OK, strap on your bullshit meter for this one. This week’s topic was quarter position bottom. I’m not too keen on addressing the position from the standpoint of techniques. I wanted instead to address posture and pressure instead. My first goal was to have students survive the position. Then I wanted them to be active and pressure from the position. Once they understood the top guy’s game and knew how to survive and pressure then they could pack in some techniques.
This topic is one that I’m not as clear on as some others. So, I’m certain I’m going to get comments like “Dude, you are going to get put into a guillotine choke there!” Certainly when you look at the material you’ll see opportunities for counters and holes of attack. I think this is always the case in BJJ though. I can say the method I’m teaching here is what I use and have been using for a couple of years now so I’m at least familiar with it. Feel free to tear it apart if you see any holes in it though.
I break quarter bottom into 3 zones. They are:
- Front Zone- Top guy is in front. His hips are somewhere in front of your shoulders.
- Side Zone- Top guy is to your side. He may or may not have attachment.
- Rear Zone- Top guy is behind your hips.
Knowing what the fights are in each zone is super important to knowing how to be safe. I’ll work with the front zone in this post. First we’ll address posture a bit.
- Keep the other guy in front of you. Don’t let him get to the side our your back.
- Don’t stay there! If he’s not actively keeping you down then you should be sitting to guard right away.
- Protect your neck. It’s the only thing he can attack from here.
- Feel with your hands. Use them to “see” what the top guy is doing.
- Be active. Don’t sit and wait to be broken open.
Intro and Video of Posture
Here I intro the topic and show a possible posture for quarter bottom. After I show the posture I start with a drill. This is a good way for me to see what people know about the position.
One of your initial fights from quarter bottom in front zone is hand fighting. The top guy is trying to break in. He wants a double under grip or one over and one under grip. A double over grip is not great for the top guy. As the bottom guy, if the top guy gets a double over grip (grabbing around your waist from above) we let him have it. It’s not a good grip for him and keeps his arms occupied so that he can’t do something more dangerous with them.
Video of Hand Fighting
Students Drilling Hand Fighting
Hand Fighting Technique
When hand fighting to keep the top guy out you have 3 main things you can do.
- Posture- Good posture will make it hard for the top guy to break in.
- Hand Parry- Use your hands to parry and push his hands away.
- Grip- Grip his sleeves so that he can’t reach in.
Video of Hand Fighting Technique
Second Fight- Keep Him in Front
If you are successful in protecting your neck and keeping the top guy from getting the attachment he wants he’ll usually give that one up and try moving to one of the other zones. (side or rear) As is always the case in BJJ when you solve one problem it usually presents another one.
Next drill is top guy starts with chest to back attachment and pivots from side to side. The bottom guy will attempt to move with him and keep the top guy in front.
After the drill I brought students back in and detailed how to move and use your hands to monitor the position. It creates some opportunities for the top guy so watch out here. You have to be ready to bring your arms back in quickly if the need arises.
If the top guy lifts his weight off your back even slightly during the movement then you should be pulling guard immediately. There is no reason to be in quarter position if there is no weight on you!
Video of Concepts
Putting it Together
So, to put the two ideas together, when the top guy is trying to get hand position we are building a tight fortified structure and keeping him out. As soon as he starts to move to the side we open up and move with him. Our goal is to keep him in front of us. We’ll drill this using a call out drill.
Defending the Double Over Position
Often times if you are doing a good job of protecting your neck the top guy will resort to bear hugging your at the waist from above. He wants to attach and will take the only option open to him. We’ll look at some options for escape/ reversal from here.
Using the Sit Out to Reverse the Position
Here’s a gi version that I sometimes use since I’m not awesome at the sit out. I don’t seem to move too fast and this one allows me to do it more slowly. The grips make all the difference. They keep the top guy where I want him and help me to pin him after the reversal.
Another Option- Leg Catch
When the top guy is grabbing with a double overhook he makes his legs available. It’s a mistake for him. If we immediately drive forward hard we should be able to grab one of his legs before he can sprawl hard. If we are able to control the leg we can use it to turn him over. Here’s a video of that concept.
Putting it all Together- Tripple Attack
So, we have 3 ways that we can get out of quarter bottom and improve our position.
- Pull guard
- Sit out
- Capture the leg
These aren’t the only ways but they are among the most high percentage. They have the advantage of working well with each other. If the top guy is defending one then it makes the others more available. Cycling through them as you work your quarter bottom will give you a much more active game. Here’s a video of that concept.