19 Nov 2019

Jason Passed My Guard is a book of comic stories all written and illustrated by me. It is available now on the print-on-demand book publishing website Blurb here: https://www.blurb.co.uk/b/9756553-jason-passed-my-guard

The book is 96 pages and features 75 comic stories including several that are brand new and never seen before. The comics are all based on anecdotes and stories that most people in the BJJ community will have experienced, including myself. I hope these stories reflect the BJJ journey and raise a chuckle or two.

It costs £19 incl VAT (roughly $22) plus shipping. Blurb uses a local printer so make sure you have selected the Blurb website for your territory (see the flag at top right corner of website).

Please be aware, this book is printed on-demand, so printing and shipping takes about 7-11 business days. If you fancy ordering one in time for Christmas I suggest ordering one asap due to the time it takes to make.

All the comics were great fun to draw and put together as a book. I hope to carry on making BJJ comics so hopefully next year I'll be able to compile them into a sequel to the book above. For now, hope you enjoy the comics!

What people are saying...
I sent out advance copies of my book to a few friends, here's what they said:


Jason Passed My Guard: BJJ Comic Stories By Seymour Yang, Book Release

Jason Passed My Guard is a book of comic stories all written and illustrated by me. It is available now on the print-on-demand book publ...

9 Oct 2019

In the middle of July this year I was informed by the people running the Guide Hut where I run Borehamwood BJJ Club that they had given up their lease to the local council and that I could no longer hire the building for my BJJ club. I was given about 3 weeks notice. As you can imagine, it was incredibly annoying to have to relocate at such short notice - it is one of the drawbacks of hiring a facility on a short term basis that I have come to accept.

After a few days of discussions with my club members, one of my students suggested the sports centre where he works - NextGen Fitness in Potters Bar. Specifically, their squash courts, which he noted were ample in size and always available. In fact, the local Muay Thai club was already established in one of their squash courts so they were definitely open to the idea of us being there too.

I was still a little hesitant as I have never before seen nor trained BJJ within a squash court before. So I asked around to see if anyone else used squash courts. I was quite taken by surprise by how popular it was.

Clubs based in squash courts

When I posted a thread on the Facebook UK BJJ Underground group, lots of people got back to me to tell me of their experiences. Here are just a few examples:

Mandala Jiu Jitsu in Sydenham Leisure Centre, London have a squash court all to themselves which is fully matted wall to wall. You would never know from the picture!

Mandala Jiu Jitsu

British Army BJJ also have a permanently matted squash court. The only way you'd be able to tell is thanks to the tell tale diagonal perimeter line on the original squash court wall.

Photo by Mark Badham

Fifth Element Durham - also have a permanently matted squash court as their training facility. As with the ones above, adding photos and logos to the mats and walls gives it a real old school dojo vibe.
Photo: taken from the Fifth Element Facebook page

IBJJF Europeans - even the mighty IBJJF were happy to use a squash court as the warm up room while hosting the 2019 European Champtionships in Lisbon. Looks rather steamy!

Photo by Mike Lagarto Pescoço Coburn

Positive benefits

The first and most immediate benefit to considering a squash court is the ubiquitousness of the sport - pretty much every medium to large sized sports centre will have one or more squash courts for hire. The other major benefit is that they're very big - 9.7 metres by 6.4metres, which can easily host a class size of 20-30 students (assuming complete floor mat coverage).

Near constant availability is also bonus - unless the squash courts are already booked out by clubs, most courts are available at peak times for a modest hourly fee.
Along with hiring courts, students can also gain use of the leisure centre changing room and washroom facilities and other amenities.

Negative drawbacks

Mat storage is the main problem. Not all centres will happily agree to have their squash court permanently covered with mats. The other main problem is noise - squash courts tend to have high ceilings and the uppermost portion of the walls are open which causes a lot of echo and noise from other courts. The other main problem is without vertical mats to protect the walls, there is the potential to have people colliding with a hard wall surface.

Some other problems to note - dirt, the court is used by other people all the time and they're aren't always good at cleaning up after themselves. Another problem is that it can get very hot in the court with little to no ventiliation available.

So we decided to go for it!

For our club, the pros far outweighed the cons. I decided to relocate to the squash courts at NextGen and can say that we're very happy there. The close proximity to the walls is a potential danger but we have spare jigsaw mats to act as a barrier plus students not sparring are tasked with keeping an eye open and intervene if there are any likely collisions. The mat storage isn't a problem as the gym manager was happy for us to store the mats in a spare part of the gym. The temperature can get a little hot but there is air conditioning. The floors are easy to sweep before laying out mats and whilst it does get noisy we've just had to get used to it.

