I am a big fan of Rigan Machado. I’ve decided to gather a collection of his DVDs that I can find. It seems there aren’t that many or that they aren’t sold any more. I just got his "Master Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Chokes and Leglocks" DVDs. I was really excited and sat down to watch them. I was hoping to see some of the leglocks in greater detail from his book Encyclopedia of Leg Locks (Encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). I was disappointed in more then one way. They didn’t show the leglocks I wanted to see and second the video was armature. I think Rigan did a excellent job of explaining and demonstrating but it just wasn’t up to what I was used to with Saulo Ribeiro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Revolution Series One. Six Volume DVD Instructional Series for Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts. The Chokes DVD was ok too but once again it didn’t have the professional touch to it. I’ll keep them because as I’ve learned the more I grow in Jiu-Jitsu the more I see in a technique. Maybe this is so advanced I don’t really see the true worth of it. Rigan did a good deal in heal hooks with I don’t have any experience in. I don’t know. For now I can’t recommend them.
BJJ practice went well tonight. We broke up into whites and blues. The whites went over the blue belt test and the blues went over the purple belt test. We are a Pedro Sauer’s affiliated school. I was surprised that I knew the six techniques we went over as well as I did. We went over:
- Double Ankle Grab Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 74)
- Both Hands on Ankle Sweep to Armlock (BJJ T&T pg. 78)
- Push Sweep From Scissors (BJJ T&T pg. 80)
- Handstand Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 144)
- Arm Inside Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 160)
- Arm Inside Sweep to Arm Bar (BJJ T&T pg. 162)
These are all in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series) by Renzo and Royler Gracie. I have documented the page numbers in the book next to each technique. I highly recommend the book. It has most of the basic techniques you will need to get a blue or purple belt.
After that we did some training from the guard. The object was for the guy on the bottom to get a sweep and the guy on top to get the pass. I tried out a number of sweeps and managed to kept from getting passed. It felt great to get may favorite Spider Guard Sweep.
We then did our usual rolling session to close out the class. I made some mistakes. First of all I let a guillotine get away from me only to have it reversed onto me. Inside my head my mind was screaming for me to throw my arm over his should for the escape but my body just wouldn’t respond. I think I was to preoccupied with the coke. The next roll was with one of your blues who should be going purple soon. I held my own for a good while and escaped one arm bar before succumbing to a second. I had him in a leg bind at one point and was thinking of a Machado leg bar I had been reading about but wasn’t able to pull it off. All in all it was a good night. I won some and I lost some.
When I roll against guys who have more skill then me it seems like I have the advantage at the start. I even seem to be winning for a while. But then the tables turn and everything goes down hill. Soon after the down turn I’m tapping. At class last night I got to be on the other side of the equation. I was rolling with one of our white belts, who might be up for his blue belt soon. It didn’t start out so hot for me and I was mounted. I remained calm and kept working my escapes and things changed. He managed to keep the upper hand for what seemed like a long time. I kept working my escapes and transitions. In time I gained side control and then it went all down hill for him. I noticed he was exhausted. I realized I had expended less energy and had waited him out. As he tired he retired, you might say. With more energy and the upper hand I moved from cross body or side control to mount. I latched on to his legs with "grape vines" and based out to ride out what I thought would be a strong attempt at escape. It didn’t come. I quickly moved up and took position under his arm pits and began my attack. It didn’t take long before I got a choke in and he tapped. I felt like a fortress that had ridden out the siege. I got a good insight into how my technique has evolved. If my fortress or technique had been weak his relentless assault would have broken through. I didn’t go for the submission right off. I waited for the opening and then took it, while all the while saving up for it. I wish I had it all on video. I don’t think I’ve gleamed half of what I can from it. I’ll be pondering it for a good while.
So you are getting better at your sweeps and escapes and you are finding yourself gaining the mount position more and more often. But you can’t seem to stay on. Your opponent bumps you right off. Here are some secrets to keeping that position long enough to make the submission.
- Get up under the arm pits. Don’t sit up back on the guys hips. You are sitting on his most powerful lever. Move up by lifting his elbows and sliding your legs under.
- Lower your point of gravity. Don’t sit straight up like you are a cowboy in the saddle. You want your weight to help hold the person in place. Use your free arms for base.
- Lock your legs. Some people call this “grapevines”. It involves getting hooks around your opponents legs. Usually this also has you with your arms out forming the base. If you can’t hook the legs, another option is crossing your legs under the buttock. This gives you more stability.
- Let the storm pass. When you first get someone in mount they are going to upa and try to escape. No one wants to be in mount. It makes them panic. They will throw everything they have at you to get out. But in time they will tire and the storm will pass. If you ride it out before attempting a submission you will have had some time to rest. Now that they are wore down it is time to look for a submission.
- Keep your dominance while looking for the submission. You opponent my be tired now, frustrated, or even ready to give up but don’t sacrifice your base for the submission. You can still keep yourself forward under the arm pits and your legs locked. You could even switch to a forward side mount that gives you more room to look for that coke or arm bar. Just don’t fool yourself thinking that you can easily cherry pick a submission now. Maintain your base while looking for the submission.
I’ve taken some flak about a few of my posts where I call BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) a “Gentle Art”. It seems to insult some people to think of BJJ as “Gentle” in any way shape or form. Don’t get me wrong, BJJ is deadly and it is all in how you use it. Arm bars can be used to tear a arm from the join or to cause significant pain and threat for a submission. You see BJJ used in UFC fights all the time. It is part of a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters standard skill set and for good reason.
A punch or kick is only a split second in time and the damage is done. With BJJ and grappling its different. You have time once the technique is in place. Do I choke them to death or just out? Do I dislocate their elbow or do I just bend it enough to hear them yell “UNCLE”. I say BJJ has a gentle side only because you can decide to be gentle. Its like Spock’s famous Vulcan Nerve Pinch. What is to stop Spock from killing you or letting you come out of it once you have been pinched? In my post “How To Use The Rear Naked Choke” I think my point is made in graphic detail. Watch the video and you tell me if the security guard wasn’t using BJJ to be gentle. Then check out this video with Grayson Greener. Grayson doesn’t immediately destroy the guys shoulder. He gives him time to tap out before he does the damage. BJJ is about choice that is my argument related to being gentle.
We practice choking someone out all the time in BJJ but no one ever tells you what happens when you get in a real world situation and what it will be like. Here is what I have gathered from sources that have choked some one out in real street fights. This is step by step what happens from what I’ve gathered.
- The person being choked starts to be sluggish.
- The person goes limp.
- The choke is released but there is no response from the person.
- The person starts to come around in a minute and may go ridged.
- The person becomes conscious after a couple of minutes.
- The person slowly regains muscle control.
- The person experiences some temporary memory loss and is confused.
- The person is back to normal.
Because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the “Gentle Art” the out come should be that both parties are unhurt when it the conflict is over. This seems to be the case in all fights I have heard about where choking was involved. As for Arm-Bars that is a whole different topic.
If you have some insight or stories to share that add to this please do comment. I’d like to know more finite details if you have any to share.