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Old 01-14-2008, 02:33 PM   #121 (permalink)
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:34 AM   #122 (permalink)
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Playing the Hips

In jiu-jitsu, there are a lot of things that you can do differently and still make effective, using your hips, though, is not one of them.

Every technique in jiu-jitsu (and almost every grappling technique in the martial arts) involves using the hips, but there are a few just general parts of the game that are really important even when you're just working from a position, before you even attempt the initial technique, and it's something that alot of guys, especially at the beginning level, forget.

It's really important, when you're playing from guard, or even from a standing clinch, to get your hips under your opponent. Guys who let their hips get up end up in the worst situations because you lose all of you control of your oppponent. Standing, it's important to keep your hips below your opponents hips, and on the ground it's important to keep the below your opponents shoulders. This is important even from positions like spider guard, where people forget it most often. You really have to be coming up at your opponent from underneath to work those techniques, and keeping your hips below their shoulders (part of which involves keeping your legs angled so that they will not get swept up and end up with you getting rolled in a ball) is a really big part of that.

Only move those hips at the last second, and even then be careful about how you do it, because you could end up getting caught in a guard pass. Keeping the hips low is safe, and it's important not to let them slip up until you're prepared to attack.

It's also important not to let your hips get pinned to the ground, ever. One of the best ways to pass guard is to lock your opponents hips to the mat with your body weight, so it's important (espcially if your working from a low guard, open or closed, or from a butterfly guard). It's important to keep the hips active, even if you don't have a ready opening for an attack just yet, so that your opponent can't lock them down.

If you watch world class guys work from guard, they're always moving, trying to make their opponent react quickly so that they will make a mistake. That's a great way to play that game for the more advanced guys, but even the simple movements that keep your opponent for dropping their weight onto your belt (something that every experienced gi-grappling student knows is a sign that you're opponent is establishing control) are important to remember.

Shifting your weight will keep your opponent from trusting their entire weight to the belt area, which will keep you from being pinned to your back. The movement will also give you opportunity to look for sweeps and wiggle out of that mildly controlled position should your opponent trust too much weight to it.

Just a couple of thoughts for the early morning.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:11 AM   #123 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
In jiu-jitsu, there are a lot of things that you can do differently and still make effective, using your hips, though, is not one of them.

Every technique in jiu-jitsu (and almost every grappling technique in the martial arts) involves using the hips, but there are a few just general parts of the game that are really important even when you're just working from a position, before you even attempt the initial technique, and it's something that alot of guys, especially at the beginning level, forget.

It's really important, when you're playing from guard, or even from a standing clinch, to get your hips under your opponent. Guys who let their hips get up end up in the worst situations because you lose all of you control of your oppponent. Standing, it's important to keep your hips below your opponents hips, and on the ground it's important to keep the below your opponents shoulders. This is important even from positions like spider guard, where people forget it most often. You really have to be coming up at your opponent from underneath to work those techniques, and keeping your hips below their shoulders (part of which involves keeping your legs angled so that they will not get swept up and end up with you getting rolled in a ball) is a really big part of that.

Only move those hips at the last second, and even then be careful about how you do it, because you could end up getting caught in a guard pass. Keeping the hips low is safe, and it's important not to let them slip up until you're prepared to attack.

It's also important not to let your hips get pinned to the ground, ever. One of the best ways to pass guard is to lock your opponents hips to the mat with your body weight, so it's important (espcially if your working from a low guard, open or closed, or from a butterfly guard). It's important to keep the hips active, even if you don't have a ready opening for an attack just yet, so that your opponent can't lock them down.

If you watch world class guys work from guard, they're always moving, trying to make their opponent react quickly so that they will make a mistake. That's a great way to play that game for the more advanced guys, but even the simple movements that keep your opponent for dropping their weight onto your belt (something that every experienced gi-grappling student knows is a sign that you're opponent is establishing control) are important to remember.

Shifting your weight will keep your opponent from trusting their entire weight to the belt area, which will keep you from being pinned to your back. The movement will also give you opportunity to look for sweeps and wiggle out of that mildly controlled position should your opponent trust too much weight to it.

Just a couple of thoughts for the early morning.
Good notes. We were working a few sweeps last night that involved a lot of hip movement and it was a reminder to never be stagnant when you're vulnerable.
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:14 PM   #124 (permalink)
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My New Favorite Finish

There aren't very many secrets in jiu-jitsu, so when I figure out something that really helps my game, I think it's important to tell people so that they can work it as much as I do and learn as much from it as I do.

I was rolling with Kevin, a judoka who comes to our school pretty regularly know, from knees, but I like to test his judo so we kept standing up.

Anyway, we're standing and he drops his head and tries to turn into me, but I put a guillotine on him and start applying the submission. He transitions to a double leg and slams me down.

No Kevin's about 20 pounds heavier than me, but I managed to hold on to his head and tapped him out.

My secret is not that you shouldn't let go of the technique, that'd be a dumb secret. It's something a little more important, and for those who have watched Joe Stevenson compete, you might already have seen this before.

