Friday, June 18, 2010
It begins with an attack from above and a retaliation from below. Like any battle or war. You want to create a mismatch by fighting in different planes. In war people fighting from high ground. In battle people fighting on horses and people wielding spears and shields from bottom. It is an eternal conflict and BJJ is a living embodiment of it.
The players, both trying to control position. One is the top player, one is the bottom player, and the struggle begins. What makes the difference? The ability of the top player to pass or not pass. That is what 2 equally skilled players will come down to. Who controls and protects their territory. The object of both players are different. The top player is the invader, he wants to take over your land. The bottom player wants to stop and protect whats yours, and you have home court advantage. You are already in the area that he wants. Your little piece of mat that you are laying on.
So now what? If both players are good it should be the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. Either can prevail.
Goal of the top player: To either go through the middle or go around in some way (either from the outside, underneath, or above). To do this they need to control the middle of your hips or the outside of your hips.
Goal of the bottom player: To stop the top player from passing by blocking all his entrances, or by clinging to them, or pushing them away and averting them.
It will become a game of inches...literally. Whenever they have an inch of cloth they will use it to pull and tug and spin. The top player wants to control the pants of the bottom player until they get a hold of the torso, initially controlling and not allowing the bottom player to create any shields or get his foot in, or controlling the outside and keeping the bottom players arms and legs preoccupied with balance.
The bottom player wants to control the sleeves, collar, distance, and monitor the hips. They can sense where the top player will go by reading his hips with their feet. Just like in boxing you never look at their head but their body, same with this, you don't look at their head, you feel their hips. You also use your legs to create frames and shields and control tension and distance. You control sleeves because they need their arms to pin you in some way, it also works as a handle for the bottom player to move their hips and swivel.
The greatest difference maker has been not how good you are on top, it's how good you are on bottom. It is somewhat easier to pass than it is to defend the pass. If your guard can never be passed, it's only a matter of time before you turn the tables and start to pass on them.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
If you consider your training like a job (which a lot of MMA fighters even say), and just come in, clock in, do your time and get your hours in and leave and don't think about it again once you are gone, then that is the reason your progress has stalled. This doesn't mean you don't love martial arts, or that you even show up all the time. It's just that you think if you're there, automatically you are getting better or you will get better. Like if you show up for a job you will get paid regardless. It's not the same. I don't know how many people I see who say they love BJJ and want to get better, yet they just do the class, stay just long enough and once they are gone, they are gone. They will only put their time in on the schedule they have created or when its convenient. To be a good martial artist, you have to be a martial artist 24/7 in all the things you do.
Martial arts without dedication just becomes like a boot camp or a good work out.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
At the highest levels, the thing that makes the difference are the grips. Whoever wins the grip battles wins the war. It's like whoever has more bullets wins.
With the gi, you should always have 2 handfuls of gi. Whether it's double sleeve, sleeve collar, sleeve ankle, or ankle collar. If nothing else a handful of jacket material or knee material. Doesn't matter, with the gi there is no excuse for not having 2 grips. Furthermore with gi, you shouldn't ever have a situation where you pull guard with no grips, or have one fighter sitting on the ground and one fighter standing, neither one with grips. That is trying to play a no gi game with the gi. Never accept having no grips. Start with one grip and work your way up. Or start with pulling the guy towards you or pressuring into him and getting your grips. You can't use a no gi game with gi and you can't use a gi game with no gi, they are 2 separate sports. Top and bottom players both need grips. They are equally at a disadvantage with no grips. You should never have a situation where people are disengaged or there is no contact, that is a no gi game.
One situation, you are on your back, he broke all your grips. He is driving a knee through. You grab his ankle. He bends down to break your ankle grip. You grab his collar. He breaks your ankle grip, you counter grip his sleeve. Now you got sleeve and collar control. Now your feet can move to his hips. That is one scenario of one player out gripping another.
