Thursday, May 28, 2009

Half guard work

More half guard work today with TO. Was seeing a hip bump type of sweep from far half guard that I hadn’t seen before. If I’ve got his right leg locked up with my left knee against his right hip, I need to simply switch my hip to perpendicular while getting some type of wrist/sleeve control on his right had. Can also cup the left foot as well to get some more leverage.

Played some closed guard as well. Went for an armlock on right arm with sweep as a threat.
Wanted him to get arm out so I could switch to triangle which I did, but then spent the next four minutes trying to finish from that position.

Really think that I should just hold more loosely and work on the correct angle or see about armlocks, kimuras or sweeps from there. This has happened to me a few times and I get total tunnel vision. There may have been an angle that I just couldn’t feel or see but my legs were completely toast at the end and that’s not how I want my jiu jitsu to be.

Felt a little bummed out after that, feeling like I wasn’t learning the lessons presented to me.

Wanted to get back in tonight, but can feel all the signs of overtraining right now, so I’m going to get some extra food and some rest.
But all that will pass.

The lessons on the far half guard I’m feeling so far are as follows.
1) Constantly check his base.
2) Stay on your side.
3) Create space with forearm under chin in order to get knee onto his hip.
4) If he leans in to grab your far side wrist, switch hips into a triangle.
5) If he leans back you can switch hips into the Roger sweep variation.
6) If you can get control of his crossfacing arm you can sweep that over your far shoulder to sweep him
7) If he backs off too far, your outside foot can go on his hip to control him.
8) Constantly look for collar chokes.
9) If he tries to pry his leg out, grab his ankle and bridge and roll to that side
10) The pendulum sweep can still work from half guard.
11) Foot on the hip can lead to a far leg knee bar as well.
12) Inverted Roleta type sweeps are always a possibility as they come around on the non trapped side.

What I am liking about the half guard as I’m finally bridging together sweeps and submissions and feel like it slows down my opponents.

What I’m not liking is that I’m f’ing exhausted after drilling the positions. Now granted my training partners are the best guys in the school, so it’s no surprise. But I think the newness of this attack mindset is still making me not see the path of least resistance at every moment.

Worked with my instructor as well. Similar to the lesson we worked on before, it seems like attacks from the top can be as simple as isolating an arm and waiting for the opponent to react.

Even from top of half guard I can pin the bicep with my free leg and head and arm control.
From there it’s a matter of keeping pressure on the far shoulder and keeping his chin turned. Eventually the leg pinning the bicep can go over the head as keeping him stretched out in the shoulder will prevent him from balling up.

From here, there is a loose lock reverse triangle.

Monday, May 18, 2009

5/18/09 training thoughts

Rolled with BE and C today. Didn’t like the way I felt with either one. Could feel excess muscle tension and kept giving into the temptation to force moves that weren’t there. Really didn’t feel like there was any flow.

Felt myself backtrack in terms of my open guard. Strange that all the stuff I liked last month on preventing them from basing, is now just a small asterisk. It still works to a degree, but it also means that I’m out of position and not really presenting a viable attack. I felt the need to test the system but it felt wrong. It felt as if it was a joke that I used to find funny or a girl I used to like. It simply didn’t resonate at all as it was still not at the core of the problem I had before, which is reacting rather than being proactive.

I was also making the mistake of being in mid range with essentially no handles in open guard.

Feel a little overtrained, but there’s still no reason or excuse for this. I was lucky to not have it completely blow up in my face today, but it should have.

I felt really tired afterward, which I think is a combination of conditioning weakness and this forcing mentality that I felt. I’m still looking for mental exercises to do when I feel this way as it always frustrating when that sense of flow and purpose just isn’t there.

Tomorrow may take day off due to conditioning workout scheduled but will see how I feel that night.

The Heavy Leg

I’ve been working on some standup wrestling with DS over the last few weeks. His takedown philosophy is geared around the inside single. And the timing of this takedown is based on an idea of the “heavy leg”. Basically he looks for, or really at this point just senses, when the opponent gets most of his weight on one leg. The moment that happens is the moment he’s shooting. I’m guessing he actually starts shooting before this happens and actually makes impact the moment the leg is heavy.

It reminds me of some of the concepts I was working on a month back like the ab wheel, where the opponent is stumbling to get back in position while I’m moving in that position already. This is almost the same idea but from a standing position.

