I don’t do well at describing. I tend to stick with visual representations. Here are two techniques we went over in class Tuesday. I was bummed up and couldn’t participate so I took video.
The Hip Switch – Side Control to Mount reminds me a lot of the usefulness of Over-Under technique that was shown in two of my last posts “Over-Under Hip Throw” and “North South Arm Bar”. I’m noticing that having a Over-Under setup leads to many different techniques. As I’m typing this I just realized that the Butterfly Sweep we learned at the open house uses it too. I especially like the Hip Switch technique because once you have it you have all the time in the world to work for the mount. As Mark demonstrates you can’t upa out of it.
Every person that learns BJJ I think is like a explorer in a undiscovered land. Rather poetic isn’t it. Why I say this is as of late I’ve been seeing progress in my Jiu Jitsu. I am finding myself in situations where I have been trained what to do but I’ve never been in them often enough or at all in a match. For example the other day I got a white belt in a arm bar from mount. I just don’t get arm bars that often. I guess I haven’t been looking for them or I fight opponents higher then me that don’t leave themselves open. What ever the case this white belt grabbed a hold of his arm forming a rectangle. I tried to break his grip but he was far too strong. I decided it was silly to try using muscle anyway. BJJ is about technique. So I tried a prying / cutting technique I had been taught long ago. I didn’t get the technique correct and it had no effect. The white belt now tried to sit up with his arms still locked. I was now in real undiscovered country. I didn’t know what to do to keep him down. I instinctively pushed with my legs and knocked him back over. I didn’t realize that the leg on the head was my control and thought he had fallen over because he was off balance. When he tried again he managed to get up and stack me. I was upset with myself for letting him out of a sure submission. This isn’t the only situation where I’ve found my self in a dominate position or so near a submission and blown it. I’ve decided its a good thing. I went home and started practicing what I would do in that situation again on my Submission Master Grappling Dummy. If I didn’t find my self on the verge of or in undiscovered frontier most of the time then I wouldn’t feel I’m learning.
Its assembled and I’ve started drilling with it. The first thing I noticed was how hard the floor is. I don’t have a mat. I have been thinking about if I should even get one. I like some real world or practical application of BJJ. If I got in a street fight I will use my Jiu Jitsu training but I doubt there will be a mat. The next thing I noticed is that when I tried a Kimura it doesn’t feel right. The structure of the Submission Master’s arm is a arch with no true joints. At first I didn’t like this but then I realized it felt more like a arm that is trying to do a escape. It gave me a different perspective on my Kimura technique and how to apply it. The next thing I tried was the Triangle Choke. This hurt at first because the dummy is so hard. I didn’t realize how soft real humans are. I worked my Triangle and figured out something new I hadn’t noticed before. I posted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submission Techniques – The Triangle and gave tips and tricks on improving your Triangle. I now can add to that getting the knee of the leg around the neck above the neck. I have also found that just moving it around, it is 70 lbs, breaks me into a sweat. It doesn’t do infinity drills so you have to reset some drills to do it over. But for the most part you can do Arm Bars, Triangles, Kimuras, and other submissions over and over on each side. For Cross Body and Mount work you sit or lay very high. You don’t have a soft gut to lay into. I also can’t hook the legs (grapevines) in mount. What it comes down to is its no full substitute for a person but it does very well for what it is intended. So far I really like it and feel it is money well spent. It is true the $560 price tag is high but it sure beats the home made version I’ve seen on YouTube.com. I think the only true competitor in its class is the Bubba. I didn’t choose the Bubba because it didn’t sit up in guard, it looks light weight, and flimsy. I’m going to start trying some escapes and sweeps on it tomorrow and see how they go.
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.
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.