Friday, October 10, 2008

BJJ No-Gi Class - 10.9.2008

Another night of *ding* light bulb moments. I'm very happy with the way my mind has been working lately while training. I'm starting to become more aware of what techniques to use when, and starting to be able to read my opponents. It's very exciting. It makes me smile everytime I think about it :-) Especially since the light bulb moments continued onto a no-gi night. I'm finally starting to get the hang of the underhooks and overhooks, and starting to smartly use my weight while in side control and what not. All this is happening without thought too, so I don't have the delays of "ok, so here we are...I have these options...nope, that won't work...ok, how about this" - then by that time I'm too late. Anyways, more about rolling after this...

Warm-ups were a bit different than usual. Greg led them while Mel took a phone call. We did the usual jogging, side skips, stretches, etc, then moved onto ones I haven't done before. One I can't remember the name, and will probably have a hard time explaining, but here goes nothing... So you lay down, back on the mat, next to a partner who's also laying the same way, but your feet are by their head while your head is by their head...that make sense? Then bend your knees to create a triangle between the back of your legs and the mat. If your partner is laying to your left, then reach your left hand under their legs and lock grip with their right hand, while your partner does the same. Then you'll shoot your legs straight up into the air going up onto your shoulder blades and pivot to the left before bringing your hips back down to the mat. Repeat this process for about 30 seconds or so. It really gets your core burning. Then we did the widely known armbar drill, so you're just pivoting back and forth putting in armbars on each of your opponents arm. This definitely gave my abs a workout. The we moved on to the armbar-to-triangle-to-omoplata from guard drill. I'm not even going to try to explain this, just watch the video below...

I've seen that drill quite a few times online before, but have never done it myself. It's a great drill for warming up, but also practicing the application of the submissions. Mel noticed a few things on the armbar that people could work on, so he stopped us and went over the armbar from guard. I was one of the ones having trouble being that I've never learned an armbar from guard with no gi on...I didn't have any sleeves to hold on to haha Here's what I remember...

Armbar from guard - We're going to attack the right arm... First thing you want to break your opponent's posture. Securing an armbar while their postured up is going to prove very difficult. You can do this by grabbing around their neck or the back of their head and pulling them down. You'll then grab their right wrist with your left hand, then shoot your right arm under their left wrapping your right hand over their right elbow, then suck the right arm into the middle of your chest. With the left foot on their hip, push off while putting your lower right leg across their upper back. This will help keep them from posturing up, and help keep their right arm straight and laying up the middle of your chest. Then swing the left leg over their head, squeeze the heels as if you're trying to bring them to your butt, squeeze your knees together, and lift your hips making sure their thumb is on top. One thing to keep in mind for us beginners is to not cross our legs once we get the armbar secured. Crossing our legs, our knees will have the tendency of opening up giving our opponent an escape option.

Then we moved on to passing the guard. A few things to remember:
  • Never put your hands down on the mat beside your opponent. You can't really do anything with your hands there anyways, and you also open yourself up to kimuras and various other arm and shoulder locks.
  • This sort of plays off of the last one, but don't keep your elbows flared outward. It plays off the last one seeing as how if you have your hands on the mat, your elbows are exposed. This is how they're able to pull off the kimura. But the same goes if you have your hands on the chest or stomach, you don't want your elbows flared. This will take away some of their options when it comes to the various arm and shoulder locks.
  • Your posturing up makes it more difficult for your opponent to submit or sweep you. Looking at it from your opponents point of view, from the bottom one of the first things you want to do is break your opponents posture.
Passing the guard - You want to get your hands on your opponents chest or stomach with your elbows in; doing this your elbows should be either on or inside of your opponents thighs. If you're unable to get this, one way to create space is to put your hands into your opponents armpits and push back. Be sure not to put your hands on their biceps as your opponent can easily swim his arms under and up in between your arms to slide your hold off of their biceps. One way of securing that hold in their armpits is to hold your hand out 4 fingers together and thumb out. Turn your hand so your thumb is pointing toward the sky, and put the 4 fingers under their arm while the thumb is over their arm, crossing right over the armpit. Once you're able to create enough space, get your hands on their lower chest and shift your elbows in. Then shift your lower body a little to the left and get the right knee under their butt. Then the right hand will move down right below their rib cage, giving you something to push off on. Then move the left hand to the same position and push off again. Once you get your elbows into the inside of their thighs, you can start pushing down on your left elbow to break their closed guard. Make sure you keep that pressure on your hands. This will help keep their hips pinned to the mat. Once you get the closed guard broken, continue pushing on the left thigh until it lays on the mat, then move the left knee over the thigh. At the same time you want to "windshield wiper" the lower portion of your right leg underneath you. This will keep your opponent from hooking your right leg with their left leg. Reach out with your left arm and either hook it over your opponents head or over their shoulder. Then pulling with your left arm, slide into side control.

One thing to take note of for that guard pass, when you push off their armpits to create space, some people's torsos are just too long for this to work. In that case, you just have to work to get your hands on them and your elbows in to push off.

Rolling was a whole lot of fun. The technique learning portion took awhile, so I only got one session in, but I was glad to have been able to roll with my instructor, Mel. One huge thing that I'm sure most beginners struggle with is passing the guard. The break down of passing the guard tonight helped me a lot. I definitely needed this. I was so much more confident just after the 15mins of working on it then, and it showed while rolling with Mel. I executed it successfully several times (given that he was taking it "easy" on me, I executed each step successfully). One huge thing that sticks out in my head that everytime I think about makes me smile, is that I've finally successfully executed a guard pass underneath the leg! Everytime I've tried to do this before, I find myself getting stuck in a triangle. Mel was starting to give me a little more challenge while passing over his leg, so I decided to attempt going below. As soon as his leg came up, I knew what was coming. And without a thought, I shot my left arm across his body and over his left should, stacked, and passed! I'm sure Mel saw the huge smile on my face as I landed in side control haha Overall I felt I did very well from the top. Not only am I more confident in my guard pass, but I was able to secure side control better than usual. Time on the mat is definitely helping with that.

Umm, well, that's all I can think of right now. Until next time... :-)

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