A neck-crank adjustment on your guillotine is never illegal, not even at the white belt level in BJJ, so it's important to remember that you are getting a submission legally if you finish it, even if you're worried that you might stap your opponent's head off.

You can always slip into the ten-finger guillotine, but that's not something I recommend for beginniners. Instead, the secret to a good guillotine, whether it's a neck crank or the actual choke version, is not to worry about where your forearm is, because even if it's on his chin, arching your lower back will still finish the submission.

Joe Rogan points out in Joe Stevenson's fight with Kurt Pellegrino that a guy like Stevenson is strong enough that he can smash that guillotine even without the grip. The fact is (and this is the big secret) you don't even need the strength.

People freak out when their opponent slips out of the guillotine, but all you have to do is stay calm and finish, and it's all over.

The leverage still exists, remember that and stay cool, and you will maintain the submission and win the match.
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Old 02-03-2008, 01:03 AM   #125 (permalink)
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Beating the Judo Throw

Generally, I consider myself a pretty explosive, well rounded grappler, but if any part of my grappling game needs work, it's my takedowns.

I should preface this by saying that great judo guys are very good fighters, and it's important to acknowledge that sometimes a guy with better judo is going to throw you and you have to be prepared to take the punishment. There's definitely going to be a time when you get caught and, just like with a punch, you've got to be prepared to roll with it and keep going.

I have a few training partners that have much, much better judo than I do, and while I work very well from a Roman Greco clinch (or even a double-underhook clinch), I have alot of trouble getting in on those guys, because they know to back up and catch an arm. I'm also very wary of my shots.

I was working with one of them today and I decided to try something new.

Instead of looking for a takedown or even putting myself at risk for a slam by pulling guard, I closed the distance, reached for a clinch and let my knees hit the ground.

I know that the first thing that comes to the mind of the experienced grappler (especially those wrestlers out there) is that this is a terrible idea, because it gives your opponent the chance to get on top.

This position, which I'll call a half-shot (because that's what it is, for all intents and purposes), gives you the position to, if your opponent backs away, shoot for a leg, or, if your opponent engages, pull guard or half guard, and actually sets up an awesome backdoor style sweep from half-guard (one that is very popular with Jeff Monson and a bunch of lighter weight grappling guys).

Hitting the knees doesn't put you at risk for getting sprawled on as long as you maintain your distance, but it does prevent the throw opportunity by really dropping your center of gravity. As far as an application in MMA, the thought is much more simple, because it has to be if you are going to utilize it while trying to not get punched in the face.

That thought is that if your opponent does decide to strike, they will leave their legs open, and since they can't punch straight from the groin, as they would be required to do in order to protect their legs, it sets up an easy, explosive double leg or, if you're more of a wizzer guy (like I am), a good side wizzer.

In terms of gi grappling, just make sure that you are not engaged in a judo clinch when you try to do this, and work quickly for the legs, as that will be where you probably catch your opponent.

Just general thoughts on takedown defense, but remember that it's not all about getting to the top right away with this move. It also sets up a nice set of submissions, including a spinning kneebar/toehold and a calf slicer.
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Old 02-04-2008, 09:56 AM   #126 (permalink)
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This entry made me think of the Ultimate Fighter episode when Rich Franklin was telling Matt Serra to go into the fight on his knees. I never really understood what he was going for, but after reading this post I can't help but wonder if that's what he meant.

I like the creativity of this setup: presenting the backdoor sweep, available for a shot, can't be kicked in the head (in MMA at least), it's a good perspective. The only thing I wonder about is: if the opponent is significantly taller, aren't you giving him a stronger base by allowing him to push with his legs whereas you can't ... while on your knees? It almost sounds like a move that you have to be prepared to immediately react to your opponent instead of offensively take action (i.e. - if he steps back shoot asap so you don't eat a punch, if he leans in sweep asap so he doesn't gain too much control for a takedown/pass).
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:27 PM   #127 (permalink)
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This entry made me think of the Ultimate Fighter episode when Rich Franklin was telling Matt Serra to go into the fight on his knees. I never really understood what he was going for, but after reading this post I can't help but wonder if that's what he meant.

I like the creativity of this setup: presenting the backdoor sweep, available for a shot, can't be kicked in the head (in MMA at least), it's a good perspective. The only thing I wonder about is: if the opponent is significantly taller, aren't you giving him a stronger base by allowing him to push with his legs whereas you can't ... while on your knees? It almost sounds like a move that you have to be prepared to immediately react to your opponent instead of offensively take action (i.e. - if he steps back shoot asap so you don't eat a punch, if he leans in sweep asap so he doesn't gain too much control for a takedown/pass).
It might be, though I think he was talking more about exploiting the kicks and knees to the head rule, where as I'm trying to avoid that need altogether. If an opponent throws a knee or a kick, the low center of gravity makes it easy to go for the other leg and catch an easy takedown. While this is considerably harder with knees, it's still very functional.

This is definitely a heavily reactive position, and it requires some reflexes and alot of practice.

As for dealing with a taller opponent, you are going to be coming up under him even more, so it actually gives you considerably more leverage, allowing you to get your legs under you even more and go right through his torso.

