If you haven’t got problems I feel bad for you Son, I’ve got 99 problems and a gun ain’t one…

This is probably going to ruffle some feathers…but I’ve received emails asking questions or looking for further explanation on some things that I’ve talked about, and I want to ad…

Source: If you haven’t got problems I feel bad for you Son, I’ve got 99 problems and a gun ain’t one…

Becoming the Civilian Defender

More great thoughts from Dr. House!


This is a weird time we live in. You cannot turn on the TV without seeing horrible events of human atrocity, occurring twenty four hours a day, worldwide. It seems that everything, everywhere, is in some type of disarray. I think that preparing for emergencies that are commonplace in the world, is a good thing. It is empowering; it makes you feel like you are not simply at the will of whatever danger or force is at work in the world. And, it is fun! As a lifelong student (I’ve spent ten years in college/professional school/residency) I enjoy learning something new, everyday! With preparation for emergencies, you can develop a graduate school level of education on something that very few people know about and are truly prepared for.

Years ago, Massad Ayoob, police officer, expert witness, and author penned a list of priorities that he probably, at the time, had…

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Jits Notes 4/7


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Late start today – instructors showed up last minute.  We had a great warmup, though – Takedown Thursday!!!

Standing grip breaks and double legs taught by a Div 3 wrestler/BJJ blue belt.  I learned some good tips on breaks so I’ll share them.

His 2 preferred grips off the standard lapel and sleeve neutral position were:

  1.  Right hand grips top sleeve of arm gripping lapel near the hand with either the pistol or Carlson grip.  Gather the material to take some of the slack out of it – that really seemed to help.  Left hand releases sleeve, comes up over the top, and then smashes down on crook of his lapel arm as you drop lower into your base.
  2. Right arm crosses and grabs sleeve material near the hand.  Gather slack.  Left hand grabs gi material near the tricep.  Strip grip by pushing arm away and down while dropping into base.

Right arm then pushes his right arm across his body and you should make sure your level is right for the snatch double (or single, depending on position).  If your right foot is forward, take the double.  If your left is now forward, take the single.  I found I was stepping in when I stripped the grips and while I could still hit the double, the single was probably preferred due to my angle.  Keep posture up and butt head into the lat area, then grab the legs at the knees to help scoop them in and compromise the opponent’s base.

If going for the single, grab leg, stand up, circle to the side of the leg that’s grabbed.  A back step will clear the leg if its trapped between your legs.  Arch back to bring opponent’s leg higher and make life difficult, then foot sweep him.

Techniques continued with the spider guard sweeps we learned on Tuesday.

In addition to the 3 sweeps we learned then, we also learned to counter the opponent posting the leg opposite the arm being stretched out by the spider guard.  If he comes up off his knees to counter the sweep (or any other reason), work the sweeping leg in to hook the thigh or calf, then sweep to the side of the raised arm by throwing the arms over and using the shin as an elevator to kick that side over.  Keep the sleeve grips and come to side mount – this sweep lends itself more to that than hitting mount.

The last technique was an omoplata off the 3d sweep we learned during the last class –  If those don’t work, move foot out so your hips are perpendicular to the top man with the foot still on the bicep.  Your left foot should be almost parallel to the floor. If the sweep’s not working (or if you just love omoplatas!), move the opponent’s arm down to your hip (the far one, away from him – in this case its the right side) move the left foot from his bicep to his hip, swing the right leg over his outstretched left arm, roll up to omoplata and secure a grip on his belt or pant leg to prevent escapes.

3 rolls.  Felt good, particularly the 2nd roll – hit a cross lapel drag once and a belt and sleeve drag another time to take the back, but got rolled when I tried to attack the turtle defense both times.  A little study seems in order!


Jits Notes – 4/5


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Went back to traditional warmups – 3 lines, shrimping, breakfalls, technical standups.

Standing up in closed guard 20x, bottom man kimuras in clossed guard 20x, then switch.

