23 September 2010

Half Guard to Cross Collar Choke Analysis

I decided to have a break this week from training.  However after my last little successful module on closed guard I thought I’d start my research around my next major area I want to improve.   Just to be clear,  I’m not a youtube warrior and I’m not after anything fancy…in fact I’ll only look for really small simple stuff however I want the little details that make the difference.

So I’ve been doing some research on transitions that end up in the mount, and hopefully setup my favourite submission the Cross Collar Choke.  I’m naturally a slow moving guy on the ground and not that flexible.  So I’m after nice reliable and repeatable ways to get the mount.

I came across an outstanding breakdown video on Roger Gracie’s Cross Collar Choke that involves an analysis on how he transitions from Half Guard to Mount.  Fundamentally what I like about Roger Gracie (and this example) is how he just sticks to basics, and he has them down in such a minute detail that they really work for him.

I’ll give a breakdown from what the video talks about:

  1. Start in Half Guard, preferably on your opponents left side (as this will eventually set up your more dominate right handed grip for the choke)
  2. Close the space (which is a problem in itself)
  3. Get your right hand under their head reaching as deep as possible to grab under their right armpit with your right hand.
  4. The result should be your bicep is cutting across their Artery and you generate tremendous pressure via a pull push motion.
  5. Unravel their gi with your left hand and pass it across to your right hand
  6. tighten the grip by grabbing the lapel deep under their arm pit and lean over them more.  Don’t push your shoulder into their face, instead go for a deeper grip.
  7. Try to get your head inside their elbow (arm triangle setup) or just put your head all the way to the ground beside their right arm
  8. Turn your hips Anti-Clockwise a bit and straighten your right leg
  9. Your left leg should be bent coming with the knee coming up close to their butt
  10. Use your free left hand to push their right knee down so you can pass your left knee over the top of it
  11. When you finally free your foot bring your right knee high up under their armpit so you can secure a high mount immediately.  Do not lift your head off the ground
  12. Release the lapel with your right arm
  13. Loosen the lapel with your left hand while keep your head low
  14. Bring your right arm back around their head and secure the collar grip
  15. Use your left hand to help adjust the lapel to get a deeper grip
  16. Crunch down hard with your right elbow onto their chest, raising their head.
  17. Loosen the gi with your right hand
  18. Bring your left hand around and under their raised head keeping your left elbow inline with their spine
  19. secure the second grip and bring over to complete the choke
  20. Put your head on the mat above their head to finish it

I really like that this set up creates it’s pressure through a pull push action.  Like knee ride the end result is more than just your weight being applied.  I like that this pass and set up takes away the opponents ability to create space,  the only time is at the start after that you have no space to work with.  Lastly I like that it gets a dominate high mount immediately, and the pressure doesn’t end until you’ve achieved that. 

It should be noted I’ve seen Roger Gracie use his right foot on their hip in high mount to defend the upa.  So I think getting the high mount at least with the right leg is also critical to the success of this move.



16 September 2010

The Process of Rebuilding my Guard

tick Sometimes to move forward you have to tear down what you already have and rebuild.  Fix the foundation so to speak.  In my case I can compare my old guard game like a skyscraper made out of match sticks where it was so fragile that it would come crashing down at the slightest hint of a breeze.  Sure, it had a lot of facets to it, but it wasn’t sturdy or reliable. I’ve gone back and looked at a lot of my techniques in Guard, thrown out most and slowly tried to develop a plan for guard that involves good basic technique without the bells and whistles.  It’s now a modest house, but at least I can live in it.

My requirements were:

  • Closed Guard only, no open guard, half guard, De La Riva, X-Guard, Butterfly Guard etc
  • Gi and No Gi Grips (while using a Gi)
  • Exploiting Resistance with Timing, no strength battles.
  • Fundamental Sweeps (Scissor, Hook, Sitting Roll Over and Scoop Sweeps)
  • Good Defence against passes (under, around, through and over) from both closed guard and a compromised unlocked guard.

I have to say, Point 3 is the hardest but what I consider the most important for everything Jui-Jitsu.  I rediscovered a lot of the essential concepts again going through this process.  My journey roughly involved the follow training area’s over many training sessions.