Personally, I've never had a problem with height fighting this way, and my opponents and training partners are generally taller than me (as is the Judoka I was originally trying this on). The point is to take his legs away, either with the leg-grabbing takedown or the sweep, so I don't think it should present any more of a problem than you would have standing up.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:10 PM   #128 (permalink)
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Eddie Bravo on the Squeeze

Okay, so I just wrote an article on the re-emergence of the BJJ blackbelt and why they matter in the sport. There are alot of reasons why the style has come back, but "the squeeze" is one of them.

Bravo sites Marcelo, but there are alot of the blackbelts that are really fluent with this stuff. Still, Eddie Bravo knows his sh*t, and the guy's hysterical.

Here's the video.

I've been practicing the squeeze the way that Bravo suggests it for a long time, though I didn't know that other guys use it, and it definitely works.
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #129 (permalink)
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What do you recommend for practicing avoiding damage from the bottom?

The reason I ask is the other night we were sparring full contact with gloves like this:
125.jpg
Stand-up was fine, but when we went to the ground, the guy I was sparring with was much better at striking from in my guard than I'd experienced before (primarily because we usually train either grappling or striking in a mutually exclusive manner). I was working for submissions and what not, but his relentless GnP kept him out of danger (aside from one armbar that I had really tight, but he hit me hard enough to get me to loosen it for just a second... and he pulled his arm out). This is a training partner that I generally consider myself comparable to when just grappling or just striking (although he does have a few years of experience on me... he had a bit of a hiatus).

Anyway, I was just wondering if you knew of some good drills to practice avoiding danger from bottom position (other than just working it with someone).
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:48 PM   #130 (permalink)
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What do you recommend for practicing avoiding damage from the bottom?
There are a few schools of thought on this, some of them take alot of time to really get good with, but most of them can be picked up pretty quickly, even if it takes a while to master it.

As far as dealing with a groundnpound from the guard, I've always found their to be three kinds of groundnpound, and guys tend to transition from one to the other a little, but mostly just stick to one.

There's the standing GnP. (a la Fedor)

There's the postured in the guard from the knees GnP. (a la most boring, slow wrestlers)

And there's the full forward, leaning in your face GnP. (a la a young Tito Ortiz)

Dealing with the first is very, very difficult without some practice and some clever little tricks that I've worked out, so I'll cover the first two first, and come back to that one, as I don't think it's the one you were fighting with.

From the knees GnP is actually really easy to stop, and the way I do it is with a simpler series of techniques. There are alot of guys who will tell you to go for the triangle, but as Eddie Bravo and many other guys who have picked up the rubber guard (and just generally a high, mobile guard) the efficiency is very low.

It's necessary to break down your opponents in a jiu-jitsu match, but if your opponent is going for the GnP, he's already solved some of that problem for you, which is to say he's already taken the hands off of your hips. This allows you to sit up and do my second favorite sweep in all of BJJ (my first is one I throw on from either the Jiu-Claw or omoplata position), the hip sweep.

Most guys will catch you before you are all of the way up in the hip sweep and try and put you back down, but this is really doing most of the work for you. From this position, as my opponent is trying to smash me back down, I swim one arm over and go for either the guillotine or the kimura.

I will say that I practice this alot, and I use it alot. In MMA matches, it works about 80% of the time. Against guys who have seen me do it hundreds of times, during sparring, it works about 40% of the time. Those are both really high numbers as far as finishing a match goes (or bettering the position, if you land a hip sweep).

Now even if you don't get the submission and finish the match. You're opponents groundnpound is completely extinguished, because you have broken down their posture. As long as you keep their chest against your chest, you're safe and set and can start working to get a triangle, an armbar, an omoplata or a gogoplata. (I usually work the last two, because I find that their easier to set up against groundnpound opponents who don't have great jiu-jitsu)

As for the full forward GnP, that one is pretty easy. Just go for double underhooks and pull him on top of you, and you'll be fine. You shouldn't have any problems for there, but if he does manage to get his hands in and starts to posture up, just revert to the defence for the first style.

The third one, I said was the hardest, and that's the absolute truth, because it really requires a firm knowledge of the spider and butterfly guards and the counters for standup passes. I know that most gyms teach the fundamentals of this stuff at the white belt level, but getting it to the level where you can handle a standing opponent is something that not even some blackbelts can do.

Sometimes, it's safest to try and just upkick him, if your rules allow for it. In fairness, though, that isn't always a possibility, because it will make it difficult for you to fight him off and dodge his moves, and it will make it almost impossible to land a submission.

You also always have the option of trying to wait for a hard strike and then pull him down and hold him in guard, and if he tries to pull out of it, either go for the spider-guard style armbar or for the sequence I use for the knees GnP.

There are a few more sophisticated possibilities, and this has already been a long post, so I'll just list them and if you think there are any that you're interested in and have a hard time figuring out the details of, let me know.

Leglocks (Masakasu Imanari style)
Arm-catch to omoplata
Spider guard sweep (holding the arms)
Butterfly guard sweep (holding the legs)
Straight knee cracker sweep
Typical standup pass defence (either one leg control or both legs controlled)

Hope that was helpful. Just post anything you need clarified.
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