Sunday, November 13, 2005

Me and My Half-Guard Passes

Here are the three.

The first is the armlock attack from Jean Jacques Machado. Underhook the arm on the same side as my trapped leg. Then post up with the free leg and work around the guy's head in the free direction.

The second is the Marcelo Garcia pass from the previous post.

The third is this one from Saulo Ribeiro. Actually, Saulo is showing a way to sweep this half-guard pass. But the half-guard pass the guy attempts is interesting and different from other passes that attack the upper body more or less head on. It involves switching the hips and scooping into a reverse that attacks the hips.

Essentially in this pass, if you get your trapped leg free, then you end up in side control. Position-wise, you want to keep your weight on the guy when you reverse your hips. By "reversing your hips" in this example I mean sending your outside hip into his ribcage and pulling the hip of the trapped leg out. Basically, you are putting your body between his body and his legs.

This last half-guard pass is a nice compliment to the Machado, trapped side underhook, armlock attack. If the guy is really fighting off the underhook (as that purple belt, Rafael, did), then it would be nice to have something that attacks from an almost completely opposite direction. The scoop pass might do that.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Half-guard Pass from Marcelo Garcia

Check out the half-guard pass at the end of this short video sample from Marcelo Garcia. The full piece is a spider guard pass, which is certainly worthwhile. But because I'm working against a lot of half-guards in class, I'm especially interested in half-guard passes.

Here are the relevant steps:

Underhook with the same side as the trapped leg.
Overhook the other arm and bring it to the side.
--This will keep him from blocking your pass.
Keep your hip as low as possible.
--This will bring his knee down.
Put your free foot on his knee.
--His knee should be on the ground.
Push your foot against his knee as you pull your other leg free.
Slide the trapped leg under your body.
Switch your hips from down to up.
Sit up into a scarf hold.
--You will have the overhooked arm trapped.

By the way, best of luck to Gracie Barra brown belt Cindy Hales, who is competing at Grapplers Quest this weekend in Las Vegas. She's part of an eight-woman lightweight tournament and is scheduled to face off against Jean Jacques Machado fighter, Jeanette Portocarrero.

According to this preview from On the Mat Portocarrero is also a "relative newcomer" to Grapplers Quest. Jeanette competed as a purple belt in 2004.

Anyway, may any of the numerous submissions Cindy has inflicted upon her sparring partners at Gracie Barra Seattle (my elbow and ankle included) find the limbs and necks of her opponents this weekend in Sin City!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gameness Style

Tonight for Thursday's class I pull out the Gameness gi. It's cut very similar to my Grapple Gear gi, which is nice.

I'll use this as an opportunity to prop SSF Gear, the folks I bought the gi from. I don't think I've ever received an order so fast. If you need a gi, rashguard or like combat gear, I can't recommend them highly enough.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Joys of Drills

Tuesday's class was huge! There must have been twenty or thirty people training! It was a good mix of Ballard people, South Seattle people and some folks I hadn't seen in quite awhile.

Space was tight. The warm-up was pretty short: mat laps mostly, and some shoulder work. Elbow escapes.

Technique work including the dueling clinch drill. I worked with Arnell tonight, who is a pretty good guy to work with. We also worked guard passes, which really killed the tops of my feet as I tried to hold the closed guard against the pass.

Gracie Barra really believes in standing out of the guard. Cesar Gracie mentions it and every pass that Rodrigo teaches involves standing out of the guard. Saulo Ribeiro--the Jedi Master--is also a big fan of standing out of the guard (or at least posting out with a leg).

The first half of the guard pass is opening the guard. We did this by jumping up to our feet from inside the guy's closed guard. Place the knee of one leg right under the butt by the
. Then slowly and under control lower yourself to sit on your other heel. The pressure of your knee against the butt is what will open the guard.

The other technique we worked involves actually passing the guard once it has been opened. In both cases, you pushed one knee to the mat. But from there things got a little tricky.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thoughts on Side Control

Thinking over offense from side control ...

