Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The High Side

As most of my recent blogs show, I've been working a lot on my top game. My passing game has definitely improved a lot, and I'm starting to play with some new stuff in side control.

Usually, once I get side, I'll have one knee down by my opponents hip, and the other all the way up under his shoulder. I feel like I'm in a really dominant position and it's very hard for my opponent to escape. Sometimes though, he's able to get his elbow inside, under your hip that's closest to his shoulder.

When that happens, I've started working on a really high side control. I feel like I have a whole new set of options from here. When he gets that elbow tucked in, I've started crossing my ankle closet to his hips over his bicep or forearm, and putting about 70% of my weight on that arm. It really has the effect of gluing that shoulder to the mat. Once I've got that, it's hard for him to roll away, so I try and keep him from being able to roll into me. For that I just take my arm that's nearest to his head and get under his head and grab is lapel.

Lots of cool things have started happening for me when I get here...

The Pass

Since I'm now away from my opponents hips, he feels really free with his hips. This is something that took me a bit to get used to. I usually like making my opponents position as close to static as possible. I want to be the one moving, not him. In this scenario though, I've found that he really can't do much except get himself in more trouble... Why? Because he's not going anywhere without his shoulder and head right? So He can buck all day, but unless he gets at least one shoulder free, all he can do is buck up and down like uhhhh--- a very frustrated person?? Well, to buck, he needs to plant his feet on the ground. When he does that, passing to mount is EASY because he can't block me with his knees. I just gotta do it quickly, and make sure to get heavy as soon as I complete the pass.

The far arm

As long as I stay heavy on his near shoulder, I can sometimes release the cross face, and get 2 on 1 on his far arm. I've landed kimuras and americanas pretty easy, and even an arm bar. The nice thing is that he really can't roll over to protect since you've got his near shoulder glued to the mat. I've actually been toying with letting my high leg clear his head, and seeing how that works out. It feels like I'm a little vulnerable to a sweep when that happens so I wanna work more on my weight distribution when I do that, but man, his arm is DONE when I get there!

The near arm

Ok, so this is cool. That near arm is not defended at all, and most guys don't expect you to attack it. There's a whole plethora of cool subs for that near arm. I landed a near side shoulder lock using my weight to clue down his forearm and just pulled up on the elbow on one guy. Americana's are there for the taking, and even arm bars.

Anyway, I still have a lot to figure out here, but it's a nice little switch up to have in my repertoire.

Happy Rolling!

The Geek in a Gi

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dedication, ok, you win, it matters

I've been interested in Jiu-Jitsu most of my life. I've done the backyard roll with buddies, bought books, watched videos. I've been "informed". I'm a geek at heart and have a very analytical mind, and I have a natural attention to detail.

I remember in 6th grade, my teacher sent home a letter for my parents to read. I was pretty much a little pansy, and I was scared shitless that they found the sears catalog I had hidden in my locker or something. The note was actually that they wanted to test me for the accelerated program at school. It made my mom laugh, and understandably, because I never had extraordinary grades. I just did enough to get by, and not get in trouble. The reason they told my mom was that "I kept asking questions until I understood".

Well, I didn't make the accelerated program at school, which is probably a good thing, because those kids where really weird. The reason they told my mom was "I just needed to work a little harder".

Maybe the story of my life, clearly it's been the case with my BJJ. I've played around with it. I've went to places to "train", but was never serious. I'd always seem to find someplace where they  had just a little BJJ, and I'd do well. But the minute someone told me to don a gi, I'd buck up. "Why? I'm sweeping the floor with everyone here no-gi, except the instructor or the assistant. Gi's don't work, and I'm an MMA guy, they give you bad habbits"... I didn't wanna listen. I also didn't wanna go actually join a real BJJ place, it was just too inconvenient.

Vandry's has brought me full circle with that 6th grade version of me (minus the Sears Catalog in my locker -- married now, lets leave that one alone). Professor Vandry has made it clear, on NO uncertain terms that I'm gunna have to earn everything. No free rides, no gifts, it's about dedication.  Sure, it's not easy making it to class, but it's worth it.

I still have a natural inclination towards details, and not just "how" to apply a choke, but "why" the choke works. More importantly though, I've decided that BJJ is worth my dedication, and train every opportunity I can to gain experience, and still soak up as much knowledge as possible. I really think the dedication is the difference.

Happy Rolling,

The Geek in a Gi

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Use the top half of your body, you twit!

Today in class I started rolling with Michael, but he's evidently got a real job and has to jet right at 1. So I was just sitting watching a couple other guys roll, thinking about my guard passing. 

Then it was like a stream of senior guys asking me if I wanted to roll... I was in BJJ heaven (if one can equate getting choked out or arm barred to a state of bliss).

So Charley just kicked my ass basically. He's got the most devastating invisible knee! I just about tapped from it alone. However, I noticed something rolling with him. As I'd try to staple down his grounded leg when he was on his side. He'd escape his hips just a little so that I wasn't squared up with him at all. In fact, he was able to sit up and reach over my head and under my far shoulder. Not really a neck crank, but totally destroys any ability to resist him pulling me over.  It was really interesting, because I honestly felt that I had won the lower half battle, but he was able to somehow control my far shoulder and either roll me to get side control or my back.

I say thanks and sit down to digest all this, and then John walks over and asks me to roll. I'm like "damn, now I gotta get my ass kicked twice!", but I'll never refuse a roll with John. I always learn a lot rolling with him. So I went back to work.... SAME DARN THING! At least basically. I tried to stay really clamped down on his thigh, but he was able to get under my far elbow and collapse me while hip escaping. He did it time and time again, each time I felt like I did a little better, but still have a lot to work on.

So now I'm cooling down, getting ready to get back to work, and Doc says "cmon Elliott'. "SHIT!" If you don't know doc, you're not missing much, he's pretty much a total dick. I'm saying this to see if he's actually reading (or anyone for that matter).  Actually, Doc is a great guy, and I'm pretty sure he's the most technical Blue that I've rolled with at Vandry's. Add that to the fact that he's got some crazy wrestling background, and ain't a lil boy, he's pretty much a beast. He's also gotta fix my back tomorrow.

So I'm thinking, "Ok O'Hara, let's see if we can apply some of that stuff J and C just gotcha with." Well, the answer was evidently no. First roll, he goes to his side, I try to pin down a leg, and walk around, and he says "I'm pretty sure you're over comitted" and sweeps me like I'm a little school girl.  Instead of destroying my far side, Doc started putting a hook in under my near shoulder.  Interesting delima. I concentrate on my far shoulder, and end up getting some crazy hook under my near shoulder.

I've got a lot to work on, that's for sure. I definitely feel like I've got the hips working well, it's just time to work the shoulders together. I also think that I need to stop that bottom hip escape. If there was a way to keep myself tight, and deny that hip escape somehow, it would take away a lot of their options.