch it to the ground. Finish as described before.

Armlock from butterfly guard

When you go for the last move and they feel you’re about to go for the omoplata, they’ll straighten their arm and try to posture up to pull their arm out.

As they start to posture, bring your other foot to their hip too. Pinch your knees, squeezing their shoulder between them. Keep a good grip on their elbow/triceps and pinch your elbow to trap their wrist and prevent them from turning it. Bridge really, really high to elbow lock them.

If they are able to turn their wrist and bend their arm to defend, just switch back to the omoplata.

This is a speed move that takes very good timing, so you need to drill it a lot to get it. You have to hit it as they try to pull their arm out, so you’ve got to be fast and throw your hips really high.

Marceloplata from butterfly guard

You’re going for the omoplata from butterfly guard. They try to stop your omoplata by grabbing your bottom leg so you can’t turn out all the way.

Stretch your right leg so your foot and ankle are across their face. It’s important that you keep this pressure and contact throughout the move.

Turn your body to the left and try to come to your knees. By turning to your knees, you create tremendous pressure on their shoulder and force them to roll. Be careful with this so you don’t hurt your training partner.

Hold their elbow with your left hand and post with your right to maintain control of their arm and stay tighter as you turn over.

You need to make sure you keep your leg stretched with your ankle across their face throughout all of this turning and rolling. It tends to get loose if you don’t pay attention to it and you’ll lose the submission.

Keep rotating as they roll over so you come to an “armbar” position as they land on their back. What makes this different than an armbar is that their arm is still bent around your hip, which changes the mechanics of finishing it.

Make sure your right ankle is still on their face. Your left leg is across their torso. Hold their elbow with your left hand to control it. Post on the mat with your right arm (the arm that’s on the same side as their head).

To finish, grab your right knee with your left hand and pull your knee to the left. Switch your hips so you’re sitting towards their head. The strength of this submission comes from sitting towards their head so your hips and torso are cranking the arm. Stay tight to their shoulder and don’t try to lay back like in an armbar. They’ll submit to a strong shoulder lock.

If you did slip down their arm some, it may be an elbow lock instead. If their arm comes out from being wrapped around your hip, you’ve still got a plain armbar sitting there.

Marceloplata from half guard pass

These next three build on the way Marcelo teaches passing half guard in all his instructionals. Being familiar with those passes will make these much easier to learn, since they assume you’re already somewhat comfortable with them.

You’re on the top of half guard. Let’s say your right leg is trapped. They have double underhooks, so you’re in danger of them taking your back.

Hug their head with your left arm and crossface them with your shoulder. Turn towards their legs. Switch your base so your left knee is bent under their butt and your left toes are on the mat (to keep them from bridging you over). Your right foot is on the ground near their butt with your knee pointing up.

A good tip on maintaining this position is to grab their ankle with your right hand so they can’t open the triangle and bridge.

When you feel they’re not going to bridge you over, let go of their ankle and push their thigh down until your right knee slips out. Once it does, turn towards them again and drive your knee over like you want to come into mount.

You now almost have mount, except your right ankle is still trapped between their legs. They also still have double underhooks.

Take a big, strong step forward with your left leg. Your foot should end on the ground behind their head. Your shin comes up behind their neck and shoulder. Press your knee to the right, towards their head.

This is an unorthodox position, so I got a picture:

Marceloplata from mount

Pinch your left elbow to keep their arm trapped. Push their face to the floor with your right hand and pass your foot over their face. Sit to the ground but stay tight to their shoulder and don’t fall away. Finish as described above.

Marceloplata from reverse half guard pass

You’re on top of half guard and they have double underhooks. This time they reach down with their right arm and try to underhook your leg, like this want to come underneath your hips.

Crossface them and sprawl your leg back before they grab it too deeply. Post on the mat with both hands to support yourself. Switch your hips and swing your left leg around so you end up sitting on their other side.

This takes your left leg away from them so they’ll switch to double underhooks on your upper body again.

Your right leg is still trapped. Your left leg is posting out to prevent them from bridging you over. Your hands are still on the mat with your chest facing their chest.

You need to get your knee out of their half guard. This will happen two ways.

First, for them to come to their knees, they need to open their legs. When they start to, slide your knee out and bring it to the mat. It doesn’t matter if your ankle is trapped still.

The second way is just that some people will slide down to your ankle on purpose since that’s how they play half guard.

As soon as your knee is out, swing your left leg back over and come into “mount” as shown in the picture above. Finish the submission as usual.

Marceloplata from spinning half guard pass

Marcelo wasn’t sure he should teach this, since he thought it would confuse too many people, but he did anyway since he felt it was important to really understand what he’s doing with this half guard and Marceloplata game.

As in the previous move, they have half guard and are underhooking your leg. This time they are able to get deep under you like they want to go out the backdoor before you can crossface or sprawl out.

Post with your right hand on the mat for balance. Push their shoulder down with your left hand. Step over their head with your left leg and swing it forward. Spin to your right, going almost 180 degrees as you turn to face them. Unless they want their arms to be trapped (in which case you just pass like normal), they get underhooks again. So you end in the same position used in the last move.

This time your knee will usually come out as you spin, since they have to open their legs to get the momentum to rock under you.

Once your knee is out, step over into “mount” and finish like usual.

Omoplata as they escape side control

You have side control on their right side but they get the underhook. As they bridge into you and turn on their side, quickly throw your right leg over into mount. Step with your foot behind their neck, similar to the picture above (only this time you’re not in half guard).

Reach back with your right hand and grab their wrist to push their arm down so it’s wrapping your hip.

Fall to your right, throwing your right leg over their head as you go. Put a ton of pressure into their shoulder with your leg to first force them up to their knees and immediately down so their shoulder touches the mat. Sit up and finish like a normal omoplata as per above.

Marceloplata as they escape side control

The same side control situation as above. This time when you step over into mount, they push your left foot into half guard. Just make sure to keep weight on your left knee so they don’t put it in too, then proceed to do the Marceloplata like usual.

Omoplata as they force the side control escape

This time, you’ve got a big guy who is going to force his way up even if you get mount. As you step over, he just keeps getting to his knees anyway and bowls you over. Simply fall backwards and omoplata him like usual.


Marcelo Garcia Seminar Notes – Day One

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.