Here is a video of us sparring where you can hopefully see how a typical small BJJ club can operate within a squash court..


Not So Squashed! - Hiring squash courts for BJJ

In the middle of July this year I was informed by the people running the Guide Hut where I run Borehamwood BJJ Club that they had given ...

6 Sept 2019

I've been friends with David Onuma ever since I joined Mill Hill BJJ over ten years ago. David is a highly accomplished BJJ black belt (3rd degree under Ricardo de la Riva) who has won numerous golds at major IBJJF tournaments.

I visited David for a private training session so I could pick his brain over a number of techniques I knew he was very adept at. I also wanted to see for myself his incredible full time training space - North 12 Martial Arts Academy in north Finchley, London. My photos don't do it justice, his venue is simply superb with no expense spared!

These tatami mats are super comfortable with a lot of spring, a joy to roll on.

North12 Academy entrance is on Friern Park Road, just off the High Street. It's actually a basement, but the main entrance is ground level and you can see the signs easily.

The academy teaches not only BJJ but a variety of other martial arts including kickboxing, Filipino Martial Arts and MMA.

The large matted area is complemented by an equally large chill out area and waiting room.

David's brand of martial arts is called CFS (Combined Fight Systems) so look out for CFS competitors at a tournament near you!

Here is a short clip of excerpts from David and I rolling - see how he effortlessly manhandles me and sends me reaching for grips that aren't there, hooks that never materialise and escapes that lead into traps...

David and I also have a short chat about being an older Masters category competitor and general fitness and health...


Meerkatsu visits David Onuma's North12 Martial Arts Academy, London

I've been friends with David Onuma ever since I joined Mill Hill BJJ over ten years ago. David is a highly accomplished BJJ black be...

22 Jun 2019

Prior to attending today's seminar I had already read a lot of great things about John Will and the way he teaches a seminar. Drawing from over three decades of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience together with an effervescent personality and abundant humour, this seminar was everything I expected it to be and so much more...

Aussie born, 5th degree black belt John Bernard Will is often referred to as one of the 'Dirty Dozen' - the first 12 non-Brazilians to be awarded their BJJ black belts. John was awarded his in 1998 by Rigan Machado and is widely regarded as one of the pioneers in the very early days of BJJ in Australia. Fast forward to today and Australia has a number of highly regarded competitors and instructors - Lachlan Giles, Craig Jones, Kit Dale and Levi Jones-Leary.

You can read more about John and his experiences in the early days in an interview by Slideyfoot here. https://www.artemisbjj.com/johnwill1/

Efficient Time Management
John Will seminars are a little different to most others I have attended. He was keen to ensure we did not waste any time by dawdling around and missing out on drilling repetitions. Each technique was first demonstrated by John then when we paired up (we had to run quickly to get with our partners, again, not allowing us to waste time) John would proceed to instruct us on the same technique step by step. When we switched positions, he would instruct our partners step by step repeating the process.

The whole class also had to position ourselves in the same direction so John could quickly spot if any pair was out of step or making errors. This method of training meant we zipped through our drills in very quick time and having to dash from the place of observation to place of drilling meant we weren’t slacking at any stage.

John reasoned that if we had skipped two repetitions that session it may not mean much over the short term, but over the many months and years going forward - those missed repetitions would count against us compared to another person who repped the same technique much more, all other things being equal. It made logical sense and ensured we stuck diligently to the work required.

That being said and given the regimented structure of the training, John himself would sometimes (seemingly) go off on a tangent during his technique discussion - he would often recall an anecdote or story from his long career, but it would always lead back to the main technique or concept. I actually wondered if these deviations were an intentional ploy to keep our minds focused and engaged. Often John would instruct us to execute a technique and then promise to begin the seminar properly once we had completed the task. He mentioned this several times until I clicked on that these techniques WERE the seminar proper and he was just messing around, again a little ploy to keep us all engaged in a fun way.

Nogi Guard Passing 
This seminar was split broadly into two segments - nogi guard passing and nogi head and arm attacks. The two segments segued together nicely for when uke denies our pass completion we could then attack with the head and arm submissions. (Side note, John sometimes also referred to gi versions of the technique).

