Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 06/03/2016
I got in plenty of sparring today, still attempting to work on my open guard. My focus today was shin on shin, or shin-to-shin. Kev showed me a sweep from there in a private lesson a while ago, so I need to re-read my notes on that. The main source for drilling and sparring tonight was an old BJJ Scout video about Michelle Niciolini's shin on shin guard. BJJ Scout discusses her uses of a hybrid shin on shin/spider guard: what really got my attention was the description of it as ideal against knee cutters.
I use the knee cut a lot myself, but the person who does it best at Artemis BJJ is Sam, so he's a great person to practice this with. I managed to get the sweep a few times, however it tended to be very sloppy and used too much energy. If I was able to get the elevation from the shin lever, I was following it up by shifting into a charging single leg. While that did sometimes work, it took lots of force, making it a poor choice for longevity.
It could be that I need to get them elevated before the knee hits the ground. That's something Sam is good at, getting his knee onto the ground and sliding away, making it hard to get some kind of control over his far arm or leg. I was wrapping the gi lapel and belt under a few times, though I'm wondering if I was both wrapping it too late and too low: perhaps it should be nearer to his knee? I also didn't feel I was getting behind the knee properly, ending up in front where it is easy for them to squish you.
My attempts to get the half spider like Nicolini did not work too well. I've managed it with white belts, but that arm soon feels out of reach against somebody with a decent knee cut. I had some brief tries at the knee cut counter AJ Sousa shows too, without much luck: I was getting crushed down too quick to get into position. Focusing on sitting up could help too, as it has done in the past. Staying on my elbow like Dan was showing at RGA Bucks would be a good option: I managed to scrape off some skin doing that previously, but I think that was also down to a short sleeve rashguard. More practice required on my part. ;)
I need to persevere with shin on shin, while not forgetting about all the other open guard stuff I've been playing with over the last couple of years: Ryan Hall's Defensive Guard material, ankle pick sweeps and my old fall back, the tripod and sickle sweep combination. I still don't feel I've got much for when they're far away from me, so perhaps need to jam a foot into their hip to manage the distance in those situations. I find myself often waiting for them to come in close, which if they are good at the knee cut can be dangerous. By the time they're close, their knee cut is already well underway.
I'm hopeful that going to the Globetrotter camp in a few months is going to help with a lot of this, as there should be a few experienced people whose brains I can pick. Also, I've got a private booked in with Kev next month: I'm planning to focus on leg lock defence, as I know very little about that, but perhaps there will be some time for open guard too.