White Belt BJJ: Knee on Belly Position

In class, we were doing a great live drill this week from side control where the far side arm was exposed and we had to secure it and attempt an arm bar. This was my first time doing this type of positional drilling and it was such a wake up call as far as exposing what I can actually do and what I can’t do.

As I was walking up for my first attempt, I thought, “Ok, if i just mentally focus and use all of my strength and energy I can pull this off….right?”

The first attempt: I was shucked off almost immediately as the guy on bottom turned easily.

Second attempt: As I concentrated on grabbing the arm, the guy on bottom was easily able to get his knee back in and recover some guard. Damn.

Third attempt: This time my partner was one of the people that gives me the most difficulty, he quickly grabbed my lower leg with his foot trying to pull me into a half guard or something. While I couldn’t shake his foot, I was able to secure a crossface to keep his head turned and not allow him to escape. I stayed stuck, but so did my partner and I kept his arm trapped where I wanted it. I wasn’t able to advance, but I held the position and kept my partner uncomfortable (and I could have turned up the crossface, too, probably).

I held the position!


Sometimes just concentrating on getting step 1 correct is enough to be proud of. Be realistic about where you are at.

As we were discussing “what went wrong” later, including my grip on the bicep, my coach advised me to start utilizing knee on belly. Interestingly, several of my partners HADN’T used that position when transitioning to that far side arm bar. So, I began wondering about the knee on belly, and the options it presents.

The next practice we tried this drill again. This time I had a less experienced partner, but I was able to hold my side control pretty well and secure the arm. During that “what went wrong” talk in practice 1, I had a purple belt partner who showed me that if i kind of use a collar tie type grip, high on the tricep/bicep area, twist my elbow in and lock it my partner’s belly, that arm isn’t going anywhere. With this grip, I started shifting to knee on belly and I was able to hold that, as well.

Steps 1-3 are coming together for me. But here are some videos I’m watching to learn what else I can do from knee on belly. Besides attacking that far arm, I see that near arm attacks and back takes are available. Hell yeah. 2 more options.

Just basic stuff, but my options on top are definitely opening up a little. Later this week I will look at more knee on belly and defenses for it, too (so I make sure I avoid the defenses!).

Still looking to do a ton of half guard research this week.


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