Top 5 Secrets to Holding the Mount Position

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

No-gi vs. Gi – Part 2

In my post “Why Am I Writing About Gi vs. No-gi”  I talked about the differences between the two in my opinion and how I was going to but my thoughts to the test.  I did compete in a No-gi tournament.  I did lose and it was not for the reason I would have expected.  I couldn’t get the guy to let go of my wrists and I showed forth some really poor escape technique.  I was also very unprepared for the intensity with which I was meet.  I was too relaxed about it.  The match went like this: After some grappling back and forth he got both his hands around my neck and we just sunk into guard position.  I quickly passed his guard and got him in cross body.  This is when I couldn’t get him to let go of my wrists.  I transitioned in a upper cross body and worked his legs.  I made a nice smooth transition to mount and began looking for a arm bar.  I was in complete control at this time.  I was up 7 zip, then things went bad.  He managed to get a hold of my wrist on one side and with a nice upa rolled me over.  I escaped being mounted by pushing him right over me.  Before I could completely turn around he hit me broad side and fell into mount on me.  It was tied up at that point.  I could have still won but I made a sad attempt at escape from mount and then I make the critical mistake of turning on my side giving him a easy arm bar.  I was especially upset with myself after seeing the video when I realized I didn’t try a hitch-hiker escape.  I didn’t try any escape.  It was a sloppy arm bar too.  I was stunned by the speed of everything and the intensity.  Do I feel No-gi is a subset of Gi still?  Yes.  Do I feel you should train Gi first and then No-gi still? Yes.  Will I do another No-gi tournament?  Yes!  But not before I have a few classes to get the feel for the speed and bump up my intensity.  All BJJ rocks!  I learned a lot from that 3.5 minutes on the mat.  Just like when Helio Gracie came away from losing to Kimura.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

The Secret to High Percentage Submission BJJ and MMA Techniques

Everyone loves to see the Flying Triangle or the Flying Arm Bar.  They are spectacular.  But how often are they used and what percent of submission come from them?  Lets face it, not many.  The guy who wins the most matches in BJJ or MMA has good solid skills in the basics.  The secret to high percentage submissions is simplicity.  The more steps there are to a submission the longer it takes to set up and the more likely it will fail.  If a submission takes 4 steps to work, it only needs one to go wrong and fail.  A example of a high percentage sweep that comes to mind is the Hip Bump Sweep described in Jiu Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro.  It is simple to master and very efficient in execution.  If I were to give it a percentage I’d say 85% of the time I get it.  In the submission category the first one that I think of is what I call The Giant Johnson.  It is done from cross body.  You are on top and you arms are over you opponent and below his arms.  You simple reach under his arm and around his head and lock your hands together.  You now have a blood choke on him with his own arm and yours on the other side.  Simple and quick!  That is where the high percentage techniques come from.

You know the old saying “Keep is simple stupid”.  I can’t think of a better application for it then in Jiu Jitsu and MMA.

The Secret to Winning Jiu Jitsu

What is the secret to winning Jiu Jitsu? I am amazed at what I discover every time I go to train with a open mind.  Let me share with you one of the latest things I’ve learned.  As a white belt I was a white belt.  I couldn’t over come someone higher then me unless I got lucky or so I thought.  When I got my blue belt all the sudden it was as if I came alive.  My instructor commented on how impressed he was with how I was doing after my promotion.  I was very happy and excited.  Then something happened.  I blogged about it in Jiu Jitsu Mind Block – In The Slump and Jiu Jitsu Learning Curve – What To Expect.  I hit a wall.  I just couldn’t do anything.  I was reduced to holding guard for dear life.  I got a lot of good advice and it helped me pull out of it.  In the process of pulling out I learned a secret to winning at Jiu Jitsu.  Its all in your head.  I was my own worst enemy.  I was limiting myself by my belief in myself.  I was to worried about my ego.  I didn’t want to lose so I couldn’t take a chance to win.  Once I took all the good advice I was given things started to change.  I relaxed and enjoyed myself, win or lose.  The next thing I knew I was back on my game.  As I rolled techniques flowed and I found myself in mount more often then being mounted.  It all came together last night at class.  I went up against another blue belt I had never meet before.  Instead of trying to size him up or let thoughts enter my mind of what my chances would be of winning I just rolled.  I dominated.  I was not able to submit him but he spent 80% of his time with me mounted on him.  He finally tapped as I was setting up a arm bar that felt like it would have brought his tap anyway.

Jiu Jitsu is about battling on two fronts, the physical and mental.  Using them together in proper form and balance is the secret to BJJ.

Top Five Things To Look For In a Martial Arts Instructor

  1. Friendly.  You want someone that wants to teach not be idolized.  Remember you are paying them for a service not becoming their peon.
  2. Knowledgeable.  Check the instructors credentials.  Just because they say they are a black belt doesn’t mean they are.  Call the school that they claim awarded them their belt.
  3. Dedicated.  Does the instructor teach on a regular basis or are you paying for a lay person to teach you.  If that is the case maybe the instructors priorities are in line with yours.
  4. Organized.  Your instruction shouldn’t be haphazard or random in his instruction.  Your instructor should have a development plan that takes you from white up to his belt level.
  5. Mentoring.  You want a instructor that takes person interest in you and your development.  You have individual needs to improve and succeed.  Your instructor should be sensitive to this and help you grow.

