Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Roger Gracie, London, UK – 27/11/2008 - Advanced
Everything tonight started from the half-guard, but in a position where you have your knee into their hip or torso. The hand on the same side as that knee reaches across and gets a deep grip on their opposite collar, your other hand also attacking that side, grabbing their wrist. The knee-in half-guard is something Aesopian has done a series of videos about, but last time I tried to do it back in May, I had real trouble getting my knee into place. Roger's demonstration was quite technique-heavy, showing us about four different options to start with in the space of a few minutes, so I'm not sure I caught them all.
The first was a sweep from half-guard. Having secured the above position, if you notice they are off balance, you can shove them to the side with the knee you have pressed into them, kicking out with the leg, then pull on their wrist and push on their collar. Possibly easier said than done, as I found it difficult to get the momentum and leverage right.
Another option is to collar choke from half-guard. Bring them in, grab their other shoulder, then squeeze for the choke as usual, pressing your wrists up into their neck. You can also do a slightly more complex loop choke from half-guard, where this time, you raise the elbow of the arm with a deep grip on their collar. Slide your other hand over the back of their head, locking it into the crook of your other elbow (Roger noted at this point you don't want to go too far in, or they'll be able to pop their head free). To complete the choke, bring your elbow even higher while the other arm drops, then try and push their head down into your wrists for the submission.
Finally, you can go for a kimura from the half-guard, again in the usual fashion. Sit-up, bring your collar arm over the top, figure-four gripping on their wrist, drop back and twist for the submission. It is quite likely at this point that they'll defend by holding the fabric of their trouser leg, whereupon you can move into a sweep. Put the foot of your knee leg onto the mat, then push up and into their side. Buck them forward and also lift with the leg you have between their's.
The difficult bit is to then bring both your legs up, then past your head, rolling over the shoulder furthest from your kimura grip. Done right, this will put you on top of them, whereupon you can either try to move into mount by freeing your leg, or bring them up on their side, step over their head and complete the kimura. Again, I found it difficult to get the leverage and momentum to complete this move.
We then did a bit of sparring from that knee-in half-guard position, where I didn't get anywhere as I was with a big purple belt called Duncan (IIRC: I met him back when he was a blue, but don't think I've spoken to him since). He was taking it fairly easy, but I still couldn't do anything to pass his half-guard, or to prevent him passing mine. I should be using the knee more to push them away, and also initiate some kind of attack.
Free sparring kicked off with Helen, who noted that she was tending to go a little cautiously when I was trying to wrap her up in half-guard, as she's had knee problems in the past so didn't want to mess them up again. I tend to frequently end up in half-guard with her, so I should instead take the opportunity to try for the top position, or perhaps concentrate on working free of side control. My bridge and shrimp still isn't what it should be, so I can always do with more work on that technique.
I was determined to at least make two spars tonight, so had to look around for a new training partner. The guy who Helen rolled with looked relaxed and controlled, and also not too huge: he turned out to be a good choice. I'm not sure if Adam is normally that laid back, as he said he was just returning from an illness, but I liked the measured pace of the spar. I spent most of it either in side control or half guard, trying to bring my torso to the same side as the leg I'd trapped.
This is frequently a problem for me: I should probably be doing more with my hands to make space to get to the other side, or to recover full guard. I eventually managed the latter, and had a vague attempt at a loop choke, but Adam easily slipped his head away from my grasp. So instead, I switched to the cross choke where you have one grip, then grab behind their gi with your other hand, then bring it over their head and around their neck. Time ran out soon after, but I don't think I had it deep enough anyway. Could have been an opportunity to try that trick Owen did to me a while back, where he simply opened his guard and pushed my legs back (hooking the inside of my own legs), thereby killing my choke defence.
My first no-gi class for a while tomorrow, which will mark only the third time I've made it to a Friday no-gi this year. My foot got slightly bashed again in stand-up earlier in the class, so hopefully that isn't going to be sore tomorrow. I want to make both Friday and Saturday, as that will make up for making just one class last week, as well as the week of no training earlier in October. I think it's time I looked over Indrek's 'Functional Half Guard' instructional again too, as I'm still so often finding myself in half-guard trying to get back to full.