The first guard passing drill was something John described as a very old school warm up that combined several styles of passing into one exercise - bottom player offers one of three leg heights for a guard and attacker must pass with the appropriate technique: knee slice against feet on the ground guard, bullfighter when faced with feet midway up in the air and finally stacking pass when faced with uke's high elevated feet as guard. It was a typically efficient way to drill simple guard passes. You can see it in the video below (unlike many other seminars I've been to, John is happy for us to film his technique and share it publicly):

The next set of exercises centred around the knee slice - I found this segment to be very useful for me as I often find I am unable to complete the knee slice thanks to bottom player capturing me in half guard. Instead of back-kicking as one would normally try to do to remove the top leg of your opponent, John showed how it was equally as effective to move our own bottoms backwards to perform the same task. The bonus of using our bottoms and hips was that it kept our hips tighter to our opponent, denying him space to escape our side mount after passing his guard (the back kick method tends to leave him escaping space).

John then described how he prefers to simplify complex transitions into easily manageable terms. For example with the knee slice/underhook/pass to side transition that we were drilling, John suggested simplifying the individual stages by viewing it as merely going from one 'sweet spot' to another.

We continued to be shown a variety of other guard passing drills, each accompanied by John’s astute observations and methodology. A favourite of mine was the drill where you sit on your opponent’s shin then execute strong lateral movement to pass (a position that I believe is called the Headquarters position – although John did not call it that himself).

Head and Arm 'Choke' Attacks
After guard passing John then moved onto head and arm attacks. John informed us that a successful head and arm 'choke' could be boiled down to just two important things: a mechanism to deny the opponent an escape and the second component was a mechanism to 'chop off' the opponent's head in the correct direction. Referring constantly to these two simple mechanical concepts, John then applied them to connect a wide variety of head and arm strangulations, including: front facing head and arm guillotine, darce choke, anaconda choke, arm in guillotine from both closed guard and then half guard, belly down head and arm choke. As such, it was a perfect example of finding a simple unifying concept that tied multiple techniques together.

In the video below you can see how he explains the concept as applied to the Darce choke:

We repeated all the drills in the same fashion as already described above. Performed in this manner, over the entire two hour seminar, we must have zipped through over 12 to 13 different techniques each one repped roughly 6 to 8 times hence making a total of some 100 reps. It was tiring work but also enriching as we felt fully engaged with each and every technique.

Thanks to Leicester Shootfighters for allowing me to join in 

The seminar closed with John answering questions from the attendees. I asked him for advice on training for older students like me and he offered a typically funny response (he trained like he was in denial of his age) while at the same time dispensing very useful advice (add strength and conditioning). Other topics answered included his views on drilling versus sparring (both vital in equal amounts in his opinion) and on the wider topic of how to keep focused and interested in something over a long time period (being naturally curious, rebellious and to sometimes question the status quo or even remembering what it was like to learn like a child learns.) One very nice analogy John used when talking about how to connect the disparate parts of a jiu jitsu sequence together used the metaphor of drawing a picture – a child might draw something using simple sparse lines and dots but an older person might draw the same thing starting with those same lines and dots but then using many more dots to fill in between until it becomes far more detailed - the nature of jiujitsu meant that starting a new technique required one to draw simple dots then as we progress, to fill in the details with ever increasing density and number of dots.

If you haven't already done so, it's worth following John on Facebook. He often writes interesting posts about BJJ and life in general.

Final thoughts
John Will seminars combine his rich knowledge and lengthy experience with great energy and endless enthusiasm. You’ll work hard but learn a huge amount. You’ll also laugh a lot as he’s a fantastic orator. More importantly the session gave me, as a coach, plenty of food for thought about how to convey information for my students. John's ability to assess, ruminate and disseminate complex movements into simplified component parts meant that they were easy to understand, practice and drill. I also liked the way he made us drill, first by demonstrating, then repeating the step by step instruction while partnered up. It meant we got several attempts to assimilate the information as opposed to listening, pairing up then forgetting major parts of what to do once drilling began.

John doesn't tend to be advertise his seminars here in the UK, you kind of have to know about them in advance. He focuses only on visiting the same academies each year and teaches a completely different set of techniques for each seminar so it’s worth going to several if you can. Regardless of your rank or experience I highly recommend attending his sessions, you will definitely walk away with a far greater understanding of this crazy pyjama game we call BJJ.

The full seminar John taught today can be viewed here as a Youtube playlist. Annoyingly I missed filming the drill where John first talked about accessing the sweet spot when passing open guard and also using your head to help create the underhook.

