Saturday, September 20, 2008

Marcelo Garcia Seminar - Day 1 - No-Gi

So about a month ago I came across a post on a BJJ blog I read that said Marcelo Garcia was heading this way. I posted about it a little over here.

Anyways, day 1 was awesome! It's crazy to have actually met Marcelo Garcia, a guy I've idolized in all the online videos I've seen since starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The guy is just so good! And he's an awesome person. Soft spoken, a great sport, loves what he does and loves sharing his knowledge with others. All of this showed all throughout the seminar, too. Day 1 was a no-gi day, tomorrow's going to be a gi day. But Marcelo emphasized at the beginning of the seminar that what he was going to show us wasn't go to be "this is for gi, this is for no-gi." What he would show us can be used for either. Maybe with a few minor changes, but could translate between both.

It started off with Robert Owens, the head instructor at BJJ Olympia, introducing Marcelo and talking about him a bit. Then Marcelo thanked everyone for coming out and we got started! Marcelo said that Saturday he'd concentrate on working from the top, while on Sunday he'd concentrate on working from the bottom. So he started out by explaining that from working from the top, you want your opponents back on the ground. You don't have as much control over an opponent when they're on their edge or even sitting up. And so this is where we started out: you're standing and your opponent is scooting around on their butt. He showed us one technique he uses to get the opponent on their back, then stemmed from there.

Alright... So you're standing and you're opponent is scooting around on their butt. You're going to grab their right ankle with your left hand, and your right hand is going to push on their right shoulder. Once they have their back to the ground, you'll more than likely have your right leg between their legs and your left leg outside of their left leg. Then you'll re-position your right hand to their sternum and put most of your weight on that right hand. This'll 1) help hold the opponent down, 2) make it very uncomfortable for your opponent and make it a little harder to breath, and 3) with most of your weight on your hand, this'll help keep you light on your feet so that you can manuvuer left/right around your opponents guard. If your opponent was able to get their right leg outside of your left? Then simply step over their right leg with your left. Once here, you'll move your right hand from their ankle up to the knee. As you pull on the knee to straighten their right leg, swing your right leg back and around toward you, then put the right knee on their belly. If they try to move away, shrimp out, you'll follow them until you find the right time to move into belly down side control (making sure you get that underhook on the far side).

But what happens if they lock your right leg up with their legs? From there you can use that same swing around kick from before, escape to pass guard, you're creating space in the leg lock. After you create the space, drive your right knee up your opponents right side, freeing your foot and sliding into side control.

What if you're unable to drive your knee up to free your leg because you're opponent is blocking your knee with his hands. In this situation you can push your opponents right knee with your left hand, shifting his hips to his left. This'll cause you to drop to your knees and lay across your opponents outter right thigh. If you act quick enough, you can kick/straighten your right leg to escape the lock. Then swing your legs around and secure belly down side control. If you weren't able to act quick enough and kick that leg back to break the lock though, then you can just straighten the leg as much as possible, then reach up with your left foot and peel the lock off. Then move into belly down side control.

Now, let's take a couple steps back... What if when your opponent gets your right leg locked, they start turning their body to grab your left leg with their right hand? It depends really on which way they attempt to grab it. If they just and grab your ankle, then you'll lift your foot and spin the bottom portion of your leg in a counter-clockwise motion, breaking the grip. It uses the same principle as break a grip around your wrist: follow the path of least resistence, the thumb. Now what if they get in little deeper and wrap around the outside of your left leg? Pick up the foot, and pull it out of their attempted wrap. But what if they try to wrap your leg by going in between your legs and hooking toward the outside? Pick up that left leg and "baseball slide" across their chest to their left side. As you slide in, your right foot should slide out of the lock. Make sure you secure that underhook with your left arm as you slide in, too.

Now taking it back all the way to the beginning: you're on your feet, your opponent is scooting around on their butt. What if when you push their back to the floor, your right hand post didn't have enough weight on it to hold them down? Or you never got a chance to get their back to the floor and they scoot in and try to hug your right leg? This is where the guillotine choke comes in handy. Put your right wrist into their neck and cup your left hand around the back of their head. When doing this, you want to put that wrist straight up into their neck, don't slide it in. You want to make sure you get it in there below the chin. Trying to slide it in, you'll be telegraphing the move. The left hand on the back of the head is to make sure they don't back their head out. Then lean over and replace that left hand with your right shoulder. Reach down and put the back of your right hand into the palm of your left, and lift up.

But, someone who's every grappled before is not going to get close enough to just let somebody put that in. So he showed us another way, if the person is just close enough to reach to put it in. Reach out with your left hand to cup the back of the head and put the right wrist into their neck, then do a judo shoulder roll over them. Doing this, you'll both end up on your back, but you'll have the choke in. Then simply bridge up to tighten the choke.

From there we did some free rolling. Now, I'm normally a very shy person, and this was my first BJJ seminar. So I wasn't just walking up to people asking them to roll. But one guy came over and asked if I wanted to roll, so I accepted. On our way to finding an open area on the very crowded mat (seemed there was at least 50 people there), I asked him where he was from and how long he had been rolling. He said he had been rolling for about 2 years, then asked how long I had been rolling. "3 months," I said haha So we kneeled down and began to roll. You could tell he had way more experience than man, but I held my own for a bit. I got a few sweeps in, but could never get a submission. He ended up getting me in a triangle. I was hoping to roll somemore, but you could tell he was there for a "real challange" and he ended up saying thanks and walked away to find somebody else. That sort of killed it for me, so I went and watched Marcelo roll for the rest of the time. It's one thing to see him in the videos on YouTube, but real life it's a whole 'nother thing. The guy is just so relaxed and so smooth with his game.

Marcelo closed out with some words of wisdom. Talked about how he would've never gotten where he was today without the great people doing BJJ also. He travelled a lot to learn from various people who were more skilled than he was. And told us not to get frustrated or discouraged if something doesn't come to us right away. He's been training for a very long time, and he's put a lot of hours into getting where he's at today. And don't be hesitant in trying new things while rolling. That's the whole point of it - to try these new techniques on a resisting partner.

In all, the seminar ran about 3 hours. It was an amazing day and I'm TOTALLY stoked for day 2 of the seminar tomorrow. Tomorrow, as I said, will be a gi day. I have more experience with a gi, so hopefully when we free roll at the end I won't have people walking away because I wasn't enough of a challenge. Also, Mel said that there was supposed to be another guy from my school up here. Hopefully he's here today so I can practice all the techniques with him. Yesterday I had to roll with a guy who I didn't know. Which I didn't mind, but the dude wouldn't stop farting...

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