Friday, November 13, 2009

The Passing of the Guard

Rambling on Leg Riding.

So, yeah, I take the overpass. I guess I've been caught in a few triangles and shy away from throwing my opponents leg up near my neck. Or, maybe it's a horrible over reaction due to some repressed childhood incident, hell if I know. 

I'm not gunna spend a bunch of time (by a bunch of, I mean any) discussing opening up a closed guard, at least not in this post, go search youtube or something - not sure why you're reading my blog anyway. This stuff's damn near impossible without pictures or videos anyway, but I digress.

I know a lot of this stuff is really basic, but I pass the guard a hell of a lot more than I land flying triangles. Consequently, I'll probably blog more basic stuff that the not so basic stuff. Also, I'm really not that good, but since this is my blog , I get to pretend I'm awesome here, and unless you hack my account you can't change that.

I was rolling with Matt a week or so ago, and he gave me a great pointer that has helped me a lot. When I'm in an open guard I'll have one foot flat on the mat so my knee is up and my other knee down. I used to sort of crouch on the other foot, in my mind it let me react quickly.

Well Matt pointed out that I was a moron. Those weren't his exact words. Dude doesn't have a mean bone in his body -  in fact you can actually put your whole body weight on his busted up knee and he'll just say "oh man, it's not your fault". Once again, I digress... He pointed out that I should lay the top of my foot on the mat. This made a huge difference in my posture. Scissor sweeps are damn near impossible since I was really glued to the mat. It also has the effect of making everything tighter, and it really feels like to me that triangles are a lot tougher to lock up - like the shoulder sit higher in relation to the chin. That could totally be my imagination, but hey, it's my blog, call me a liar in comments if ya wanna. 

So, that shin and knee is the great equalizer. I can fend off a multitude of weapons with it, so Matt and I drilled him attacking from different sides, whatever arm or shoulder he would attack, I'd have that knee up with the other one down with the top of the foot on the mat. It worked amazingly.

Amazing enough that I realized that the minute he's switch sides, there was a nice little window where I could totally staple his leg that was on the mat. By staple I mean, my knee will be on one side of the leg, with my toes on the other, so that my knee and foot form the "prongs" of the staple, and everything is held down by the shin.  I Just ride that knee that's planted on the mat over the leg. Of course, the higher the better, but to me the key (as with pretty much all top game) staying REALLY heavy and tight. The instant I had that knee stapled down, I'd immediately find something to latch on to.  Ideally the cross face, but I don't always get that lucky. Sometimes I find myself hugging his waste, or just grabbing the waistband and dropping all my weight on that leg. At this point, the shoulders are important, but not as much as the hips. It's all about getting as much of my weight on that leg as I can. I want his hips immobile, if he can shrimp out, I've just lost all the progress I gained. 

Once I've got control of that bottom hip, I'll get back to work. I really don't wanna get stuck in half guard, and quite often I can avoid it with some intelligent footwork. Instead of moving that leg that's doing all that great stuff for me and stepping through, I step over with my other leg (my legs are crossed at this point) THEN go ahead and pull the other leg all the way through. This stuff is a lotta hip work. The position of my upper body shouldn't really need to change all that much. In fact, I concentrate on NOT changing it, that way he doesn't have any windows of escape where he can get all cute and start bucking around.

Another thing that helps me while trying to establish side control is to concentrate on really keeping my knee closest to his hip tight to his body. I DO NOT want him wedging his knee back between our bodies, because -- uh, because that sucks.  That's sometimes a really tough battle, I sometimes find myself battling someone who's pushing like a umm- really pushy thing on my knee while trying to shrimp out so he can get that knee wedged back in. What I typically do in that situation is reach my arm closest to his hips all the way over his waist and plant my elbow on the ground, that other hand I'll try to control his shoulder some way, but I'm talking about way too many things at once and I'm confusing myself, so lets not talk about that high arm right now. Anyway... Yeah, so I'll have my knee up against is waist and my elbow on the mat on the other side - it's basically the whole staple thing all over again except I'm using my elbow and knee and torso instead of just my leg. If the dude is too wide I'll use put my hand on the mat, but make sure to keep my arm pinned to his back. I really want everything nice and snug. It's also very important that I keep my other arm on the other side of his body (I try for an under the head cross face), or else I end up getting swept like a dust bunny on one of those dust buster commercials.

This feels like a rambling post, but I really feel like I've made some great progress with my passes, and I wanted to dump my brain (I ate taco bell today, so I dumped everything else a few hours ago) and get this all on magnetic media so I wouldn't lose it.

Happy Rolling,
The Geek in a Gi

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