Current UK Tour: Total Dojo Milton Keynes, Leicester Shootfighters, Way of the Spiritual Warrior, Coventry, Function First Academy Lincolnshire, Marsden Martial Arts, Chesterfield, Wayne Stokes Cademy in Oldbury also seminars in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

NB: Interesting side note – John is a keen doodler and prepares all his seminars with sketched out notes and text on his tablet. It means he has a simple quick glance notebook of sessions that he can adjust accordingly at a moment’s notice.

John Wills self penned seminar notes



Prior to attending today's seminar I had already read a lot of great things about John Will and the way he teaches a seminar. Drawing...

24 May 2019

Following the success of his Footlock Mastery tutorial set, British black belt Oli Geddes presents his second official release: half guard mastery. Oli’s tournament game has focused almost exclusively on the half guard (and more specifically, the underhook half guard) so this set brings together 13 years of competitive experience in using this position. Half guard mastery is offered as a complete system that teaches position, submissions, sweeps, counters, re-guards and less common variations. It contains techniques suitable for beginners and advanced students alike.

Review: Half Guard Mastery by Oli Geddes

Summary Following the success of his Footlock Mastery tutorial set, British black belt Oli Geddes presents his second official relea...

11 Mar 2019

Although I'm a black belt I must confess I have never once played worm guard, nor any of the related lapel guards shown by Keenan Cornelius in his Lapel Encyclopedia. Plenty of my sparring partners do play it however and it’s an extremely annoying guard to be on the receiving end of. I figured it was high time I got down with the cool kids, after all if you can't beat them...join them! Here's how I got on...

The Lapel Guard Encyclopedia (LE) is available as a physical DVD disc, online via the lapelguard.com website and in the handy form of an app for Android or Apple. The app is incredible - more about that later.

As of 11th March 2019 LE is offered at: $244.99 digital (website + app) or $274.99 (DVD disc and online access). In British money, that translates to £192 and £211 respectively.
I have seen various discount codes knocking around so maybe hunt online.
Full disclosure - I was given online access by them for the purposes of this review.

What is the worm guard?
It is an open guard technique that utilises the lower portion of your opponent's gi lapel. When that lapel is fed underneath your elevated leg and exchanged to your other hand behind your opponent's other leg, it creates both a highly secure connection to your opponent AND prevents them from squaring up. This then sets them up for virtually unstoppable sweeps, access to the back and even some submissions.

Screengrab showing basic worm guarde leg and grip position

The actual worm guard itself is a single specific position. When some people say worm guard they may be referring to the other closely related guards that are taught on the DVD: ringworm guard, reverse de la worm guard and squid guard. Also included in the DVD is the Gubber guard which although reliant on the lapel, isn't what I consider to be part of the worm guard system. It is also worth noting that when people talk about 'lapel guard' it can refer to any one of a huge variety of other uses of the lapel. Confusingly, Keenan himself tries to explain the difference (in this early video) and suggests that worm guard is NOT a lapel guard.

This video below shows Keenan Cornelius in action against Tim Spriggs where you can see immediately how Keenan grabs the lapel and begins setting up his reverse de la worm guard which leads to a successful series of sweeps. What's compelling about this system is that Keenan has tested it against the highest level of opposition. By doing so he has refined and added it over the years to become a much more rounded than his first worm guard DVD (released in 2015 and also included in the online access of LE.)

The LE is expensive. But you get a huge amount of content for your money (seven hours). It's also being taught by the guy who invented it and who has used it incredibly well at the highest level of competition. Here is the rundown of chapters:

1-1 Introduction
1-2 Course Structure
1-3 Gripping Concepts
1-4 Intermediary Lapel Control
1-5 Avoiding Weak Foot Positioning and Using Lapel Lasso for Control
1-6 Finding Lapel Grips Everywhere
1-7 Finding Lapel Grips from More of Everywhere

2-1 Spider Hook Off Balance
2-2 Foot Under Off Balance
2-3 Forward Spider Push to X-Guard
2-4 Forward Spider Push to Crab Ride
2-5 Forward Spider Push to Single Leg X
2-6 Foot Under Off Balance to X-Guard
2-7 Foot Under Off Balance to Calf Slice
2-8 Foot Under Off Balance to 50/50
2-9 Foot Under Off Balance to Squid Guard
2-10 Belt Guard Control Gripping Belt Knot
2-11 Belt Guard Control Gripping Belt Length

