Artemis BJJ (PHNX Fitness), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 18/10/2014
I have never been overly fond of takedowns, but as a few students have asked about bringing the fight to the ground from standing, I decided it's time I tried adding some to the warm-up. I want something that is broadly effective, easy to learn and relatively low impact (as the mats where I teach aren't especially thick, though there are some crash mats we can use for dedicated throwing practice).
Thinking back through the throws I've learned (quite a few over the years, and I guess I did technically train judo before I started BJJ, if only briefly), I thought that single and double legs would be best, especially as they also don't require a gi. I ran through the seoi-nage just to refresh my memory, but I think that's too high impact for the beginners I teach, especially as they haven't done much breakfalling yet.
The entry for both the takedowns I wanted to use is the same. Grab their collar and elbow, pulling that up and you drop down into a crouch and shoot forward. Wrap up both legs and drive through for the double leg, or alternatively, Roy Dean's version where you slot a leg through first and then drive. That means you end up passing smoothly at best and half guard at worst, but it's a bit more fiddly than simply blasting forwards.
The single leg starts the same, except you just wrap up the one leg. Pick it up and trap it between your legs. You can either 'run the pipe' by jamming your head into their same side hip and turning, or adjust to bring your hand under their leg while the other grabs around their other hip. From there you can bump them up and drop them. For beginners, I think running the pipe is better, as they don't need to worry about lifting wrong and hurting their back or something.
Another entry is to do an arm-drag, then dropping for the leg. That could be a better option, as firstly it means they don't need a gi and secondly the arm drag is useful generally rather than just as an entry. I'll try that on Monday and see how it goes. Randomly, I also had a play with flying triangles, as I'd been reading Dave Camarillo's old Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu to refresh my memory on takedowns. I'd forgotten he doesn't have any double or single legs in there, but I did get tempted by the flying triangle. Especially with my lovely new spats, which feature an awesome samurai triangle. ;)
A very helpful purple belt at the open mat suggested the arm drag to me, along with a great drill I want to try. This is for throws like the seoi-nage where you spin in to take people down. Step in and swivel as normal, then drop to throw. Instead of throwing, roll onto the floor. That means you are working pretty much the same motion as the throw, but without the difficulties of breakfalling, keeping your back safe, placing your partner as you throw, etc
That same purple belt also shared what he was currently working on, a spider guard variation that looks fairly similar to what Xande does on his DVD. The difference is that this one has you put a foot on the shoulder rather than the crook of the elbow, also pushing into the same side hip with your other foot. The hand grips are the same as Xande, pulling on the same side sleeve (that purple uses a pistol grip, which saves the fingers, but a typical pocket grip works too) as the hip-foot side, then cross gripping the collar.
Drilling that with Paul, I found that on the bottom it enables me to be much more proactive than my usual lasso spider guard: I'm definitely going to keep this in mind next time I teach my usual lesson on maintaining spider guard. Flowing into the push sweep felt more natural, plus the sweep just shoving with your legs from spider guard felt more powerful too. Triangles are also easier and it feels simpler to recover your shoulder push if they knock off your foot.
On top, I was finding that there are some disadvantages to be aware of, due to putting the foot on the shoulder. That leaves the arm on that side free, so I was able to repeatedly use that hand to push Paul's leg off my hip, having popped my hips back. To get the foot off my shoulder was slightly trickier (I brought my hand to my head in order to use the elbow to knock the foot away), but again once I had it clear the pass was right there. So, that's something I'll need to be aware of when using this guard: perhaps just a matter of switching between the shoulder and arm? I'll find out as I play with it more.