Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turtle in a half shell?

That was lame, huh?

A few months ago, if someone got side control on me, I'd work hard to get back to half guard, then work from there for a sweep or full guard. Then Professor Vandry did some class on working from turtle, just keeping your head tucked inside and pulling out a leg. It works like a charm. So I've gotten into the habit of instead of working so hard to get a leg trapped when I'm in bottom side, to just get to my knees. It's much harder for your opponent to resist.

News flash! When I reach for an opponents leg, sometimes he just doesn't let you grab it, and does the right thing. Namely, sprawl. So now, I'm stuck in turtle with my opponent throwing all his weight on me. Then he usually grabs cross label and goes for my back.

I'm actually pretty comfortable from here. Instead of going for rolling leglocks like the guys that are actually good at BJJ do, I've actually taken to working sweeps from this position. To me, key point is whatever arm he is using that has that cross lapel, I do my best to avoid him getting the hook in on the opposite side. This isn't always possible, but if I'm successful in avoiding that hook, the other hook isn't gunna help him all that much.

So, with him on my back, and trying to get his forearm under my chin, what I like to do is just grab his gi, right at the elbow, and give it a little tug. I like to tug, and hold, then tug some more, and hold. Some guys, I'm actually able to reach all the way under and grab up by his shoulder, that's even better. So say he's using his right hand to work that cross collar (my left collar). I'm either grabbing his gi at the left elbow, or better yet all the way up by his left shoulder. The idea is to spill him over my right shoulder.

If the guy was able to get the left hook in, I find it tougher, but I've still been able to pull it off against some pretty good rollers. What was successful for me was to, while pulling on that right elbow with my right hand, I sorta push up on that left ankle he has. More like I pushing it over my head. The key to me here is to make sure the forces I'm applying work together, to spill him in the direction I want. Essentially, I'm trying to force his body to roll over his right shoulder. So pushing his left ankle (and thus his hip) helps accomplish that.

As he's spilling over, I make sure to keep that grip on him and I drive my shoulder and head into his upper body. Sometimes, I'm stuck in this position where he's on his side, and he almost has me in full guard, since he never really lost that near side hook. I usually can still end up all the way to side control by pulling in on that left shoulder that I'm still holding on to, while driving his upper body flat to the mat with my head and left shoulder

This is a really slow, methodical pass, but man, it's really been working wonders in my game. I doubt it makes any sense reading it, but honestly, I don't give a rats ass if it helps you, it helps me to write about it. So go eat some turkey or something.

Happy Rolling,
The Geek in a Gi

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