Gracie Barra Bristol, (No-Gi), Miles Pearson, Bristol, UK - 18/07/2013
There was an impressive turn-out for the nogi class tonight, with thirteen hardy souls braving the heat. The ridiculous temperatures (for the UK) have continued, with upwards of 30 degree Celsius. Miles was covering some basic transitions from side control to mount, beginning with the Gracie Barra Fundamentals syllabus method. Get a secure gable grip and cross-face as normal, bringing your knees in tight. You're then going to try and slip under the near arm with your knee. The GB Fundamentals version involves turning your knees towards their legs, then shifting back to dig under their elbow with the outside of your nearest knee.
You're then going to walk your far hand up past their head, creeping up the mat with your fingers until their arm is squished by their face. If you can, put your head next to it as well for additional control and the potential of switching to a head and arm triangle. Having dealt with the near arm, you should be able to get your hips high up by their head. That gives you loads of room to slide your knee over. To go to mount, drive that knee up into their far armpit, to avoid giving them a chance to snatch half guard.
The second version starts the same, except this time you switch your hips towards their head to get that near arm. The idea is to scoop it up with your hip, grabbing their far shoulder and pulling yourself up their body if necessary. You then twist them up like before, but instead of driving your knee into the armpit, drive it to their hip and push back. That should give you the space to 'fishtail' (turning your body and slapping your lower leg to the mat), after which you immediately bring your leg into their armpit for control.
My main goal for sparring was continuing to work on my nogi grips, following my own advice to focus on small components of techniques. I had another watch of the 'Essential Grips' section from Roy Dean's excellent No Gi Essentials (Black Belt Requirements is coming soon: I'm looking forward to reviewing it!). He shows the same shoulder grip I've seen from Levo and the Carlos Machado butterfly sweep DVD, which I still have trouble landing. It feels like something that needs to be set-up, as a second option based on their attempt to escape something else, rather than a grip I should be going for initially.
I also tried Dean's suggested wrist and elbow control, but had real trouble getting any kind of purchase on their arm. The humidity certainly didn't help with that, but Dean repeatedly stated how good a grip it was, so I don't plan to give up on it just yet. The most successful grip for me tonight was the armpits. That was generally from reaching around their back and hooking my hand into the far armpit, but I managed to somehow anchor myself on Mike's armpit to avoid getting swept and instead take mount at one point (though I'm pretty sure he swept me later, as Mike's x-guard is tough to stop ;D).
Once in mount I wanted to try Dónal's ezequiel series from yesterday. The ezequiel isn't really workable in nogi (though I have heard of people using it: I guess they have weird arms?), but the tight, high-mount americana remains viable, as does the back take. I started with the americana, which Mike avoided because I couldn't get him squashed enough. I transitioned to the back take, grabbing the wrist (only just though, as Mike was wise to it and defending), but nothing came of it.
I went for the same back take with Roli, attempting to switch into the short choke from Dónal's series. I probably over-focused on it, as the rear naked choke was likely there too. I briefly went to Kesting's palm-to-palm grip to secure my arm behind the back, but wasn't able to maintain the back long enough. I squeezed briefly, but I don't think there was anything there so didn't push it (like I was saying on reddit recently, I subscribe to Cane Prevost's 70% approach). On the plus side, I landed the Akins sweep, which is fun: so, that therefore works in nogi too (although I didn't pull him forward first, which makes the sweep easier). :)
There was also a load of specific sparring from side control earlier, where I was trying for the running escape, but wasn't able to get their arms out of the way to move into position. I was able to lock on a triangle from under side control, but not tight enough and I also failed to isolate the other arm for an attack. On top, I did the usual maintaining, while hunting for the same Roy Dean lockflow. I tried it on Mike, but wasn't able to clamp his arm sufficiently when switching through the three attacks. I think I also need to prepare the ground better, putting my hand in place to move directly into the submission, as well as more use of my head to control the arm. That kind of tightness is much harder in nogi, but that difficulty also means it is a great way to refine your control.