Brain Clutter

October 24, 2007

Confessions of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Newbie: Day 5

Filed under: brazilian jiu jitsu, fitness, health, martial arts, MMA — brainclutter @ 9:24 am

Leading Edge MMATrying to stay alive on day five!

Yesterday’s class was exhausting but fun! This was the most packed I’ve seen the gym since I started and that’s because we have a tournament in Winnipeg, Manitoba coming up this weekend. Also, five weeks from now there’s another one down in Superior, Wisconsin (US).

Am I going, you ask? While I might be seeing signs of very minor improvement having spent a mere five weeks in the gym, there’s no way in hell I feel ready for competition. About the only thing I know how to do with any confidence is establish a position but I’m still quite shaky in maintaining it for extended periods of time. Also, my cardio is the craps right now and I’d get wrecked in any match extending beyond five minutes.

Is that a cop-out? Hells ya! But aside from not being ready physically, I’m also attending two concerts this weekend (Elliott Brood and Craig Cardiff) while my wife drive down to Minneapolis to see a So You Think You Can Dance performance. There are other competition events coming up in late 2007 / early 2008 that I may participate in, so long as I can get matched up against someone with roughly the same experience as me.

Here’s what we learned last night:

  • Shoot-fake neck takedown – Basically, you’re both standing and you want to get into a tighter clinch for the takedown. Fake the shot by dropping to one knee, then immediately stand back up and lunge in with your left arm, hooking his neck with forearm perpendicular to his collar bone (pressed tightly to maintain grip). Grab his right bicep with your left hand and start pushing and pulling him around with your body and hands. Try make him push towards you and immediately walk backwards to create a small gap between your bodies. Shove his head under your right armpit in a headlock maneuver. If you don’t have any arms in there, you might have a good chance at a guillotine. If you do, it can still be done. If you don’t have the best grip, pull him down to the mat and start working on other subs or positions, making sure you sprawl out nicely
  • Anaconda choke – From the previous takedown, you might be able to sink in an anaconda choke. In the previous maneuver, his head should be under your right armpit so reach up with your right hand and place it on his right shoulder, perpendicular to your right arm (sunk under his neck). Grip the bicep of your left arm with your right hand, which should clinch up his neck nicely. Take a quick breath to create a little room to sink it in as tightly as you can. Now, roll your body towards your left shoulder, putting both of you on your backs. Take another quick breath to cinch it even tighter and start walking your body towards his left hip, turning this choke into a death grip.
  • Arm-bar from full guard – Start out in full guard with your opponent postured up and his forearms on your belly. Reach under his left arm and over his right arm, gripping his elbow/tricep with your right hand. Bend your body and head so your torso curves towards the right. Reach behind the left side of his neck with your left hand, crossing his face with your forearm. Push his body to his right (your left). At the same time, release your guard. Take your left leg over to the left side of his head, resting your knee around his neck.  At the same time as you’re positioning your left leg, your right leg should be sliding up the left side of his body. By this point, his arm should be between your thighs. Now you want to tighten the grip. Do not cross or lock your ankles as that will weaken the pressure between your knees. Instead, try keeping your feet parallel and squeeze your knees towards each other for the most snug grip. Pop your hips while holding his extended arm and you’ve got your arm-bar.
  • Oma Plata – If your grip was loose and he managed to pop out his extended arm, you can take his other trapped arm (in this case, his left) and turn it into an oma plata. I can’t quite remember the exact steps for this right now so I’ll come back and edit it ASAP. Basically you want to have it trapped between your legs and on the outside of one of your hips. You’ll also want him with his belly to the mat. Slowly pivot your way up, twisting his shoulder opposite from the way it naturally rotates and he’ll tap.
  • Clock choke (with gi) – You have his back and you’re positioned on his left side. Bring up your right knee to block his left hip from rolling. Reach over his back and under his right armpit with your right arm. Grip his right sleeve with your right hand. Now, try trapping his left arm between your legs. Once the arm is down there, reach through the front side of his left shoulder with your right hand, sink your left forearm under his neck, and grip his collar on the right side. Immediately, swing your legs towards the front of his body so that your right hip is against his left shoulder, preferably against his left cheek. Tighten up your choke grip and start walking in a clockwise spin with your legs. He can try spinning with you to reduce pressure on his neck, so you’ll want to walk faster than him to sink it in deeply enough for him to tap.
  • Sweep (from turtled position – gave up your back) – Pretend you’re in the same position as your opponent was in the clock choke description. Remember that if his weight is higher on your body, you can pop up your hips and walk backwards and try to draw guard. If his weight is near your butt, you can posture up and try standing. If his weight is centered and you can do neither, reach out with your left arm and grip the his left pant leg. Pop up your hips and maneuver your sprawl behind his right thigh to block him posting off it for balance. Immediately roll towards your right shoulder, sweeping him over you. Hopefully you’ll land in side control or at the very least, half guard.
  • Takedown from body lock (reverse bear hug) – This is the same concept, except that it can be executed from standing. You can do two things to take your opponent down from a reverse bear hug. One is to rotate your hips and bring your right leg behind his legs and post it between them. Then grab both his pant legs and lift, using your right leg as a fulcrum against his body to dump him on his head. Secondly, you could move your right leg in the same way, but fall towards your left, trying to take him down with you. Rotate your body so his back hits the mat before you do.

As you can see, this class spent a fair amount of time on various submissions and some of them are fairly advanced. This is because of the upcoming tournament and wanting to prep people for what they might see in competition. Also, our instructor just got back from a training session hosted by Royce Gracie over the weekend and learned a couple new variations on moves he wanted to show off (anaconda choke and the arm-bar).

I spent the last fifteen minutes of class sparring five-minute rounds with three different opponents of various skill levels, though they were all much higher than myself. It was interesting to try applying what I learned in this class and others. It was light sparring, so I wouldn’t say that I earned many of my position gains through strong determination, but it was still cool to get into the flow. I ended up tapping out of several chokes and armlocks (even an oma plata) for good measure.

Of note, my dang Gi still hasn’t arrived from HCK. I’m getting annoyed at having to used the gym’s stanky gear, even if it is better than nothing. 😉

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