Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 21 222nd class

Another fun day at the gym. Wanted to quit early, since I have to get up early in the morning, but what the heck. In the end, it was worth staying. I got to explore once again the way Bruno manages to pass my guard. At the same time, he would undertook the leg, as he stands up, but also sprawling so I have no pressure on his hips. I have already tried inverting, but he's already passing that guard as well before I can establish it by smashing my hips to one side. I try to turtle, but he's already holding my position while already preparing his choke. While I figure that I can't really escape his control, his choking hand is set. I"m essentially playing catch-up with him, pretty much all the time. Richard can sometimes be that much far ahead, and it's kinda humbling because he really makes me pay for my mistakes, unlike Bruno who moves up to a quick choke. 

Anyways, I didn't roll with prof. Bruno today, that was just a reflection on our previous rolls. I did roll with another purple belt who's sadly been out of the gym for almost a whole year, and it shows. Reflexes do go away, sadly, but the technique doesn't. I guess with a few weeks of serious practice, skills do come back rather violently. The knowledge does stay, however, and that kinda makes the whole prospect more encouraging. We all know how important, nay, vital some details are in some techniques, such as the clamping down with your leg while triangling someone, or flattening the far shoulder for a clock choke, or squeezing the knees for an armlock, or having a deep grip for a choke, etc… It's actually pretty darn amazing how a little knowledge like this can make a whole difference between getting tapped and surviving, or tapping the guy out or just controlling him. 

Again, nothing new about today's class, even though it was f****** fun. Richard showed me a sweep I should study some more, but I kinda find it douchy. Hey, if it works, I'll use it. A DLR hook would overbook a person's leg, whereas this control undercooks it. Underhook the heel on the same side with your arm. You've got two directions. EIther push away and kick the leg, or put his weight on your second leg, and sweep him overhead with a tomoe-nage. Thank you Richard!

I've had various success with the one-two spider guard sweep (for lack of a better name), but on lower belts. It's definitely, fucking definitely fucking fucking definitely good technique I have to polish, combined with the other two basic spider guard sweeps, but let's not forget the DLR, knee push sweeps, with which I have a little less success, to be honest. They are more dangerous for me than spider guard, since i can easily recompose spider, but a failed DLR control gets me to half-guard or about to get passed. Mitch does this. He forces me to play DLR (my weak game) by pushing his hips into me to break my spider guard. I need to find a way to counter that properly. So my new problem to think about is : how do I take advantage of someone pushing their hips forward into me to break my spider guard?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15th 218th day

Got the chance to roll with Prof. Bruno once again, and so I took full advantage of it. Although I still don't fully understand how he passes my guard, and I honestly think it would be a bit pointless to ask, since the whole point of sparring is to find out solutions for yourself. My take-home advice for today is to never accept inferior positions. Say my half-guard sucks. Don't accept to settle for it in any way. This time around, Professor didn't quite allow me to play my game. He stuffed it almost completely, and that's what I need to accept. From now on, I will make an effort to not settle for crappy positions. What I do find increasingly mysterious about jiujitsu, and for this I thank professor Bruno, is how one centimetre in either direction adds or removes leverage in a position. This is very evident when forcing against him and we're pretty much equal in strength. He would move in the proper direction and INCREASE his leverage just enough to overcome my position and jockey his way into a superior position. It's a mental attack first of all.
In other news, I have started inverting quite a bit more often, from pretty much any position (half guard, whenever I defend an underhook pass from spider, etc).
I have had some trouble with people me over my head when working a spider guard pass. I intend to let it happen way more often, in an effort to see what's up. This time around, professor Bruno will accompany us as a coach in the Ottawa competition in October, so I will make an effort and show up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14th 217th day

Great strides equal many baby steps, except they leave too much to chance.
I have officially bruised an ego today, and he's not exactly the nicest person to be around in the first place. Not that I did it intentionally, but it just happened. (Much higher belt than me) Guard pass, mount, side control, half, pass, mount, knee on belly, got submitted with an armlock. Passed again, side, back control time ran out.
Take-home advice is that the simplest techniques reap the most rewards, whereas fancier stuff may work sometime, but the windows are much rarer in between. That's why it's paramount for people to play games based on baby steps, where there's room for various simple techniques, but that are chained properly, based on proper timing which generate enough leverage to overcome the person's strength.
The only constant in this martial art is consistency. The more consistent the person, the better the person. There are no ifs or buts. Consistent, smart training begets success. As Master Renzo Gracie said : The trick to this sport is : while you're the nail, hang in there, until it's your turn to be the hammer. The point was that the more you get your ass kicked, the more you learn defence. A good defence begets a good guard, which begets good attacks. It's a vicious circle.
But next time, don't take offence, shut up and train.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8th 213th class

The usual two and a half hours. Got the chance to Roll with Bruno in the advanced class, so I obviously took it.

