22 October 2009

22/10/2009 - BJJ

Class #253

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 22/10/2009

I was excited to come across this blog by Cane Prevost recently, as he is an instructor at Straight Blast Gym headquarters in Portland, Oregon. I really admire the teaching methodologies of Matt Thornton, so I was very much looking forward to seeing how Prevost would go on to explain the thinking in his blog: this isn't your average "I did this, then we did this, next week I'll try to do this" BJJ blog (which is effectively what I do), but a focused exploration of the ideological structures behind SBGi. Cool stuff!

No Tuesday classes for me this week, as I was visiting my girlfriend down in Bristol. However, I was able to get back in time for Thursday, though I'm still not planning to do the nogi, so that means just the hour long beginners class tonight. Kev was continuing to work guard, so again showed us a guard pass and then a sweep.

The guard break was interesting, as it worked off a similar principle to the one Victor Estima went over in meticulous detail during his Belfast seminar last year. Nevertheless, I've been struggling with it, so very useful to have another perspective from Kev,

You begin by grabbing both collars with one hand, your other hand pressing down firmly on their hip (Kev suggesting pressing down on top of the belt knot and moving it into position). Next, step up your foot by their other hip, so close that its effectively underneath that hip. To make it really tight, angle your knee inwards too. This should already be making them uncomfortable.

In a single motion, step up on the other leg and twist, resulting in a sort of horse stance. Hopefully this will pop open their ankles: if not and you've done it right, you should at least have loosened their hold considerably, so can just push on their knee to open the guard. From there, you're ready to pass with a knee slide or underhook.

The difficulty I've had with this method of opening the guard is keeping control of that hip, so the tip on pressing with the belt knot helped, as did feeling Kev demonstrate on me. Testing this during king of the hill sparring later, I also think I was leaning too far forward, so was getting my posture broken. You are supposed to be leaning forward slightly, as you maintain that one handed grip on both their collars, but not so much that your balance fails.

As ever, Kev then followed up with a technique from the other perspective, this time the basic ankle grab sweep. I rarely get this, as people are expecting it, but its always useful to go over the fundamentals. I clearly still need the reminder for the defence, which is to simply keep grasping their collar and drive your hips forward: I keep forgetting to put my hips into it.

Specific sparring with Callum gave me the chance to go through the guard pass a few times, but without being able to complete the motion. I did at least manage to stand up, but was unable to finish. I'm trying to make sure I don't give up on the technique and keep persisting, so I'll have to keep on getting to that standing position and see how I can incrementally get closer to opening the guard. Dealing with the collar grip is one problem, the other is my posture.

However, I'm using too much force to maintain my balance on top, rather than good base. I find that I pull on their gi with my arms, rather than drive forward with my hips. I definitely expended more energy than usual as a result, which means my balance needs a lot of work: I'm never going to last doing it that way, as I'm way too unfit. Must improve standing posture and use of the hips, as well as more pro-active responses to my partner off-balancing me.

Underneath, I was looking to stay tight, using the grip over the head and around the armpit Kev showed us a little while back. I was also looking for collar grips, but not really able to do anything with them. I may be focusing too much on looking for a choke, rather than keeping in mind sweeps too. Still, concentrating on how to keep their posture broken has been productive, and I think I'm getting better at remembering to use my legs to bring my partner in towards me.

King of the hill was a succession of standing up, failing to open the guard, then either flopping back down or getting swept. Nevertheless, it was good to work on that one technique, especially as it was something we'd just been shown. I was asking Kev lots of questions, so as before that was really helpful in refining some of the details (though of course theory is very different from practice: no matter how many questions I ask, the only way to finally get it is to try the technique over and over in sparring).

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