I like the idea of attacking the far arm. If his hand/arm is on my headside, then my main arm attack needs to be a keylock. If his hand/arm is on his legside, then my main arm attack needs to be an armbar.

With the keylock, I want to use my headside hand to grab his wrist, with my elbow in his neck or shoulder. That keeps him from bringing his hand behind his head--which is a very effective defense against the keylock.

The headside hand is the post. That is how I keep both the L-shaped bent arm and the space between his wrist and shoulder.

I also want to simultaneously use my legside hand to pin his elbow against his body. I can just squeeze his arm against his body or grab the sleeve. But I want to trap this elbow against his body to further isolate the wrist I am attacking.

From there, force the arm down with the headside hand, and slide the legside hand along his arm until I can slip it under his arm at the elbow, clamp my wrist and lock in the keylock.

I might have to wedge my arm a bit to get it under the elbow, and to get the elbow increasingly flared out. But if I just take my time, I'll either get that or the choke.

Maintain a neutral side control and crank the lock. Be wary of being pulled over to the lock side in a sweep. Depending on how he reacts, you might even be able to jump to mount and finish off the key lock from the mount.

Always be ready to give up a mediocre keylock attempt for a shot at an excellent choke opportunity. If he's fully committed to defending against the keylock, then he might be unbelievably susceptible to a choke. I'd bring the headside, wrist-grabbing hand back to grip the near collar (pulling across his body toward you) while using the legside hand underneath to grab the opposite collar (pulled away from you).

Friday, November 04, 2005

Guard Passes

I think that as far as standing guard passes are concerned, lunges are a better resistance exercise than squats. I'm not stepping deep enough into the stack. I wind up with both feet side by side which makes me vulnerable to a sweep. Lunge deep. Turn to the side. Palm the knee and hip out.

Like this.

Here's a nice example of passing the guard with double underhooks.

The key is something I'm figure out bit by bit--keep as little distance between you and the other guy as possible. Space is a tool of defense.

I did a pretty good job of defending triangles and armbars by keeping tight and not extending myself. I want to be the center of gravity around which he revolves, like light around a black hole. Sooner or later he falls into the submission--or at least the inferior position.

That's what I love about my avatar at the forum. The scene from the movie Alien. The ultimate submission.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What I Need

A couple of good half-guard passes.

A way to escape rear mount.

I feel especially good about the latter. Saulo Ribeiro's technique for resisting the common collar choke is brilliant. Even grabbing your own collar with the opposite hand has a tremendous deterrent effect. Tonight, both Tom and a brown belt had my back and were working for the choke. The brown belt eventually got it--but mostly because he incidentally rubbed hard against the sore on my left side and I decided to give up.

The pain wasn't horrible. But it was the first time I felt any pain there all night, so I overreacted.

I did like the way I kept either on my side or on my back when both Tom and the brown belt took my back. No figure fours--for which I am now ready to defend and attack. I even shot the leg out as Ribeiro offers by way of escape from rear mount.

I also wouldn't mind knowing the mechanics of the backdoor escape from the rear mount. I thought I had an opportunity use a backdoor escape against the brown belt. But I couldn't figure out the physics in real-time.

A great first night back after missing three classes in a row. The missus was right about all that walking up and down hills in San Francisco. The miles I put on the treadmill before and after the vacation probably didn't hurt, either.

If I can get my conditioning routine down (resistance tomorrow morning, tough guy ... and five miles after work!), then I suspect I will be very grateful over the next several months.

The Class:

We started off with a warm-up that was mostly mat laps with push-up intervals. I was gassing, but it really wasn't too rough of a warm-up. Some shoulder work and some mat sprints. But not too terrible.

We then did that grappling, dueling underhooks routine I've seen fighters do on The Ultimate Fighter. Nice to know, and a good drill. I worked with Arnell, who was very good to work with--in the Joe/Mario/Elliott category of good guys to work with.