One concept that DS showed me was something he said he saw John Smith do. The idea is to shoot when he saw the heavy leg, but anticipate that the opponent is going to sprawl. So the initial shot needs to be well timed, but you actually don’t want to fully commit so you’re underneath the guy when he sprawls out. What you’re waiting for is the guy to stand up and back away. So when the initial shot is made, you stay in there. The moment the guy starts to pick himself up, boom, that’s when you do your “real” shot. When most people stand up, they put all their weight on one leg.

What I really like about DS’s approach to takedowns and to how he’s teaching me, is the simplicity. There’s one takedown: the inside single and one time to do it: when the opponent’s leg is heavy.

Of course there are an infinite number of ways to get there, but having simple goals makes it much easier for me to keep my head in the moment rather than being overwhelmed by information.

Now I have no illusions about becoming a great wrestler or even a great takedown guy, but I think this training is really important for several reasons.

First off, it helps me know what a good takedown guy is looking for in his attacks. The better I can get at these attacks, the better I can get at defending them. While I may have a decent sprawl already, that is only going to help me against a very unsophisticated line of attack.

Secondly, while I may still not be able to get the opponent down even with a perfectly timed shot, getting that clinch can allow me to transition to an open guard position or a leg lock attack. I won’t be able to outwrestle a good wrestler, but by learning this timing and sensitivity I can bring my attacks to them.

It always makes me cringe seeing a jiu jitsu guy do a telegraphed shot from way outside that is stuffed, then they try to pull guard and the opponent just walks away. While the jiu jitsu guy may have initiated the action, he still gave his opponent the option of walking away. I want to eliminate that option whenever possible.

I want to know how to get the match to the ground, regardless of whether that means I’m on top or not, and to also ensure that I’m the one dictating the action.

Additionally I want to be able to coach my teammates better from the standing position. While they may still need to pull guard if they’re not practicing their standup, I can at least give them better advice on how and when to do that.

The training is very fast paced and really fun. DS is an awesome teacher and I can tell he enjoys doing this type of training as do I. In the past, the wrestling I’ve done has been very discouraging as I was taught what to do but not when.

And even if I was taught when, I was never taught how to make the “when” happen. DS is showing me this in terms of concepts so I can begin to recognize this in the heat of the moment, which is especially important in takedowns, as the pace is much faster.
As always I’m amazed at how little I know and happy that there are people willing to teach me more.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

not jiu jitsu related

but I just started another blog

The first one is about a man named T'ai Merion, who I would like the world to know, sadly, if only in hindsight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Touch and patience

Noticing rolling with GC and DS that there are two things that are becoming increasingly important to me: touch and patience.

With GC, especially in no gi, realized that there is a world of difference being in sword guard on my side and having as many handles in place as possible, verses not. By handles, I mean grabbing, holding or even lightly touching with my feet, knees, shoulders, elbows, hands and head in as many places as possible. I’m never going to be fast enough to react to someone moving before I do and someone as fast and skilled as GC drills that into my head.

But if I can be clinched up with as many handles as possible, the sensation of touch leads to many things. I can first feel his movement. I can feel where his weight is shifting. At times, it almost seems like you can sense a man’s intentions. This is part of the solution that I’m looking for in developing a game that can overcome speed, size, strength and conditioning. I realized that to not be in some type of clinch, even a loose one, will invariably lead to me trying to use those attributes I’m trying to battle against just to catch up. And in my mind this is something that cannot be sustained and will get worse with time.

The second lesson that’s starting to come into focus is patience. I’m seeing this in some of the more customary control positions like closed guard on bottom and side mount on top, but I think it can be applied almost anywhere.

I’m realizing how impatient I’ve been in my jiu jitsu. At times it feels like I’ve been a nervous teenager who won’t stop talking because he’s afraid of silence. While forcing the action can be good in certain circumstances, it can also quickly hurt you against the wrong opponent.

DS is the perfect example of this as given his intelligence for the game along with his wrestling, size and strength forcing a game against him will simply not work. If I do try to force it, I"m not being honest with myself on the reality of that moment. It's like I'm talking rather than enjoying the silence.

So lately I’ve been trying to catch myself forcing anything, especially in closed guard. While this may be looked at as stalling, I’m beginning to realize I need to explore the concept of stalling and how that can lead to frustrating people. I’m never going to be the strongest, biggest, most athletic or youngest guy out there so I need strategy. And part of strategy is the mental battle. And part of the mental battle is learning how to frustrate the opponent.