Went back to spider guard drills – start in closed guard, open while maintaining tightness and pressure with both legs to not give top man an easy avenue for escape.  If a leg isn’t kept behind him, the top man will just stand up.  Drop left leg to the floor close to top man’s right hip.  Keep right leg around his back and maintain inward pressure with both legs.  Carson grip on both sleeves.  Insert the left knee across the top man’s sternum.  Press in with knee while pulling and arching hips to create push/pull.  Right leg is now free to come from around the back to the top man’s left hip and press out.  Move the top man’s left arm enough to get the right knee inside and press out on the bicep and do the same with the left.  Keep the sleeve grips and hips square.  This shouldn’t be a comfy position for the top man.  Now, insert one leg into the crook of one elbow and straighten the leg while rolling to the opposite hip.  Pull straight up with the opposite arm, like pulling a lawn mower cord to stretch the top man out and compromise his base.

1st sweep:  Press the foot up on the bicep to stretch the top man up as high as possible, pull the arm up, then drop the foot off the hip and scissor sweep the leg.  Roll to mount while maintaining grips on sleeves, keep his arms in a crucifix position, and post head on the floor until he settles down, then scoot into mount.

2nd sweep:  If the sweep doesn’t work but both his knees stay on the ground, try the gas pedal sweep – press his leg out while pulling up with the right arm to stretch him out.  Roll to the crucifix mount position, post the head on the ground as above.

3rd sweep:  If those don’t work, move foot out so your hips are perpendicular to the top man with the foot still on the bicep.  Your left foot should be almost parallel to the floor.  Adjust the foot on the ground, then hip switch while throwing both hands and the foot up and to the right while scissor sweeping leg .  Keep the sleeve grips and take mount, post head on the floor until there’s an opportunity to consolidate the mount position.

Had some breathing issues so left after 2 rolls – colder than normal temps seem to be triggering my asthma.


Low light, red sights, and Tom Givens’ Glock 35


1Glock 34 with Warren/Sevigny black sights, with the front blade painted reddish orange

2 $40 for these sights…versus up to $160 for some versions of today’s popular night sights.  That’s a lot of ammo.

If you’re a regular reader of my musings here, you already know that I am a Tom Givens believer. There is a simple reason for this…Tom’s material works.  His lectures are relevant to the Regular Guy Civilian; folks just like me (and probably you).  His live fire courses tell you everything you need to know, that is, what you are MOST likely to encounter on the street.  There is no secret squirrel night vision component, nor fast-rope shoot house class.  I’ve read all of the books Tom has produced over the past 35 years, and most of the articles he has written.  His material all has a common core of relevance, yet the work has evolved to…

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3/29 – Jits Notes



Competition training is in full swing!  Standard stretching opening, then we warmed up with maintaning guards and guard passing.

I worked with a complete beginner, so we stuck with closed guard and 1 guard pass.  The others worked any guard and pass combo they liked – one man stayed in guard and the top passed.  After several minutes, people switched and the other man got his turn on top.  I stuck with this guard opening. After that, I hit combat base and went for the knee cut pass.  I note that I’m moving my knee to the tailbone before I shift my other leg during my guard opener, and, like mentioned in the video, I often get swept or bumped out of posture – I’m going to try his method of shifting one leg and establishing the angle before wedging the knee in to provide pressure to open the guard.

Then it was 10 6 minute rolls with a 30 second rest between each – grab a new partner, hit a position and go.  Lower ranking person got to pick their starting point – so I got to work rear mount, mount, top side control, etc.

Left without free rolling – I’d had a good workout and was feeling better than when I arrived and wanted to keep that good vibe going!

Since there was such a focus on opening the closed guard and passing it in this class, I might as well link to some relevant videos.

Ritchie Yip’s version of breaking open the closed guard.

Ritchie Yip’s staying safe in the closed guard.

Ritchie Yip – Knee cut pass with back step

Ostap tips with Stephan Kesting – standing pass, but important detail at 3:45 about weight shift to avoid a sweep during the knee cut pass.

Kurt Osiander – closed guard passing and grip fighting.

Marcelo Garcia – good tips about keeping posture and not getting swept from a standing pass.

3/31 – Jits Notes



A major competition is this weekend, so we switched back to a lighter pace and focus on techniques.  Tonight’s focus was on escapes from bad positions.  I was thrilled, as I wind up stuck in them so often!

We started with concepts, which I also liked.  I do a lot better when I grasp the concepts with a few examples to illustrate them rather than being handed techniques with no idea of the context.

The attacker generally wants to take space from the defender to limit his options.  Then he or she 1) secures the position, 2) hunts for a submission, 3) transitions to a better submission if no immediate submission is available

Defender want to make space/options by creating a frame, defending from submissions, and transitioning to a better position.  Then we moved on to the practical examples.

