Wicked Wednesday and Passing the Guard

Guard Pass To Cross Body
Guard Pass with Gi Wrap

Do to family I can’t go on Monday any more, so in place of “Magic Monday”, its going to be “Wicked Wednesday”.  For all of you who didn’t want to brave the blowing snow, Rich went over guard passes.  The Guard-Pass-To-Cross-Body surprised me.  I realized Mark had used it on me a number of times to break my guard.  I either wasn’t there when he taught it or he hasn’t.  I really liked it because against Jeremy, who is larger them me by far, I was able to break his guard.  Unfortunately Rich didn’t teach us a counter to it.  I know what Mark was doing now but still don’t know how to stop him.

The second guard pass with the wrapping and trapping of the arm didn’t go so well for me.  If your opponent drops guard as you tripod or stink bug up you can’t pass the gi under.  That is what you want to happen anyway, dropping his guard,  but  it puts you in a strange position to then take advantage of it.  We also noticed that most of the gis did not have long lapels to work with.  I’m sure its by design.  I couldn’t reach around my larger training partner to effectively get it.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

5 Things I Learned At BJJ Tonight

  1. A bicep cutter exerts so much pressure it leaves blood blisters.  They look a lot like your shoulder after having a shotgun kick into it.  Because the pressure was on my bicep and forearm I have a matching set.
  2. My finger tips are toughing up.  Around my finger nails it used to be sore from gripping the gi after class.  Now I’ve developed calluses that have helped them toughen.  They are still a little sore after but not near as much after class.
  3. I’ve forgotten the guillotine escape from in guard.  I had both legs of a white belt named Ethan in class today.  I was getting ready to inch my way up to cross body or mount.  The next thing I knew he had me in a guillotine.  I was so surprised I let go of his legs and he put in his guard.  I got my arm over his should for the escape but couldn’t remember the rest from there.  Yes, I tapped.  I’m not proud of it but that’s what I get.  I know the technique I’m going to practice at home this week.
  4. My breathing technique has improved.  I’ve been focusing on getting more oxygen during periods of inactive during a roll.  It feels good to have more oxygen during a roll.  Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, fill those lungs, and repeat.
  5. I’ve been coasting.  Its so easy to coast.  The next thing you know your lead shrinks and all the sudden you realize the pack is over taking you or is passing you.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Wait For It! Wait For It! Choke and the Tap!

When I roll against guys who have more skill then me it seems like I have the advantage at the start.  I even seem to be winning for a while.  But then the tables turn and everything goes down hill.  Soon after the down turn I’m tapping.  At class last night I got to be on the other side of the equation.  I was rolling with one of our white belts, who might be up for his blue belt soon.  It didn’t start out so hot for me and I was mounted.  I remained calm and kept working my escapes and things changed.  He managed to keep the upper hand for what seemed like a long time.  I kept working my escapes and transitions.  In time I gained side control and then it went all down hill for him.  I noticed he was exhausted.  I realized I had expended less energy and had waited him out.  As he tired he retired, you might say.  With more energy and the upper hand I moved from cross body or side control to mount.  I latched on to his legs with "grape vines" and based out to ride out what I thought would be a strong attempt at escape.  It didn’t come.  I quickly moved up and took position under his arm pits and began my attack.  It didn’t take long before I got a choke in and he tapped.  I felt like a fortress that had ridden out the siege.  I got a good insight into how my technique has evolved.  If my fortress or technique had been weak his relentless assault would have broken through.  I didn’t go for the submission right off.  I waited for the opening and then took it, while all the while saving up for it.  I wish I had it all on video.  I don’t think I’ve gleamed half of what I can from it.  I’ll be pondering it for a good while.

The Secret to the Inescapable Guillotine

Last night I trained with the big boys.  I got creamed in every roll but man did I pick up some good stuff.  We trained on Guillotine technique.  Of all the training last night the thing that stuck out the most was how to keep some one from escaping the Guillotine.  Here are some pictures I took using my Submission Master Grappling Dummy (explanation below):

guillotine-part1

guillotine-part2

guillotine-part3

Notice how I am not using the blade of my choking arm on the neck.  This is because I will need my palm up in order to put my arm over the shoulder.   I am going to rely on the tremendous pressure I create when I sit back into a open guard to really apply the Guillotine Choke. 

If he hasn’t tapped yet I then fall back into open guard and put one foot on the dummies hip and create a wrenching motion while escaping my hips.  This is done by bring the choking elbow down and swinging it in towards the dummy.  It is kind of a “J” motion.  At the same time I push on the hip to add force.  In practice this made my neck crackle.  It is very powerful.

As you have noticed the real trick is to get that arm over the shoulder before he lifts his arm  over yours to start a escape.  With his arm blocked under yours its all but over.  The secret to the inescapable guillotine.

If you have any questions please post a comment and I will answer them as best I can.