I tried to open my mind while rolling with Bruno, and he found some of the same weak spots Mitch found in my game, except Bruno can multitask much better and catch me off-guard a lot better than Mitch can. As an example, to escape a spider guard control on one of his biceps, he would sprawl on the opposite side I had my grip on, and at the same time underhook my spider leg, all while I was wondering what the fuck was happening. He did it TWICE. The same exact move. I tried putting more pressure on the biceps, but he put his hips forward to break the control. All in all, that's what I would have done too, come to think of it. It's just that he does it so much better. I might therefore have to reflect on how I'm getting my spider guard passed a bit more.

How my spider guard gets passed.

  • Strong guys tend to use their arm strength to put my hooks on the ground in a butterfly-like position. I would then have to settle for playing that, eventually moving to half guard. My game is effectively KILLED quickly, effectively and silently. Then I would get guys like Duong ask me how come I'm known for spider guard.
  • Technical guys, like Mitch and Bruno tend to push their hips forward into my guard and undertook one side. I would let go of the grips, since I would have no pressure on their biceps.

How I control the spider guard with less experienced opponents

  • Less experienced people first of all never stand. Most of the times I get passed, it's because someone stood up. Yes, I can admit now that I suck when people get up. That's what Bruno did anyway : stand up to try to pass my guard. On the knees, no such luck. That's my territory.
  • Secondly, some guys have the inspiration to simply pull guard after I pulled guard, effectively granting me a sweep. A no-go obviously. 
  • I use the leg lasso to control the position for a while, or go for the regular sweep, when the guy thinks he's passing me on the opposite side of the lag lasso.

How to control an opponent who stands in my spider guard.
  • If I don't have two grips, preferably on different sides of his body, as well as at least one foot on his hip, biceps, whatever, I'm getting passed.
  • Switch from foot on the biceps to foot on the hip with a cross grip, lapel grip ASAP, forgetting about the  biceps. If he's sprawling, arm drag maybe?

Much, much to learn.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 6th 211th class

Only one hour of training today : black belt class. I initially wanted to skip one rolling session, but I went for it anyway : my knee hurts. It somehow got tweaked when I was holding mount a few weeks before. I felt the initial pain, and that should have been my cue to sit it out for a while, but I continued to train regardless, and I am paying the price right now.
Maybe the lesson to be learned is that I should let my knee recover fully. I also realized I stopped eating my litre of fruits, which means I get less nutrients in my body for repairs such as these. Must absolutely find some frozen fruits ASAP.
Other than this, had a good training session today. I am now making a few changes to the way I roll. First of all, I've switched my grips a bit to regular spider guard, for some periods of time, but I like to keep one foot other than on the second bicep, most of the time, even when I prepare a sweep. I'm also playing with the leg lasso, alternating between the omoplata and the two sweeps I currently know from there. THe new grips got me a nice sweep today on Cyrus. He found it a bit too fancy in technique, but it worked in live training. Thank you Abmar Barbosa. I also set up a peruvian necktie look-alike from side control, by faking I want to work from knee on belly. The dude didn't protect his neck, choosing, like I expected, to push my knee off. <Insert Evil Laughter here>. I am actually finding a new kick out of jiujitsu : setups. Man those are fun. Nothing more laugh-inducing than your partner walking straight to the trap you've cozily set up for him. The whole time, you know what's going on, what will go on and what his reactions are. You control the fight.
I have made a conscious effort to apply Bruno's advice : grips, especially when playing guard. I need to keep my grips tighter. That actually has improved my game quite a bit, and I am grateful to him for it. Come to think of it, it's not the first time he told me : GRIPS.
I also find I rely a bit too much on the double leg half guar pass, and that some dudes are able to either get to their knees and push me off (the right escape), or get their knee out and put it between us : requires quite a bit of work.