Monday, August 24, 2009

Knee on stomach from the bottom?

Worked with TO and MB today and continued to explore this idea of structure. My real mentality right now is preventing the pass while putting up uncomfortable barriers that cause my opponent to have to adjust with a limited number of options. I’m going to start flow charting out what I think these options would be and how I could beat them to the punch on this.

Also thinking about how I can integrate the “93” guard (shin on bicep half guard) and how I could get to it from half guard. One thing I’m taking from Friday’s session with JS is not “getting passed” is not enough. Being crushed in half guard for 10 minutes at a time is not an acceptable solution. Will work on ways of getting the far half guard with knee controlling hip then transitioning to foot on hip/shin on bicep.

In a way this makes me think of the knee on stomach work I’ve been doing lately. Except now I want to have the same control, attacks and discomfort coming from the bottom rather than the top.

It seems to have the same effect as it makes my opponent move and as long as I can figure out what I’ll do when they move, it may have the same positive results.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Combining structure and attacks from the open guard

I’ve been thinking a lot about the open guard lately. My instructor has always emphasized the need for structure from the open guard. In his sword guard, his main point has always been get structure first, so your opponent can’t put his weight on you and has few options to move safetly. Once the structure is intact, then you can initiate your sweep and submission combos. If you don't have structure to slow your opponent down and limit his attacks, you have to rely on attributes.

For a long time, I’ve experimented with different types of guards, which have used speed, flexibility and strength. I never realized that I was doing that until I ran into someone who either had more of those attributes or was able to shut one of them down.

So I started to divide things up and worked on guards that had good structure. What I mean by that is I had my control of their head and arms and my knees were in positions so that I couldn’t be crushed down. Often times it would be hard for my opponent to put weight on me or to move from that position. But the problem was, there was no threat. Once they were able to move, then I was behind the game again. Usually they could pass, as I didn’t have structural answers to the next step they placed and there was no submission threat either.

I’d then go back to more of an attacking guard where I’d be working for sweeps and submissions. With this I’d either get the sweep or the submission or I’d get passed. It always felt like a tradeoff and depending on the level of my opponent, the ratios would change. If they could get passed the submissions, there was no structure to prevent them from crushing and passing or pinning and passing.

So yesterday I started experimenting with the spider guard and the shin guard. The object was to see how to set them both up at first. I was working with JS so it was going to be quick feedback if the position wasn’t working. After about 30 minutes, the structure started to seem to work. That was the first step.

The shin guard seemed more versatile to me, and I noticed that the shin across the middle line made it very difficult for him to put his weight on me.

But again, only having the structure made it simply a matter of him adjusting, moving and restarting his pass.

So the next step would be to use what the structure gives you. And that means sweeps and submissions.

The shin guard has a fairly basic sweep in the direction that you have your shin on their bicep. For some reason this was all I tried at first, before realizing I needed to try to sweep the other direction as well. Once I started combing those it opened things up. I could try rock from side to side and if that didn't work, pull into closed guard and go for a pendulum sweep from there.

The combinations seemed more effective since I felt I wasn't exhausting myself to unbalance him or initiate attacks. The structure of the guard makes him move and then it's a matter of figuring out where he'll move and reacting as he does that.

I need more practice with this as I don't have the mental Rolodex yet to know what reactions people will do so that's just a matter of mat time.

Also worked with MB and he worked on popping his hips forward and having his head straight up. It took me a while to realize that maybe holding on to a wrist or a sleeve and moving backwards would have an "ab wheel" type of effect. Still need more work on that though as I'm not happy with the options I was coming up with.

But I think this idea of structure and getting handles on the person is a good concept.

I look at it this way: proper structure protects you and slows your opponent down. If they’re slowed down, it makes it much easier to catch them with submissions and sweeps. If there’s only structure with no follow through or just submissions and sweeps being thrown at them, they just have to avoid them and they’ve passed. But if the two concepts are combined, it becomes much more difficult for the opponent to survive as they can’t start an attack and are always being attacked.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Side mount work

Worked with JS and CW today. With JS it was first side mount escapes and secondly side mount control and attack. With the escapes, I’m just reminding myself constantly of rule #1 Stay Safe. I’m trying to anticipate his attacks so I can move in that direction right when he moves. It is difficult to even try standard reversals as his hips are so low and his base so good, that it feels like it’s a waste of energy.
Felt this with CW as well. He has a more patient and methodical game, but starting with his sidemount sunk in, it felt damn near impossible to get out. Again, I stuck with rule #1 and kept trying to predict his next move.

Now part of me is not a big fan of this approach. It feels very passive and is dependent upon the other guy moving. But on the otherhand, I want to conserve energy to a degree in a position like this. I definitely felt calm, lucid and safe. But I guess I’m wondering is this enough or is this at least the step for now?
I know this wouldn’t be a good tournament mentality, but that’s not really what I’m doing this for in the first place.

I guess another mentality is that getting stuck in those positions is a worst-case scenario. But it happens and I want to keep making sure I strike a balance of safety while still making things happen or at least acknowledging the reality of the situation.

JS and I also worked on my top game side control. This is still not a strong point and he is an extremely difficult person to keep pinned down. Need to write out a flow chart or the story of side mount as I see it right now. Still finding the times to pin verses the times for attacks.
See some interesting possibilities of combing the Rigan twister with the arm in guillotine, the anaconda and the D’arce. Need to really focus on far hip control with all of these.

He was excellent at getting to his side and facing me. Felt that both reverse kesa and kazuri leave me vulnerable to getting swept. Also wondering whether the idea is to prevent someone like that from getting to their side or just attack the position they’re in.

Again it comes down to efficiency and taking the situation right where it is, rather than deciding it “needs” to be a certain way. Really like the triple attack and setting up from knee on stomach. Makes me realize I need to map out this position even more as I don’t have nearly enough chains.

I'm going to keep picking the guys who I think are best at this and work my escapes while at the same time continuing to practice my top attacks. This is still my weakest top position and it's time to change that.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Training notes 8/11/09

Had some good training yesterday with TO. Felt like I was using way too much strength and that my flow was not where it should be. Probably over training a little and am probably taking today off fully. Always feel the need to push at times like this, but maybe pulling back is the smarter move.

Seeing the grapevine grip in closed guard situations. I still like the clamp when I get the hand to the mat, but thinking that if I can keep the same principals from the overhook halfguard triangle and sweep setups,

Felt like the clamp and pulling the foot over to omoplata is still a dangerous position to put my knee in. May try to work the overhook, get on my side and maybe even bait them to push my leg down to get the grip.
From half guard could put other foot on hip to work triangle. Or put hook in to work butterfly sweep.

I need to experiment with this more but again feels more and more like each position is an extension of another and they are all just transitions. I still find myself getting into trouble when I look at something as “half guard” or “full guard” etc. rather than just seeing the principals and just letting the flow take it where it should.

From top position, still working knee on stomach, elbow and wrong knee. Want to start working in some toe holds and bat chokes to help set up arm locks and triple attacks.
For open guard, trying to make sure that all my appendages are accounted for. Want everything to be a handle or controlling point. Using my head, hands, knees, elbows, shoulders, hips and feet. Notice that at times when I’m going for omoplatas, triangles etc. that one leg is simply there to go over the shoulder rather than messing with the base etc. When there is separation, I’m in trouble, especially with someone fast, strong or explosive.