3-1 Upside Down Spider Kill Technique
3-2 Overhead Leg Swing Recovery Movemen
3-3 Under Leg Swing Recovery Movement
3-4 Framing with Lapels
3-5 Avoid Using Your Foot as a Frame when Already Passed
3-6 Avoid Using Your Foot as a Frame when Already Passed Except in this Situation
3-7 Dealing with Strong Toreandos and Recovering Lapel Guard
3-8 Using Baby Hooks and The Pancake Philosoph
3-9 Using Lapels to Escape from Double Unders with Your Foot in the Collar
3-10 Overhook Wrench
3-11 Underhook Wrench
3-12 How to Escape when You’re Fully Stacked

4-1 Basic Worm Guard Entry
4-2 Entry from Single Leg X
4-3 Lapel Lasso Entry
4-4 Control Points, Balance, and Weaknesses
4-5 The Very First Worm Guard Sweep Ever
4-6 Worm Guard Scissor Sweep
4-7 Emergency Exiting the Worm Guard and Becoming a Wrestler
4-8 Deep De La Worm Back Take
4-9 Fancy Spinning Shit
4-10 Using Shin to Shin to Secure Knee Over Knee
4-11 Dealing with Spazzy Guys Who Do Ninja Rolls and Cartwheels

5-1 Ringworm Guard Introduction – Timestamp: 00:00
5-2 Knee Step Sweep – Timestamp: 03:43
5-3 Deep De La X Sweep – Timestamp: 08:43
5-4 Stand Up to Single Leg – Timestamp: 12:49
5-5 Elevation Sweep – Timestamp: 17:46
5-6 Double Under Lapel Wrench – Timestamp: 24:35
5-7 Double Under Judo Choke – Timestamp: 31:02
5-8 How to Worm Guard when Opponent Passes on Both Knees – Timestamp: 35:04
5-9 Lapel 2-on-1 Triangle – Timestamp: 39:06
5-10 Using Lapel Lasso to Deal with Opponent on Both Knees – Timestamp: 51:27
 5-11 The Polish Worm Rider – Timestamp: 57:32
5-12 Just Another Polish Worm Rider Sweep – Timestamp: 01:04:43

6-1 Setting Up Reverse De La Worm
6-2 Reverse De La Worm Back Take
6-3 Reverse De La Worm Arm-bar
6-4 Shin to Shin to Force the Knees to the Mat
6-5 Reverse De La Worm with Same Side Lapel
6-6 Wormnado Sweep

7-1 Squid Guard Introduction
7-2 Squid Guard Double Ankle Pick
7-3 Squid Guard Double Leg
7-4 Squid Guard Inversion Sweep
7-5 Kind of the Same Inversion Sweep from a Different Angle
7-6 Squid Guard Omoplata
7-7 Squid Guard Reverse Lasso Sweep

8-1 Gubber Guard Introduction
8-2 More Gubber Guard
8-3 Gubber Guard Wormoplata
8-4 Gubber Guard Triangle
8-5 Gubber Guard Monoplata
8-6 Gubber Guard Flavio Canto Choke
8-7 Gubber Guard Cross Choke
8-8 Gubber Guard Flower Sweep

9-1 Wormhat Choke
9-2 Lapel Lasso Overhook Omoplata
9-3 Lapel Lasso Overhook Triangle
9-4 Lapel Lasso Overhook Baratoplata
9-5 Lapel Lasso Overhook Armbar

10. Deleted Scenes and bloopers
11. (Website only) Updated content - currently three additional techniques
12. (only on the app) Keenan's 2015 Worm Guard DVD

Watching via the website on my desktop is merely okay. I don't mind using it. But where the learning experience really shines is via the app. On my iPhone or my iPad the app is utterly brilliant! Super fast, instant access and very easy to navigate, honestly I'd much rather observe via the app than the website. The only minor niggle is that it often logs me out when I haven't used it for a day and I have to log back in. Fiddly but not a deal breaker.

Viewing via app offers the best experience in my opinion

Regardless of the platform, the LE is excellently produced. Video and audio is crystal clear. There are no fancy gimmicks or video effects, it's just Keenan talking and demoing with angle changes only when necessary. The whole package is taught with the complete worm-guard newbie in mind (ie people like me). Keenan himself is a good instructor, he seems to know what it is like for a complete newbie to learn something new and explains his techniques accordingly. There are also moments of humour scattered throughout which makes viewing more of a fun experience. The chapters progress to more advanced techniques and cover every possible scenario and likelihood - including how to deal with specific opponent reactions and recovering the guard. These how-to-deal with sections are important because the first few attempts of playing worm guard will inevitably lead to errors and bad positions until you get used to it.