It is very important that if you are starting out you start out on the right foot.  There plenty of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and Martial Art schools out there that will take your money.  The trick is finding the cream of the crop.  You want the most bang for your buck.  Martial Arts should be fun and rewarding.  Don’t settle for less.

Don’t Make These Six Common Mistakes When You Begin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

  1. Don’t pick the first school you see.  Not all Jiu Jitsu schools are created equal, shop around. Visit the schools that look interesting.  Most schools offer a free class or two.  Take them up on it before you sign up.
  2. Don’t start with a gi or kimono that doesn’t fit. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gis or kimonos are cut for Jiu Jitsu not Karate or Judo.  You first kimono can be inexpensive but should fit properly.
  3. Don’t start without purchasing a mouth guard.  Chances are you are going to get banged up at first.  You don’t need a chipped tooth or dentist bill to remind you that a $5 mouth guard would have saved you a $1000.
  4. Don’t start without purchasing some knee sleeves.  They are cheap and save on bruises around the knees which come with being inexperienced and having your guard passed frequently.  Know one likes knee pain.
  5. Don’t start without purchasing a rash guard.  It acts like a work glove and helps keep bruising to a minimum plus protects you from skin to skin contact.  Some unsavory opponents could have ring worm or some other fungus.  You only want them to share their technique with you.
  6. Don’t think you are going to be Helio Gracie in the first month.  You will get tapped all the time at first.  Tell yourself you are going to try for a year before you decide if you are going to stop.

Jiu Jitsu is life and life is Jiu Jitsu.  By avoiding these six common mistakes you will enjoy both more as you begin the thrilling and rewarding path to BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) enlightenment.

Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Freak Injuries

As in any sport or rigorous activity injuries happen.  With BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) it seems that they are the strangest, freakish, or weird.  For example, while rolling I attempted to do a escape and some how caught my upper lip with my thumb.  I scrapped my gum with my finger nail and had to struggle to untangle my hand from my mouth.  My instructor told me of a time where he got his eye lid turned inside out and got a rug burn on it while grappling.  Until it healed it hurt every time he blinked.  You don’t know how often you blink until have a rug burn on you inner eye lid.  The latest one I heard was from a friend.  While rolling he arched or upa’d.  Some how his pinky toe slipped into a mat seam and got caught.  As he finished the move it broke his toe!  Maybe it is just the nature of martial art made famous by the Gracie’s.  I don’t know.  In all the sports I’ve ever done I’ve never heard so many funny injuries.  Regardless of the injuries I am addicted to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  Viva la Jiu-Jitsu!

Please share with me your stories!

 

Jiu-Jitsu Mind Block – In the Slump

Have you had a training session where you got the equivalent of writers block?  For a period of time you are doing so well.  While rolling you have a easy time envisioning what move you should do next, how to stay ahead of your opponent, or what to do in a tight spot.  You function smoothly.  Then one day you come to train and you are like a blank sheet of paper.  You just can’t think of what to do.  You end up holding closed guard for dear life.  Its as if everything has slipped away from you.  Even your favorite moves you screw up.  Its very frustrating.  Its kind of like a slump.  I had one of those last night.  It really upset me.  I got a more aggressive guy to roll with and I just couldn’t formulate what to do.  The only think I can think to do is study hard this week and hope it breaks me out of it.

What do you do to break out of a slump or block?  I need a escape to break this choke on my mind, to put it into Jiu-Jitsu terms.

Jiu-Jitsu and Aspirin Don’t Mix

I’m covered in bruises from Jiu-Jitsu.  They go from my ankles to my shoulders.  I have bruises on my bruises.  At first I thought it was just my poor BJJ technique.  But over time I notices bruises on my wrists.  How could that be poor technique?  I found out aspirin was the culprit.  I am talking aspirin for my niacin therapy.  It helps stop the flushing.  I was taking 325mg (one regular pill) each night.  Aspirin helps stop clotting.  That is why I was getting such huge and nasty bruises.  I’ve stopped taking it this week.  Tonight is the first night without it.  It should be interesting if I bruise.  A friend has told me it might be a blood disorder and I should get tested if I keep bruising after dropping the aspirin.  He had a similar case in his school or dojo.

Blue to Purple Belt – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

So you got your blue belt, Congratulations!  If you are feeling like me you are excited.  The thrill of achievement has you thinking, “what do I need to do now to get my purple belt”.  The simple answer is time and practice.  This isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear but what you expected, isn’t it?  After asking my instructor and other basic research the average blue belt takes 3 years to get a purple belt.  But you are pumped up right now.  You say to yourself, as I do, “but I’m not average”.  The fact that you are out looking for what the requirements are and trying to start working towards your purple belt helps reinforce that.  After all the average time for a white belt to blue belt is 1.5 years and you did it in less, didn’t you?  So you will achieve your purple belt sooner then 3 years.  This is how I plan to do it.  I hope my ideas inspire and help you to pass your purple belt test early.

  1. Keep a Jiu-Jitsu Journal.
  2. Learn the purple belt techniques. (Pedro Sauer Purple Belt Test)
  3. Create a daily drill routine.
  4. Research the greats. (My favorites Roger Gracie, Saulo Ribeiro, and Andre Galvao)
  5. Attend Another Dojo, School, or Academy
  6. Mentor a white belt.
  7. Set Goals.

By clicking on any one of these you will go to the article that gives specifics on what I’ve planned for myself.

Please feel free to add your comments or ask me questions.