Andre Galvao Seminar

I got my hands on this cool video, Andre Galvao, BJJ legend, giving a seminar somewhere in Japan. Here is a clip from a fantastic documentary called “Arte Suave” where you can see his innovative and enjoyable-looking training.

He outlines some pretty sweet techniques, three of which I will stick here for posterity. Hopefully the act of writing them down will help me remember them. There are two half guard sweeps which is great because I really feel my half guard needs some work lately and gets too easily passed.

1) Rolling Sweep
From half guard. I’m on my right side, right leg in between his legs, left leg up in the right side of his body. If I don’t have any space I need to frame up on him (push him away with my forearms) to get some space to work with. I grab his gi at the wrist on his left arm with my left arm. My right arm grips the folds in his gi pants on his left knee. Initially I try a kind of scissors sweep, getting some action/reaction going on. As he pushes back against me to stop the scissors sweep, I use that, switch my left hand grip under and to the inside of their wrist (so that I can pull the arm towards me easier.) I arc their arm over my body, pulling their weight over me. As I bring their arm down to the mat, at the last minute I thrust it away and down, taking away any possible base, and roll over my shoulder for the sweep, landing on top in half guard.

2) Half to back
Almost the same setup as before, except my grip is left hand in the collar, right hand gripping their left knee. I push and pull, get them up over me on my knees, then quickly shove my right hand, and thus their left leg, away and down from me, kicking my legs out, and rolling their back towards me. Then get the hooks in and take the back. Sounds weird but looks great on video, and I can’t wait to try it.

3) Counter against passing half guard sweep
I’m on my right side, they are passing towards my right. As the knee comes through my legs, I hook my right foot on their right thigh, so that my knee is gripping his knee, kind of. Foot curled around their leg. Then I secure his gi at his left wrist with my right hand. My left hand is in his left collar. Put my left leg on the floor, pull him over me, stuff his arm down between his legs and roll over my shoulder for the sweep.

I really want to try these out next time I roll.

While googling for Andre Galvao I found this cool video, I’m going to have to see if this is as easy as it looks, too.

BJJ thoughts

Time for a break. I’ve been going every other day for a week or so. Doesn’t sound like much but my right knee is complaining loudly. It’s communicating with me like some kind of wild animal by puffing up, turning red, and making strange noises.

However I went out with a bang last night.

First an outline of a good half guard pass to help me remember.

My right leg is trapped in half guard, I am on top. I turn my hips to the right and sit down, after jamming my left knee up above their hip. Keep my butt away from them so I have a base. Left arm goes over their right shoulder and grips the gi behind their neck. Forearm pressure to keep their face looking up or to their left, to prevent them shrimping. Walk my right foot up bit by bit until it is right up to their butt, so my knee is up in the air and they have to fight to keep the half guard. Push their legs / knees down with my right hand so their legs are now wrapped around my calf. Then, post out with my right hand over their body, ideally underhooked under their left arm. Raise up enough to switch my hips out, so that I’m on my right side, probably with just my foot left trapped. Right knee on the ground, left leg posted out. Now change my grip… move left hand from behind neck to grabbing their right arm, pistol grip on the sleeve. Pull their arm tight to my chest. Free the leg, turn to side control, using my grip on their sleeve to control their movement until I am stable.

Had some average rolls, although got a triangle on a the blue belt that went to Brazil and managed to sweep him with it but the buzzer went before I could finish it. He probably would have escaped anyway.

I’m loving the higher belts who have taken a month off training (when I’ve been training my arse off) and come back rusty. I had a great roll with a purple belt. For the first 5 minutes I was just surviving. Then in the last minute, I was playing (awful) spider / de la riva guard and I noticed he was standing with his feet too close together. Quicker than you can say “schoolgirls underpants”, I sat up, trapped his lower legs by closing my guard around both of them (I have long legs), then hugged his knees before posting out and totally taking his ass DOWN. YEAH. A bit after that, we scrambled and he managed to stand up with my leg still draped over his shoulder. Quicker than you can say “Rumina Sato is pretty nifty”, I flying triangled his ASS. Or rather his face/neck. He had to lower me slowly to the ground where he rode out the last 5 seconds on the timer. Natch!

It was fun though. I really am not an egotistical person at all (it’s difficult for me though, being so incredibly handsome and intelligent.), but one of the things I love about BJJ is when everything goes right for a change, and people happen to be watching. There’s nothing worse than pulling off the ultimate sweep of doom on a higher belt and looking up only to find nobody saw it. So I like it when you do something or have a good roll and there happen to be a few people watching, and they make various hooting and / or howling noises whilst banging their hands together.