Squid guard set-up

How I learned the basic worm guard in just five days
I don't get much time to drill techniques. Whenever I review an instructional, I watch a few chapters and then just try to remember what I can when sparring. Here are my personal notes on using worm guard from five sessions-worth of training...

Day 1. I briefly skimmed over about three chapters of the LE. I figure it was a good enough start so after class I asked my training partner Lou if I could drill some worm guard having never ever done it before. Feeding the lapel through as instructed by Keenan it was really weird not to have my worm foot placed on her hip (which I would normally do if I played sleeve based open guard say). Instead you have to let the leg sort of just hang there, suspended within the entangled gi lapel. It felt kid of vulnerable and not serving any push or pulling purpose. I then did the basic worm guard sweep clumsily but it seemed to work as advertised. Since this was not sparring, I just thought it was merely an okay technique. Drilled it a few more then when at home I skipped a bunch of chapters to go straight to the Worm Guard chapter and study it properly.

Day 2. Sparring with my team mate JLo I spotted that she much preferred to stand and pass which presented to me with a good opportunity to grab that lapel. Immediately I began to stick my foot into the wormhole but she spotted it quickly and prevented it - damn, I was too obvious. In the end, I didn't get the worm guard itself but I did manage to play lapel guard by sticking my foot into the crease of the lapel and moving around with it just like in spider guard. I was impressed at how effective it was to do this.

Day 3. Callum is a fast young blue belt who likes to use a bit of worm guard himself. I pull guard quickly and manage to extract the gi lapel. Spotting my intentions immediately, Callum postures far away from my legs but finds it hard to pass me as I continue gripping his lapel with both hands and fending him off with my feet. Gah, if only he would come close enough so I can get into worm guard! But again, just holding that gi lapel was effective.

My next roll was with a bigger white belt. I got to worm guard position fairly easily but he fell backwards before I could execute a proper sweep. I stood up still holding the lapel but my worm hold foot was trapped in all the tangled gi. I need to study the chapters on exit moves after completing the sweep.

Day 4. Having studied more chapters (mainly chapters 4,5 6) I asked one of my students if I could drill some of the techniques before class started: I drilled sweeps from worm guard, ringworm guard and reverse de la worm. I also tried the same techniques while holding his belt. Starting everything from a basic DLR guard seemed most natural to me. The whole concept is becoming more familiar and I'm liking how much control it offers once you have the guards set up tight.

Day 5. I went to the Grapplethon on Bristol where I rolled over a 6.5 hour period. I used almost every single roll to play with the lapel and try to use various worm guard techniques. I decided that the reverse dela worm guard (RDLWG) would be my main target as it seemed the most effective (Keenan says so himself) so I went to get into that position as much as I could. By now I have watched about a quarter of the content from the LE and also watched various videos on Youtube.

I found the worm guard sweeps were most effective against people my size or smaller since the grip portion of worm guard and RDLWG capably twisted their stance away from me (thus allowing me access sweeps or get back-control). Against heavier opponents, I did manage to get some sweeps, it was harder work though. Sometimes I lost the lapel grip when they postured upright such was their strength. I had to double grip the lapel to mitigate against that, which reduced my options.

The video above taken on my very first roll of the night shows me getting the ringworm guard grip and just using it to destablise my partner Lisa.

Many times during open guard portions of a roll, I felt really comfortable just putting my foot on the lapel (see video below) and experimenting with the tensions and angles it offered. I found lassoing the lapel with my leg was the best at maintaining a decent guard position before feeding the lapel to the other side. The best sweep I had most success with was by swinging my free leg behind them getting a sweep from momentum. Sometimes I managed to get a deep de la x-guard from the RDLWG but I couldn't always achieve this position since my legs aren't that long.

Several times I got a bit stuck and the main reason was because I did not get my own knee position high enough - you have to get your knee over and above the knee of your opponent in order to make most of the sweeps work properly. When I ignored my knee height and tried to sweep, I ended up entangled and unable to complete the move. Keenan covers this problem with several tips in Chapter

Rolling with the higher grades I noticed they easily spotted my attempt to set up the worm and tried to prevent me from getting there. Despite this, I was still able to achieve the worm guard position since just holding that lapel is and playing lasso was so effective.