Now in no gi its different. You will have situations with neither guy having a grip. In that case the top guy is in a better position. This is a huge reason why no gi is a different sport. Not only that but grips. You have fight a lot of times with just one grip and your other hand posting. Or constantly try to recover because you lost a grip due to sweat. You have to grab wrists, ankles, neck, head, chin, underhooks, overhooks, and thread your leg through their legs. The most effective no gi grips are ankle, chin, underhooks. But the other ones are also effective based on what you are attempting. What is also different is the top guy can use more wrestling, you may have better BJJ but they can counter with their wrestling. They can even pass like its a shot. Wrestlers will try to pass, back out and disengage to repass like its a reshot. You have to learn to wrestle off your butt. Come up for singles, go for darces. There will be a lot of disengaging as well. So you end up neutral a lot. If you notice you do this with the gi as weill, you are playing the wrong sport. Like trying to play badmitton in a tennis game, and better guys will smash you.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Double underhook pass. This was a huge difference I finally noticed at the black belt level. Unlike other belts where passes are more varied, athletic, and speed oriented. At the black belt level almost every athlete threatens the pass with a double underhook pass. Why? It is the most conservative pass where you can legitimately pass but offer the least amount of ways to be finished or swept. There are specific moves designed to fight this pass but the statistic don't exist to warrant them being a legitimate threat. So whats the counter?
Double sleeve grip. Of course! Control both sleeves or control both sleeves whenever they stand up.
Things to think about.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Another day, saw some of the open weight matches for purple and black belt as well as the qualifying black belt matches. Roger is usually one of my favorites to watch but now that I am under Paragon I have a more vested interest in Bill Cooper.
Things I learned today was, if you train with guys you are better than, you will get a fall impression about your moves. You will try moves that you think will work, but the greatest gauge to see the effectiveness of a move is to try it on someone better than you. Sometimes you see guys lose not because they got outplayed but because they made poor technique choices.
Another big thing that I see with the winners are the grips. Their gripping system. There is never a moment they do not have grips. And they always have 2 grips, not just one. The reason being, without grips there is no tension. Without tension you cannot pull off any move, sweep, submission or otherwise. So what are the feet doing? Pushing or pulling or lifting. Helping your hand grips get more tension. You need 2 grips to control 2 sides of your opponent, only controlling one side and the grips become very easy to counter. Collar and sleeve, 2 sleeves, collar and pant, collar and knee, double knee grip, power grip and knee grip. Those were the most common grips that I saw. The feet position were either on biceps, or hips or butterfly. Or shin across your opponent to block and push.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Purple Belt division was today. This division is typically one of the best to watch becomes its the time where guys are creating their own game, and some moves they have mastered at a black belt level. But then other things they aren't as strong in. So it allows for great game play and sometimes mismatches. When you get lucky, it allows both players to play what they are good at because one players weakness is the other players strengths.
I saw a new region that also did well today. The Nordic region. From Norway, Sweden, Iceland, to Finland. These guys brought some monsters who won their divisions in the heavier categories. I think Middle-Heavy and Heavy.
I saw a lot of finishes with triangle. I think because at this level, with other submissions its harder to have the submission locked on while maintaining control. With the triangle it is a submission that not only chokes, but breaks posture, and locks them in place. Sleeve and collar grips were key, using omaplata to sweep or set up triangles. The key for the top man is break the grip off your collar and get a grip on their knees. Bottom man must break the grips off the knees and set up grips on the collar.
Majority of the winners pulled guard. Whereas in black belt, a lot of the top players do well. The key at purple belt was using the shins to jam, controlling the ankle, using collar grip to direct and redirect the opponent's head and direction. The passes I saw used were toreando variations or toreando off of a knee thru pass.
Some standouts were Jordan Schultz and Beneil Dariush who attacked and nearly finished all their opponents. I wish I knew some of the European guys but they were awesome too. Literally the guys I watched use 3-4 moves, but they knew those moves inside and out. Goes to show it's not about being a man of a million moves but perfecting a few moves.
Instead of adding more moves to your game, try removing some moves and simplifying it. Go lean.
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