Class 07/11/2011-Cross Sides Top,shoulder of justice, coffin hand, prybar

This week’s topic was cross sides top. I decided to use the fundamental 5 for holding top as the main organizer for curriculum. I knew I couldn’t get through the entire 5 in one class but I would try to get as far as I could. My goal was to address posture and pressure fundamentals. Here’s what I did:

Fundamental 5 for holding top

  1. Block out the guard.
    1. Use the hip
    2. Use the hand
    3. Use your knee
  2. Lock down the upper body.
    1. Shoulder of justice
    2. Prybar
    3. Coffin hand
  3. Kill the near arm.
  4. Attack the far arm above the elbow.
  5. Move as necessary.

Class Sequence

Block out the Guard

The first thing I did was a quick review of fundamental 5 of holding top. After the review I went over how to block out the guard with the hand, knee and hip. We did a short drill on that skill set. Video of instruction below. Check out my sweet ass yellow belt. 6 stripes!

Block out the guard with the hand.

After the drill I detailed some concepts for blocking out the guard with the hand.

Block out the guard with the knee.

Next was blocking out the guard with the knee. Video below. Key concept is isolating the hip on both sides. On one side with the knee and the far side with the elbow.

Quick question from John- Is it a problem that I’m leaning forward a lot when the bottom guy gets up on his hip?

Video answer:

Blocking out the guard with the hip.

Blocking out the guard with the hip. This is the third way of blocking out the guard. Most people accomplish this with a sit out towards the head.

Drill Time

Call out drill- I repeated this one several times during the class. I’d call out hand, knee or hip. Top guy would block out guard with corresponding body part and hold. Bottom guy would try to pull guard.

Locking Down the Upper Body

This is number 2 of the fundamental 5 of holding top.  If you are doing a nice job of preventing the bottom guy from pulling guard this is naturally the next problem that happens.


Shoulder of Justice

This is a great crushing game. I think this pressure should be in everyone’s arsenal.

Pry Bar

This is a great pressure if you can’t get a deep cross face and you need to get the bottom guy flat quickly.

Coffin Hand

This ia another alternative move. It works if you can’t get to the colar or cross face and you need to get someone flat in a hurry. The keys to the coffin hand are the following:

  • Slap the spine.
  • Get your weight back and low.
  • Head up and hips down low.
  • Weight on the near side of the body.



  1. Cane,

    Is your ‘locking down the upper body’ the same as ‘locking in the upper body’ where your goal is to make it so the bottom person can’t just use an explosive movement to bench press you off? It seems like both would be important and maybe this one step is designed to accomplish both.


  2. Man I miss your classes cane! Just wanted thank you for putting the time into this blog. It’s almost as good as being in class and that’s saying something ¦-)

  3. Pingback: 20 Week Curriculum- Master Link List | The Gentle Art

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