The Grapplethon was a great opportunity to roll with as many different types of people of all sizes and really test the tiny bit of worm guard knowledge I picked up. I was really surprised how easy it was to use - at a basic level at least. Yet there's so much I haven't yet got round to studying - squid guard for example, or the Wormnado, or the Gubber Guard. Plus of course really studying the problem solving tips for when things go wrong. Those chapters I reckon will be key for me as I use it more and more.

Worm Guard in action.
Keenan Cornelius invented the system and many people out there use it successfully. Andris Brunovskis, Keenan's Atos team mate, uses it especially well. Check out the thrilling match below with Bill Cooper.

In the video at 8'07, you can see Andris first pulls out the gi lapel in preparation for a worm guard. In spite of Cooper's extremely low base (knowing what was to come?) Brunovskis still manages to feed the lapel through and exchange grip positions. Once the grip is secure, he executes a technical stand up which reverses Cooper to his back and awards him with sweep points. The grip is so strong that Andris can hold onto the dominant position for a fair while before Cooper (using some insane agility and clever thinking) finds his way out and attacks back. It's a small moment in an otherwise highly entertaining match.

There are so many more examples - just Youtube search any Keenan gi based match and you'll see him playing some variation of his worm guard series. Or to save time, here is a BJJ Scout compilation with handy labels and pointers:

Conclusion and final thoughts
I used to dismiss worm guard as one of those fancy pants techniques that went outside the norm and would be a passing fad. I’m happy to report that I was wrong. The lapel system taught by Keenan is based on rock solid fundamentals - the very same fundamentals that form the basis of regular open guard systems. The guards themselves (and subsequent sweeps) are not really that fancy or hard to do - the hardest part is getting into the positions.

I haven't even watched all the chapters yet honestly, I was really surprised how quickly I picked up the basics and was able to utilise them immediately. This happens to me only rarely. Most times when I learn something new, it takes me a long period of persistence to make work (and generally I give up long before then). Worm guard worked immediately. Okay, in most cases I'm using it against sparring partners who are not used to it (and therefore gave me plenty of time to set it up) and of course I haven't used it in competition. But I'm sold! As an addition to my usual repertoire of open guard techniques, I'm 100% adding it to my daily diet.

Some instructionals take a while to digest, especially ones heavy on concept (which I do enjoy btw). Other sets are ones where you watch one tech and are dying to bust out the move in the gym. Keenan's LE is definitely one of those watch it and try it asap sets. I highly recommend it. If I had a small criticism it would be the lack of defined chapters on how to defeat/escape/defend it, but then again there is a fair amount of this mentioned in the how-to-deal with problem solving sections.


Review: Lapel Encyclopedia, by Keenan Cornelius

Introduction Although I'm a black belt I must confess I have never once played worm guard, nor any of the related lapel guards sho...

10 Mar 2019


The annual 24 hour charity Grapplethon at Artemis BJJ in Bristol just ended today and I'm pleased to report the whole campaign raised a fantastic amount for WomanKind Bristol Women's Therapy Centre.

LocalGiving Fundraisers group page as of 10th March 2019

As you can see from the above screengrab, the fundraisers exceeded the target of £3,000. And there's more to come...here's how my phone case and fine art print sale went:

Meerkatsu limited edition art sale
As reported in my previous posts here and here, I put several pieces of artwork onto Fine Art America. The pieces were available for consumers to buy as art prints or phone cases. The campaign did extremely well and collectively raised $2,238 (roughly £1,700)

Screengrab from my FAA print and phone case sale as of 10 March 2019.
FAA won't pay me the proceeds until 15th April if I understand their terms correctly. So I have already donated £1,000 of my own money into the LocalGiving fundraiser's page in advance. The remaining amount (roughly £600) I'll be able to donate once I get paid from FAA. (UPDATE:  now paid up).

So taking into account the money that is still to come in (there are also some cash donations not accounted for in the LocalGiving total) I'm fairly certain the final donation to WomanKind Bristol Women's Therapy Centre will be around £4,500.

Grappling for 24 hours
Not me! I only managed 6 hours before my ageing body caved in and I was forced to go home. But once I got home I checked in at 2am to the Grapplethon Instagram page and could see video footage of people still rolling, this managing to continue the annual cycle of always having at least one pair sparring on the mat for the duration of the 24 hours.

During the time I spent there I got to roll with lots of people, some familiar faces, others who are new to the Grapplethon. I also got to have my annual roll with Can Sonmez who is the founder of this event and without whom many local charities would not be receiving these hard-earned funds.