BJJ Class, Tue. Dec. 27

Haven’t been for a while, so it was good to be back. There was only one other BJJ guy there, and a class full of Shootors (MMA). Which is fine by me, I like some one-on-one tuition.

The teacher was subbing for the regular sensei who now teaches out at a branch on Tuesdays. This particular guy, only a young lad, just got back from 3 months of BJJ training in Brasil, with the Brasa team (or at Vieira’s gym or something… anyway) so he is chock full of good info, funny portuguese words and interesting odours.

We decided to work on some guard passes.

By the way, you should know, I basically communicate in some kind of English / Japanese hybrid at training, and rarely catch the correct names for anything, so if you want to give me the right name for something, feel free to! Although the “right name” is a relative concept, janai desuka?

Standing open guard pass
I am standing. Opponent is sitting, playing some kind of crappy open guard. I grip my opponent’s gi, left hand inside his knee, right hand on the other leg, lower down near his sushi roll. This particular pass involves dropping to my right knee and jamming my right shoulder into his left inner thigh. My left leg is posted out behind me. Keep the grip on the left leg but bring my right hand out, around his leg, across his chest to the lapel on his right breast, Grip with the thumb inside and little finger down (as opposed to putting the fingers inside and the thumb being up). At around the same time I rip his right leg down with my grip, so that it is flat on the floor, and sit on it, knee on either side of his knee.

Then, I sneak my right foot over his leg, and tuck my toes under the outside of his right leg… basically, getting your hook in, ready to pass the right leg. Let go of the right pant leg and bring your left arm up to grab his collar behind his head. Same grip as before. At the same time, switch your hips to the right, passing his leg, and let your right leg swing all the way back out behind you to slap on the floor.

Jumping open guard pass
Similar set up to before, except instead of dropping to one knee and driving my shoulder in, I pull his right leg down to the floor, jump right over it (my left foot landing clear of his leg), allowing my body to twist and naturally fall to the ground ending up in the same position as the end of the above technique. My shoulder drives into their chest. Key point to remember is to keep both grips on their legs and keep their legs off the ground until I have secured position. It is difficult if not impossible to shrimp away when you can’t put your feet on the ground and your legs are being slightly lifted.

Ha, I finally learnt a useful application for a wing chun move… Huen sao. I was trying to pass someone’s open guard, and ended up fighting their spider guard. He had a grip on my wrist, and his foot wrappped over my arm and basically in my armpit. I sat down to try to escape the grip (he had a very, very strong grip on my gi at the wrist) and couldn’t, so he helped me out. This guy, Ide-san, is 40 something years old, and always gives me tips on how to use strength less and technique more, and this is a perfect example of it. (He came silver in his division and age group at the all-japans). So, I am stuck with my arm in between his calf and thigh, he has a kind of deep spider guard, and man, it is almost a bicep slicer, it is so secure. All I have to do is huen sao (rotate my wrist out to the right) so that my hand sneaks to the outside of his thigh. Then, creep my fingers up his leg (it helped, strangely, to do it cm by cm, like a spider… ) then clamp over his knee and pop my wrist up. His grip is invariably broken.

Dang, that’s hard to explain.

Sparring was good. There were only a few of us by the end of the class, so we joined with the shooto guys and rolled with them. I was thinking of something I read in yrkoon’s training log about the chair and ball analogy, and taking away a leg etc., and it came to me in a flash of inspiration as I was under someone in a kind of strange half guard and he posted out on the arm and I thought “chair leg! chair leg!” and scooped it out from under him while kicking my leg up for a nice sweep.

I have got this really simple butterfly guard sweep working nicely now. I don’t know why but people seem to always fall for it… I can practically dive one-footed towards them, jam my foot under their thigh / knee, fall on my side and flip them. Soon they’ll catch on I’m sure.

I had a great roll with a purple belt where we flowed from one technique to the other, a positional kind of roll rather than the grab-someone’s-arm-and-try-to-rip-it-off-while-gnashing-your-teeth type roll I often get. He even did the Rickson Gracie flip on me… I felt him overbalancing towards me, scooted under him, and flipped him right over my head a-la-Ryu and Ken’s grab attack from Streetfighter II, but to my surprise I felt him twist in the air and land with his feet on the ground… sneaky bugger.

One more sneaky bugger move, more of a “ha ha” move than a serious technique, kind of a novelty.

You are in side control or attempting knee-ride. Person puts hand on your knee or wherever and shrimps out. The point is, they arm is now across their body around or just above their belt. Here is the technique: shoot your hand through their belt (go in under where it is tied so your hand pops out above where it is tied) and then clamp onto their forearm. Voila. You now have a very strong grip on them at or around their centre of gravity, so it gives you quite a lot of control.