We worked on a pass from the front, sort of a pass against the butterfly guard. It's basically a headstand pass where you hump in deep against the knees in the butterfly guard. Then plant your hand to one side, plant your head to that side and go vertical into a headstand. Then you switch your hips with the leg-side leg coming down first to block the hip. You wind up in side control.

Tbere was another pass we did. I'd call it an open guard pass to knee on belly. It's a classic drill in the sense that it isn't just a technique, but it also emphasizes a basic tenet in guard passing.

The opponent is in the knee-up/knee-down basic position. You put one hand on each knee to keep them separated. The pass comes by stepping with your inside leg between your arms. You want to plant your shin against his chest to push him back. As always keep as low as possible--at one point the pass might even look like a lunge. Move to knee on belly.

We did the escape-from-wrist-grab as a finishing drill. That one I've done before.

That was the class. I've already talked about the sparring. I rolled with Joe, Tom, Robert and the brown belt. I really emphasized standing out of Joe's guard, but he was very good about re-establishing his guard each time I got to half-guard or so.

I've already talked a bit about rolling with Tom. He took my back a couple of times but couldn't get the choke he was working for. He didn't really try the armbar transition from the rear mount--or at least I don't think so. I just forgot the basics of escaping the rear mount--even though I knew enough to stay on my back or on my side. I also spent a lot of time in his half-guard again. I really need to learn some half-guard passes.

Rolling with Robert this time was a lot like last time. Like with Joe, I wound up back in Robert's guard a lot. But I had him in side control for much of the five minutes. I had a hard time improving my position, but he had a hard time dislodging me.

The brown belt rolled steady-like. I spent a lot of time in his guard, too. But I think I did an excellent job of keeping my arms short, and only once felt vulnerable to an armbar.

Basically, I'm learning to keep my elbows in and not "abadoning" an arm. If an arm gets extended, then I'm learning to bring my head and shoulders into play. I want to bring my arm and body closer one way of the other, and if I can move my arm then I'll move my body.

Note that I use my head to make way for my shoulders and upper body. If I don't keep that "closer" pressure on, then I can get triangled. That's where keeping the elbows in is key. Never let your elbows get higher than his abs nor wider than his body. That prevents the triangle. Bring your body to your arm. That prevents the armlock.

Did I say that Ribeiro's choke defense method is unbelievable?

A good, good night back on the mat.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pro Wrestling Holds

A great resource I stumbled upon while trying to find a defense against the figure four, body triangle.

Professional Wrestling Holds

Ivan Salaverry has brought a lot of pro wrestling holds over into mma--especially that body triangle to back crank that he beat Tony Frylund with. Some of them might be more practical than others, but it might be worth browsing from time to time to see what I might pick up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Back and Out

Back from San Francisco, but not at jiu jitsu tonight due to an abrasion gone bad on my left side. It started as a pimple just when I got sick over the October 22-23 weekend. But it burst and became a pretty painful little sore for awhile. Cotton and hydrogen peroxide seem to be doing a better job of late than band-aids alone. I should be back on Thursday.

Did some work on the treadmill--though I'm glad we did so much walking during our time in San Francisco. Down and back to the Ferry building, up and down those hilly streets ... I don't think I've ever gotten as much incidental exercise during a vacation.

My right shoulder is also a little tweaked. Rolling with George after class on Thursday the 20th was a mixed blessing. It just doesn't pay to roll when you're tired, and it wasn't long before I was really just going through the motions. George is difficult enough to deal with when I'm ready to go. Rolling with him after class and after three or four sessions on the mat means I'm going to have to be a lot more careful and defensive.

Before I forget, the treadmill workout was 3.01/12l, 330/103, 49:01. The middle mile had one lap at incline 3 and one lap at incline 5 separated by regular laps. It might be a little long for the morning at first, but it is otherwise a good routine for Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Maybe I'll shave off the incline laps--which aren't so great for my ankles--and cut the Tuesday/Thursday morning routine to 2.5 miles ...

Monday and Friday mornings are resistance mornings, and I'm hoping to put the 5 mile treadmill routine on those afternoons. It's about 80-odd minutes worth of treadmill. We'll have to see about that.