Photo by Wanderingmishap on Instagram
This event also marked the very last time Artemis BJJ will be at the MyGym location in Bristol. The building has been sold so Artemis BJJ has moved on and is now located at a new venue which I'll see at next year's Grapplethon.

Photo by Wanderingmishap on Instagram

More than just a good fundraising event, the Grapplethon offers something unique in our community. Wanderingmishap over on Instagram summed it up the best:

"My favorite thing about Grapplethon was that there were no barriers. People rolled with those with years more experience, stones more on weight, different beliefs, different genders and everyone had fun."

Photo by Tacerrob

Thank you to everyone who took part in the event and to everyone who purchased one of my fundraiser prints and phonecases. Big thank you also to Tatami Fightwear who printed the special edition t-shirts I designed and who have always supported us from day one.


Artemis Grapplethon 2019 Final Report

*** UPDATE 20-4-2019: ALL PROCEEDS ARE NOW FINALLY IN AND THE GRAND TOTAL RAISED STANDS AT £4803 ********** The annual 24 hour charity ...

28 Feb 2019

I've designed two new T-shirts for sale at my store over on www.meerkatsu.com
Both were inspired by the Japanese obsession with all things 'kawaii' (cute).

More photos and some explanation:

Super Jiu-Jitsu, the Japanese text beneath the title translates as: cross knee guard pass. The Japanese text at the very bottom translates as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

This t-shirt is 50% cotton and 50% polyester.

Sleeve design combines all the text elements. It's inspired by 'Japanglish' products in Japan that use random English words mainly for visual design effect rather than information.

The text along the right side reads: Ude-Hishigi-Juji-Gatame (腕挫十字固)
The text along the left reads ju do 柔道
The logo at the base is my own name in Chinese: 楊 蜀望
The text at the very top: kansetsu-waza 関節技, joint techniques
The text beneath the word ARMBAR reads: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The main theme behind the tee designs are to mimic the way Japanese (and Chinese) graphic design often use English words out of context - so called Japanglish. I’ve done the same, but in reverse. All the text I’ve used relate to bone ride Judo and Jiujitsu techniques


Meerkatsu Brand: Super Jiu Jitsu and Armbar Artworks, Kawaii themed t-shirts 2019

I've designed two new T-shirts for sale at my store over on www.meerkatsu.com Both were inspired by the Japanese obsession with all ...

20 Feb 2019

For a strictly limited time, my rare geisha v demon artworks are available to buy as phone cases. All profits will go to charity. This campaign ends 8th March.

Omg where? The phone case designs are all available here: https://bit.ly/2GUApWw

Who are Fine Art America? Fine Art America (FAA) are US based but operate world wide (actually printing is outsourced to a company in your territory). They are probably the biggest print-on-demand company in the world.

Why Only Phone cases? My designs are only available as phone cases Apart from the omoplata - which is also available as a print (see here). Phone cases are a popular way to enjoy my artworks.

What phone models? iPhones: 5c, 5, 5s, 6, 6Plus, 6s, 6sPlus, 7, 7Plus, 8, 8Plus, X, XR, XS Samsung: Galaxy S4, S5, S6, S7, S8 Sorry other brand phones are not supported by FAA.

What’s the difference between slim and tough? Slim is a nice tight fit but I don't think it'll protect your phone as much as the toughened model when dropped on the floor. The tough model is thicker and bit more chunky. The printing quality appears the same on either version.

Why are they limited? The geisha v demon series are my artistic pride and joy. In the past these designs have appeared on rashguards, many of which have long sold out, so they’re rare. They have also been available as limited edition prints for previous fundraisers. To ensure the exclusive appeal I’m limiting the sale to just two weeks (ends 8th March). This coincides with the beginning of the UK Artemis BJJ Grapplethon which is the event I'm raising funds for.

Why are they so expensive? I have put a £10GBP (approx $13USD) mark up on each phone case. Every penny of this will go towards charity. This does not include the shipping costs.
Read more about my fundraiser here: https://bit.ly/2BNFkFb

When will I get mine? Depends on your local set-up but I got mine in about 4 working days.

Any other questions come ask me over on Instagram or Facebook.


Phone Cases to Raise Funds towards the Artemis BJJ Grapplethon 2019

For a strictly limited time, my rare geisha v demon artworks are available to buy as phone cases. All profits will go to charity. This ca...


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