Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 07/08/2013
I went on one of my irregular blog hunts recently, meaning I added a bunch of sites to my blog index. It again reminds me that the best way to connect with other blogs is to comment: I discovered four blogs I hadn't read before just by clicking through comments on Cynthia's adeptly written CAMAMYD blog.
My closed guard has been languishing for some time. I haven't really managed to make it much of an attacking force, although Dónal's private on the windscreen wiper sweep has helped. I'd like to have two or three effective sweeps from closed guard that can put me where I want to be (so, mount or side control) without risking much loss of control. The windscreen wiper is good for that, as is Henry Akins' hip shift. I want to add a couple more: before this lesson, I had in mind either the scissor and push sweep combination, or the series from the sit-up sweep.
The scissor and push sweep are solid fundamentals, but that does involve opening your guard and creating some space. I could also consider the flower sweep, which seems a bit less open. Considering what grips I tend to get is important too, along with grips that aren't going to burn out my hands or be especially awkward to achieve. I like to get a hand deep in the collar, which can fit with the scissor and push, as well as lending itself to collar chokes (which I'd also like to get better at).
The sit-up sweep doesn't require too much opening, as you remain close to them throughout. It's also the sweep I probably have the most success with in sparring, although that's generally with white belts or early blues. I've also been wondering, from a teaching perspective, if I might fit with Akins' sweep, as the mechanics seemed to have a few similarities.
As it turned out, Dónal went with something a bit flashier than I would normally pick, but those all-important mechanics remained simple. He began with a tweak on the windscreen wiper, where instead of grabbing the gi trousers, he underhooked the leg with his arm. From there, he moved into an interesting sequence that involved securing the bottom of the gi by their leg.
This could fit in with things I've been playing with already. Quite often, I will start pulling out my partner's gi and wrapping it around their arm and/or head. This is generally random, but because I have a purple belt, people often assume I've got some cunning technique in mind (I almost never do: I'm a mediocre purple belt ;D), which results in them extending an arm or shifting their weight. That then hopefully gives me something else.
Dónal's technique means that I can be rather less random with my gi wrapping. Start off by grabbing their gi, low, then pulling it towards you. A typical reaction is for them to pull that gi out of your hand, brushing it behind them because they think that will scupper whatever technique you have in mind. In fact, it puts the gi right where you want it, dangling near their leg. Alternatively, you can try pulling the gi over their arm with your opposite hand, feeding it to your other hand.
That's because either way, that other hand will be underhooking their leg. Use it to grab their trailing gi (whether they put it there or you did), creeping up the lapel to get it as tight by their leg as possible. Note that you want to keep your thumb pointing up, as otherwise you might find your arm getting uncomfortably squashed. For them, this can turn into comparable pressure to a calf slicer. That will make them lean forward. They'll also quite probably try and hug in tight and stay low. Again, this helps your sweep. If you've been able to actually wrap the gi over their arm as well as then underhooking the leg and grabbing, you can go for the windscreen wiper sweep again.
If they've pulled their arm free, you have the option of an omoplata sweep. The key motion for this private lesson is contained within that technique. Start by bridging up onto your shoulders, then swinging out your far leg. Keep the heel of your near leg stuck into their side (basic physics: you want the end of the lever, not the middle). As you spin, you also want to make sure your spine stays on the ground. Swivel perpendicular, then kick forward.
A full omoplata sweep involves rolling through so they pass over your body, whereupon you come up in a sort of side control, but you're sitting on their arm. I prefer the other position we ended up with, where you do a similar motion to knock them over, but come up into a sort of technical mount instead rather than rolling them over you.
Rather than kicking into their arm for the omoplata sweep, this option is based around blocking their knee, for which Dónal had two options, both starting from closed guard. They raise one knee to begin their pass. Pop your hips up onto the leg that is still kneeling and grab their same side sleeve. With your other hand, reach underneath your own back and grip the inside of their gi trousers, to maintain control of the knee on the floor.
As before, do the same omoplata sweep motion where you swing out your legs, keeping your spine on the mat rather than raising up on one side. That should knock them over. The other variation is for when they still have both knees on the ground. Pop your hips up onto their knee like the first variation, but rather than grabbing their knee, you're going to reach further, putting the back of your hand on the outside of the knee (you'll find it easier if you turn your body, facing the opposite side). Finish with the same swinging motion as before.
In both variations, the motion to knock them over leaves your hips pointing towards their arm, which potentially works well for dropping directly into an armbar. Personally, I'm not comfortable with that, as it feels more scrambly: I would rather sweep into a solid, controlling mount, then work from there. To do that you need to be turning your hips and curling a leg underneath as you come up. I also think I feel more comfortable with the first variation, as that twist makes me a little wary, but I'll test it out at study hall.