Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 09/10/2008 - Advanced
I was having a think earlier today about trawling through my archives to drag out some technical info I could put to good use. My focus is still escapes and defence, but more specifically, two things have kept popping up in my blog over the past few months: working from the bottom of open and half guard. I've pulled together a small copy and paste of stuff from the blog related to those two positions, so hopefully some thorough revision of that will help give me some clearer goals when I'm flailing about underneath in either half or open guard. I also stuck in some details on attacking the turtle, as judging by the judo class on Monday, that's probably going to crop up a lot when judoing.
Class kicked off with more throws, where the main principle was to work on getting your hips close to your partner. Step into them while at the same time pulling them onto you, effectively bashing your hip into them. I still need to work on squatting with my legs rather than using my back, which is something I'm a bit paranoid about, as it would be easy to fuck it up by lifting incorrectly.
After the throws, we went through three rounds of guard passage. Point of interest there was during my spar with Owen, beginning with a nifty trick he used to secure a cross choke. Normally I'm not too worried about cross chokes, because I can just squash their elbows together and posture up. However, Owen took my legs out of the equation by grapevining them from within his guard and pushing back. That meant I couldn't raise up using my legs, so had no defence against the choke.
The other thing was that the lockdown seemed to be effective in pushing Owen's leg back to stop him passing. Last time I tried that, he was able to footlock me and force the release, so I attempted to be more careful and tuck my foot out of harm's way. Of course, not hugely productive, as it was just a way of delaying the guard pass rather than anything offensive on my part, but something to build on, and hopefully use to recover full guard.
For technique, Jude went through two open guard passes today, both used when your partner is in butterfly guard. For the first one, you begin by underhooking the arm they have around your back, then drive your head into their chest. Push them back and slide your head to the other side, so you can put your bodyweight forcefully into them.
With your free hand, pull their leg between yours, bringing your outside leg away from their body. You will also raise your other leg off the floor: that combination will mean that your weight is solidly on one side of your partner, which prevents them from sweeping you. Finally, bring your raised knee across their body and past their legs, then switch your hips, sliding into either scarf hold or side control.
The next open guard pass is one I think I've seen Jude show us before, that Christina dubbed the 'Its me!' pass. Again you're in their butterfly guard, but this time, grab their shoulder and push them back: they need you close to get a butterfly sweep, so you want to prevent that by making space. Grab the inside of their gi trousers at the bottom, and also raise your outside leg, keeping it tight to the leg you've just grabbed.
That means you've isolated the limb, so can now move around the outside into knee-on-belly. This is where the 'its me!' motion comes in, spreading apart your arms which are holding their shoulder and gi trouser respectively. Helen also gave me a useful tip here on knee-on-belly, which is to have your other leg with the knee up, rather than sprawled out, because it provides you with greater weight to press into your partner.
I was getting pretty knackered by this point, which wasn't helped by my lack of sleep last night (tube messed up on the way home, which was annoying, and almost failed me on the way to training tonight). My first spar was with Luciano, who went easy on me. I squirmed under side control for a while, then spent a good chunk of the roll defending against a choke from the back. I kept my hands glued to the sides of my face, elbows in, making sure to swim a hand back in if he ever got a forearm onto my neck. That held him off for a little while, but then he got me straightened out underneath: only a matter of time in that situation, even if somebody is going light.
Second and final spar was with Helen again, where I had an opportunity to put to use the north-south positioning Iain demonstrated at judo. I had just about managed to get past Helen's guard, and she was about to escape. To try and pin her down, I clambered up towards her head and moved into north-south, attempting to scoop up under her arms like I'd been shown on Monday. From there, I was working to get the reverse scarf hold, but didn't quite manage it. However, with things like that, I always have to wonder about the weight difference, and also Helen tends to stay pretty relaxed, so I'm not sure how tight I had the north-south.
Next back in BJJ on Wednesday, but should have a whole load of physical activity before then, with judo on Sunday and Monday, followed by my first taste of salsa dancing on Tuesday. Fellow blogger Georgette, who happens to be a salsa teacher as well as a BJJer, gave me a ton of great advice, which I plan to put to good use! Also reminds me I haven't stuck up a link to her blog on my roll yet, which I'm going to rectify right now.