Review of the Submission Master Grappling Dummy – Drilling

Its assembled and I’ve started drilling with it.  The first thing I noticed was how hard the floor is.  I don’t have a mat.  I have been thinking about if I should even get one.  I like some real world or practical application of BJJ.  If I got in a street fight I will use my Jiu Jitsu training but I doubt there will be a mat.  The next thing I noticed is that when I tried a Kimura it doesn’t feel right.  The structure of the Submission Master’s arm is a arch with no true joints.  At first I didn’t like this but then I realized it felt more like a arm that is trying to do a escape.  It gave me a different perspective on my Kimura technique and how to apply it.  The next thing I tried was the Triangle Choke.  This hurt at first because the dummy is so hard.  I didn’t realize how soft real humans are.  I worked my Triangle and figured out something new I hadn’t noticed before.  I posted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submission Techniques – The Triangle and gave tips and tricks on improving your Triangle.  I now can add to that getting the knee of the leg around the neck above the neck.  I have also found that just moving it around, it is 70 lbs, breaks me into a sweat.  It doesn’t do infinity drills so you have to reset some drills to do it over.  But for the most part you can do Arm Bars, Triangles, Kimuras, and other submissions over and over on each side.  For Cross Body and Mount work you sit or lay very high.  You don’t have a soft gut to lay into.  I also can’t hook the legs (grapevines) in mount.  What it comes down to is its no full substitute for a person but it does very well for what it is intended.  So far I really like it and feel it is money well spent.  It is true the $560 price tag is high but it sure beats the home made version I’ve seen on YouTube.com.  I think the only true competitor in its class is the Bubba.  I didn’t choose the Bubba because it didn’t sit up in guard, it looks light weight, and flimsy.  I’m going to start trying some escapes and sweeps on it tomorrow and see how they go.

Top 5 Secrets to Holding the Mount Position

So you are getting better at your sweeps and escapes and you are finding yourself gaining the mount position more and more often.  But you can’t seem to stay on.  Your opponent bumps you right off.  Here are some secrets to keeping that position long enough to make the submission.

  1. Get up under the arm pits.  Don’t sit up back on the guys hips.  You are sitting on his most powerful lever.  Move up by lifting his elbows and sliding your legs under.
  2. Lower your point of gravity. Don’t sit straight up like you are a cowboy in the saddle.  You want your weight to help hold the person in place. Use your free arms for base.
  3. Lock your legs.  Some people call this “grapevines”.  It involves getting hooks around your opponents legs.  Usually this also has you with your arms out forming the base.  If you can’t hook the legs, another option is crossing your legs under the buttock.  This gives you more stability.
  4. Let the storm pass.  When you first get someone in mount they are going to upa and try to escape.  No one wants to be in mount.   It makes them panic. They will throw everything they have at you to get out.  But in time they will tire and the storm will pass.  If you ride it out before attempting a submission you will have had some time to rest.  Now that they are wore down it is time to look for a submission.
  5. Keep your dominance while looking for the submission.  You opponent my be tired now, frustrated, or even ready to give up but don’t sacrifice your base for the submission.  You can still keep yourself forward under the arm pits and your legs locked.  You could even switch to a forward side mount that gives you more room to look for that coke or arm bar.  Just don’t fool yourself thinking that you can easily cherry pick a submission now.  Maintain your base while looking for the submission.

No-gi vs. Gi – Part 2

In my post “Why Am I Writing About Gi vs. No-gi”  I talked about the differences between the two in my opinion and how I was going to but my thoughts to the test.  I did compete in a No-gi tournament.  I did lose and it was not for the reason I would have expected.  I couldn’t get the guy to let go of my wrists and I showed forth some really poor escape technique.  I was also very unprepared for the intensity with which I was meet.  I was too relaxed about it.  The match went like this: After some grappling back and forth he got both his hands around my neck and we just sunk into guard position.  I quickly passed his guard and got him in cross body.  This is when I couldn’t get him to let go of my wrists.  I transitioned in a upper cross body and worked his legs.  I made a nice smooth transition to mount and began looking for a arm bar.  I was in complete control at this time.  I was up 7 zip, then things went bad.  He managed to get a hold of my wrist on one side and with a nice upa rolled me over.  I escaped being mounted by pushing him right over me.  Before I could completely turn around he hit me broad side and fell into mount on me.  It was tied up at that point.  I could have still won but I made a sad attempt at escape from mount and then I make the critical mistake of turning on my side giving him a easy arm bar.  I was especially upset with myself after seeing the video when I realized I didn’t try a hitch-hiker escape.  I didn’t try any escape.  It was a sloppy arm bar too.  I was stunned by the speed of everything and the intensity.  Do I feel No-gi is a subset of Gi still?  Yes.  Do I feel you should train Gi first and then No-gi still? Yes.  Will I do another No-gi tournament?  Yes!  But not before I have a few classes to get the feel for the speed and bump up my intensity.  All BJJ rocks!  I learned a lot from that 3.5 minutes on the mat.  Just like when Helio Gracie came away from losing to Kimura.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Jiu-Jitsu Mind Block – In the Slump

Have you had a training session where you got the equivalent of writers block?  For a period of time you are doing so well.  While rolling you have a easy time envisioning what move you should do next, how to stay ahead of your opponent, or what to do in a tight spot.  You function smoothly.  Then one day you come to train and you are like a blank sheet of paper.  You just can’t think of what to do.  You end up holding closed guard for dear life.  Its as if everything has slipped away from you.  Even your favorite moves you screw up.  Its very frustrating.  Its kind of like a slump.  I had one of those last night.  It really upset me.  I got a more aggressive guy to roll with and I just couldn’t formulate what to do.  The only think I can think to do is study hard this week and hope it breaks me out of it.

What do you do to break out of a slump or block?  I need a escape to break this choke on my mind, to put it into Jiu-Jitsu terms.