  1. Getting Grips
  2. Breaking Posture
  3. Effective use of timing  to exploit the grip fight, posture battle, strength, stacks etc
  4. Timing Submission attacks
  5. Through passes, and counters to these
  6. Compromised broken guard and counters to passes around or over
  7. Timing sweep attacks
  8. Putting it all together

I’m really glossing over details here, but honestly I found having a methodical process really helped.  The most important question I now ask myself is, what is the path of least resistance to get what I ultimately want.  Some things I rediscovered to a deeper personal understanding through this, and I guess to some degree I’ve taken ownership of these concepts.  They include:

  1. Frames, creating and maintaining space
  2. Timing, real jiu-jitsu is in the transitions using your opponent’s movement against them.
  3. Resistance Drilling to improve timing,  seriously I should have done this years ago.
  4. Grips, you don’t have control without them.
  5. Don’t Fight muscle with muscle – it’s so easy to do subconsciously.
  6. Always Attack when you have guard.
  7. Move those hips, get to the side.

Anyway, from where my Closed Guard was technique wise, I now feel it’s far improved. I don’t rely on one trick ponies anymore. It’s consistent and I feel that sticking to basic techniques has actually made me a lot more creative and dangerous.  So overall for the time being I’ve accomplished my mission with Closed Guard.

I will start focusing on Side Control to Mount for the next month or so.  Really my plan is sweep, pass, mount, choke.  I’m going to explore every avenue in achieving the goal of pass. For revision in warm ups I will incorporate some of the cooperative resistance drills for Closed Guard to keep my timing sharp.


13 September 2010

My Love Affair with Sweeps

Broom Part of the last few days I’ve spent a fair bit of time drilling my guard sweeps and going over the basics of them.  The basics are fair from simple when it comes to sweeps.  You can’t really force a sweep. I want to make my sweeps feel effortless for me and my partner - I’m finding the best time is in the transitions of attacking and defending from guard.  Feeling where their weight is committed.

So with that in mind I’ve gone through the basics again of Scissor Sweep, Sitting Rollover sweep, Rolling Shoulder sweep and the Hook Sweep with all starting from closed guard.  They all have advantages and difficult timings.  I’m trying to identify for myself the exact timings to use on each one and also the likely blockages when I’m not doing the technique correctly.

For instance what I’m working on mainly is Scissor Sweep.  I picked this sweep specifically because:

  1. I like it
  2. I can get it but not as often as other sweeps
  3. Rickson Gracie likes it, and there is a good chance he will be teaching it in his seminar soon.

So what are some of the challenges I face for the Scissor Sweep?

  1. Partner puts all his weight down very low, to stop me from getting his weight onto my shin
  2. Opponent pushes down the knee the is across the belly pinning it
  3. Opponent doesn’t open his leg to the side that benefits me transitioning from closed guard to Scissor Sweep.

Still with these challenges I’ve also had some good wins with it.  Mainly the following little tips

  1. Grip, get it first before anything.
  2. Timing – Anticipate and feel their reaction
  3. Space,  don’t get cramped and have no room to move.
  4. Push Pull action to load up their weight onto your shin.
  5. Feel where their weight and posture is, understand it
  6. Drive with your grip hand and commit to coming up onto your knees into mount.
  7. All sweeps have a window of opportunity,  transition once that window is gone.

08 September 2010

Drilling Resistance

Immovable_Object,_Irresistible_ForceI’ve been thinking recently about how much drilling I do.  I worked on a simple sequence  last Saturday that involved an action—>reaction—>action—>reaction round trip sequence.  While in cooperative drills I noticed one of my partners would do the moves, however when we moved to in the hole resistance drilling to train the timing etc he would not perform the moves required so I could get my timing.

I noticed that this actually stifled my ability to train working out the timings for reactions etc.  I’m of the camp that believes in repetition to increase muscle memory, and I’m starting to think that’s what I need to do to improve my reaction timing.

I sometimes feel a step behind in a live roll. I  know what to do, but I’m just not anticipating peoples reaction.  So I end up resisting their reaction instead of using it against them.  I want to make the other person feel like they are one step behind.

So I’m going to see how my strategy of focusing on resistance drilling develops, so for each of the ways we can resist I can feel comfortable in the transition.  From now on I’ll be asking my partners to use resistance, but limiting it to 4-5 options.  So that way I can practise my counters and timing as well.  Over time I hope to bring in more options to the drills.

Hope that makes sense!