BJJ 22 March

I went back to jiu jitsu after missing loads again due to stupid health reasons. I was the only one there! Those wise Japanese are all in bed snoozing. But I’m getting the drop on them with some private training with a black belt!

We worked on loads of stuff and I got to pick his brain big time.

Some random notes to help myself remember:

I asked about the X-guard to help clear some things for me. He went over the basics, including the setup… from half guard, I can try the fabio sweep, tipping over to the side. They counter by posting a leg out, I scoot under and grab firmly, thus starting the X-guard. Important to pinch the leg between my bicep and my hand so that they can’t just step over and escape. He says it is popular in Brazil (or was the last time he went) not to use the X shape with your feet anymore, but to kind of stagger them, like a Z. So your inside leg, the top of your foot/shin presses into the back of their knee. Your outside leg, facing the same way, the sole of your foot presses against the underside of their knee, pinning the leg between your feet. Then just kick out hard and make sure you have control of their arm so that they can’t post, for the sweep. Alternate setup is from quarter guard. Also, turning my body away, which seems counter intuitive, is essential for taking their balance. Turning my body is more powerful than just pushing or pulling with my arms.

Left or Right?
Nothing major, but my coach said something interesting… he doesn’t think in terms of what is his good or bad side (i.e. I only work sweeps to my left, etc.) but he thinks in terms of the opponent’s side. So if the right side is presented to him, he has certian things he likes to do. If the left side, he has different moves. I kind of liked that way of thinking. You don’t need to be ambidextrous with all techniques, but you need techniques for each side.

So essential in pulling off those submissions which seem so effortless and catch people by surprise… the combinations. Setting up one while thinking about the next one in your mind, so that as they defend, they fall for it. He did a bunch on me that I can’t really remember, but there are some really basic ones I have to keep in mind. Collar choke from mount to armbar. Knee-on-belly to far side armbar. Far side armbar defense to mount.

Collar Chokes
I asked him about the really basic choke, which I had learnt kind of by osmosis but never really had explained to me. I need to remember: Put first hand in palm up, grip collar. Other hand goes over head, thumb in collar, and press on face with elbow. Ouch. Create the space and then put forearm across throat. Squeeze. From mount, I can pitch forward and post on my head, come up to my toes for extra pressure. If they defend, scoot the mount up higher to raise their arms above their shoulders so they have less power. If there arms are too far away from their core I can go for the armbar. From half guard, if I’m quick, I can use that choke almost like an armdrag, me scooting out to the side, them faceplanting on the mat, where I can take the back or finish the choke.

Many times today as soon as we started sparring, the very first movement, he would stop me and say “No!” I need to put it on even from the start. First move is so important. For example, when playing open guard, I shouldn’t sit with both knees up. Two targets for him to grab. One knee up, elbow on knee, one knee down / open. And also, not to let him get basically any grip on me at all. To see it coming and fight it off or turn it into my own grip on his arm.

Guard Passing
Basics!Remember to keep control of the legs the whole time, even when in side control. Lift the legs to counter his shrimping. Shoulder pressure is not just pressure for the sake of it, it’s directed pressure… like a shoulder barge to pin them on their back so that I can pass. When passing, think “big” with my legs. Walk (run) them around in a big circle, keeping my legs away from their arms or legs, so they can’t grab me or draw me into half / full guard. Blast around, keeping that shoulder pressure and describing a wide arc with my toes on the mat. Also, reminding myself to use my body and not just my arms… for example if he traps my arm while passing, forget the arm and pressure him with my chest, shoulder, head… anything!

Ridiculously important for keeping control in almost any position. My coach is really great at pummeling with his legs, too. Not letting you get any purchase when you are on your back. Every time I try to pull him into guard or half guard, his legs are spinning off and away from me and coming back in a position of control for him, just like when you pummel for underhooks with your arms.

We sparred from the feet. I suggested to do standup with the class every lesson, and he agreed, but said it was slightly more dangerous for beginners, more chance of injury, so we need to practice lots of ukemi (falling) too. He says standup is soo important for the physical aspect that it gives you, and that people who always roll from the knees end up lazy, mega-technical, and not as strong as people who regularly practice their wrestling or tachi-waza. I was like, no shit, that’s why I go to a different bloody place to learn judo every week! He showed me a very nice takedown. Scoot down for the single leg, grab it deep under the knee, stand up, so if my left arm is hooked under their right leg, lift it high up. Get a grip on the part of the gi that hangs down below the belt with that same left hand. They are having to balance on one leg at this point. Then bring my right arm in and under the leg to switch the gi to that hand. My left hand then goes around their waist, gets a grip, and then I can pull them back and around to the ground very easily.

Shit, that wasn’t even half the stuff, and it was loads! Free private lessons are awesome…