Bottom Side Control Escapes

1st Escape –  Starting position both arms inside, flat on back, top man in side control with one hand under the head and the other over the body.  Keep the frame by pressing both hands into prayer position, forearms tight together, elbows on rib cage, hands near neck and jaw to defend vs. chokes.  Chin tucked, and hands often on side of neck nearest the opponent, as you’re trying to turn into him and keep him from crossfacing/smashing.  Prevent the mount transition with the leg nearest the opponent – raise the knee and block attempts to to slide into mount.

Work the feet away from the opponent to assist in leverage and create space to slip the knee nearest the opponent into the gap between his leg and torso.  Bridge up and to the side, facing the opponent.  Keep the arm frames in place as the body drops and knee scoots between his leg and torso.  Underhook the arm closest to your head to control his posture.  You’ll probably have to circle toward the top man and work that knee in as the top man attempts to hold the position.  Use the foot that’s still free to keep wedging in.  When the knee is finally far enough in, place that foot on the ground between the top man’s legs and then wrap the free leg around his body.  Hip escape to the side to free the leg that’s still wedged under the top man, then assume closed guard.  The underhooked arm closest to the head is in position for an armbar, so that can immediately be attempted.

Jeff Mancuso shows a very similar escape here.  I like his detail about holding the bridge rather than trying to buck explosively.  I’ve had way more luck with his method than the explosive bucking that served me pretty well in high school wrestling.  Roy Dean’s video is exactly the same escape we practiced, including the underhooked near arm.  Later, during positional rolling, I kept getting hit with the sweep Dean shows at the 2 minute mark when I was in top side control, too – there’s lots of goodies on that 8 minute clip!

2nd Escape from side control – One arm inside under the neck/jaw, arm nearest opponent outside.  Bridge and get both hands on the cross-facing arm.  Hold the bicep/shoulder area like a hamburger.  Wiggle the hand that’s outside of the cross-facing arm under the armpit to make the frame.  Frame up, then drive the elbow of the near-side arm to the sky – you’re tossing that cross-facing arm over your head and slipping out the side.  The far side arm grabs the top man’s near side gi sleeve by the elbow, then the near side hand near the tricep.  Drive the arm away and to the mat and scoot backwards out from under the top man.  Its quite similar to this escape from Marcelo Garcia.  The same basic “grab gi sleeve, post, and drive across his body” works on many guard pass attempts, too, esp. the torreando.  Example here and here .

Mount Escapes

1st Mount Escape – trap same side arm and leg, bridge and roll.  This one works when someone’s grapevining and has their head low, often with one arm around your head and the other posted out like an outrigger. Ditch the grapevines by thrusting out the legs and slamming the knees to the mat.  Bring both heels up to the butt to establish both better position for the bridge and also keep top man from grapevining again.  Trap the arm and leg on the same side.  Don’t use opposite arm to help push – keep elbow tight to ribs and just bridge.  The forearm will help drive the top man over without any need to expose that arm to a submission attempt.  Here’s Draculino showing it, although he uses the other arm to help push.

2nd Mount Escape – Almost exactly like that demonstrated by Emily Kwok and Stephan Kesting here.  We were told to frame with the hand on the opposite hip and keep the other hand up near the collar – the elbow stays tight to the body and drives against the thigh during the escape.  I have problems hooking the top man’s leg…not sure why as yet.

Back Mount Escapes –

Just 1 – Tuck chin, get fingers on hand on the side of the choking arm inside the forearm and the thumb of the opposite hand in.  Pull arm away from the neck as much as possible.   Roll to the side opposite the choking arm.  Move butt over the choking man’s leg on that side as you start to crab walk out.  Keep pressure on the leg and position the opposite leg near the trapped shin so opponent has a harder time repositioning.  When you’ve moved past the leg far enough, take the hand on the side of the choking arm, place it on the same side leg of the choker.  Roll to face the choker and drive forward, keeping the hand straight out and gripping the far leg.  End in side control.  Example.

Left without rolling.  I was feeling good and wanted to leave on a high note!

I might start moving techniques to unique entries or at least general categories so I can link directly to notes I’ve made on the technique before without having to hunt through an entire class period of notes.  We’ll see how that works!