805BJJ Class 160: headquarters, toe, rolling

Greggo has family obligations, Mark is working, Christian is out of town, so they got Rick to teach the 6pm BJJ class. He had us doing an hour and more of headquarters drills. I didn’t even want to go today, because I’m feeling sick, but I had to get gas in anticipation of my new doctor appointment tomorrow, so I decided to drop in and maybe leave early. Well, that was a stupid idea.

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805BJJ Class 159: guard recovery via turtle, 2-in-1-out

Very small Thursday morning class today. Christian instructed, and he warmed us up with movement drills – shrimping, then cross legged shrimping, then cross legged shrimping to orthogonal turtle, then cross legged shrimping to orthogonal turtle to stepping up and shooting a leg through for guard but oriented perpendicular to your original alignment before the shrimp (also orthogonal).

The technique was basically to respond to an inevitable guard pass by hipping out to turtle and then shooting the legs in to recover some kind of guard. In the last few weeks, we’ve also learned that you can attack the legs from turtle instead of falling back to guard, or you can sausage roll out to reset. I need to practice all of these things. This is what I was asking Greggo about earlier this year and he showed us a way to boost them past you and take their back.

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805BJJ Class 158: flow rolling, side control, frame to knees to takedown to side control, gimp rolling

We had all 3 black belts on the mat, but Mark did all the instructing. First, he told us how to do threes in a flow roll. Each person gets the opportunity to do 3 moves, and then the other person gets a chance to do 3 moves. I paired up with Sergio, and we did alright.

Then we got to the move of the day, which was something to do from side control bottom (or in fact from when your opponent is about to pass your guard!). Basically, you build a frame, move behind the frame to get your hips out, hip heist to flip them over, reach for their knees and pull them as you pull your knees underneath yourself, then drive forward on your knees like a toddler, tipping them over along the axis of their shin. You can also get your knee in to make space, as though you were about to recover guard, but then spring the knee out as you flip your hips over and go to your knees. If they try to defend it by tying up your lower leg with their hand, you can just donkey kick it off and immediately spring back to your knees.

So then we rolled. I stuck with Chris except for the last 2 rolls, when I went with Jeremy. Chris has some slinky moves, and we sort of flowed around and were relaxed. It was good, and he reminded me how to do the damn butterfly sweep. You see, you have to lift the underhook and the leg on the same side. Duh! I was trying to lift with an overhook. It didn’t work.

Anyway, I pulled off the move of the day on Jeremy! Coming back the other way, he almost finished me with a collar choke from guard.

At the end, Mark was enthusiastic about how well I did during the drills, and pointed out that I’m reaping the benefit of regular attendance.

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805BJJ Class 157: “flow” rolling, Q&A, leg locks, rolling

Mark taught this Saturday morning class. He warmed us up with a flow roll. Shabar paired up with me and proceeded to SMASH ME freakin’ hard, shutting me down and holding me down, not letting me do ANYTHING! Ugh!

Anyway, then he opened the mat up to questions, and he called on me first. I asked about basic leg lock defense, because Cowboy has been getting me with them lately.

Mark gave a leg lock history lesson, and bragged that he’s good at avoiding leg locks. Then he taught us a basic leg lock defense, only to discover that NOBODY COULD DO A LEG LOCK! We were complete noobs with the leg locks, so he had to teach us how to do the leg lock before he could have us practice how to avoid them.

Basically, he taught Ashi Garami, with one shin between your opponent’s legs to keep them stretched out, and the outside leg planted with the foot on their hip (also to keep them stretched out). The ankle is gripped in a guillotine grip. Finishing involves falling to your side on top of their foot, and then stretching them out, so that their foot tries to bend too far forward.

Mark also showed the calf slicer, which is basically a guillotine on the calf-achilles junction.

Escaping the basic foot lock involves hooking the outside foot off of your hip, monkey gripping the central leg to sit up and post on their now-removed ankle, and scooting your butt outside that foot. The final escape is sausage rolling to your belly and ripping your foot loose of their grip.

Then we rolled. Mark had intended to let everybody ask a question, but my question took too long to address.

I rolled with Shabbar and he crushed me again. He’s another of these guys that I can’t let get into side control. I need to practice getting the hell out of there whenever they start passing! Anyway, I tried to knee shield from my back and he cut through it like a hot knife through a cliche. Once I was under his side control, I was just waiting for him to get knee on belly, and then I was done.

I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.

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805BJJ Class 156: single leg defense, arm bar guard drills, triangle from guard drills, rolling

The Medina show! Christian taught this Thursday morning class by himself. We started with some pummeling, then some partnered kazushi, then some partnered hopping, holding our partner’s leg and keeping our balance. We used this to transition into single leg defense, where you hook a whizzer on the same side, turn to face parallel to your opponent, hook your foot to the outside, and kick your leg back and out.

That really hurt. We did takedown drills for a few minutes. Then Christian taught us the arm bar guard drill, where you rotate from one side to the other to do the arm bar. Then we did the similar triangle drill. We rarely do drills in our gym so it was a good experience.

Then we rolled. I went with Jeremy, Cowboy, TJ, Jose, Jeremy, and Jose again. The hardest was TJ. He arm barred me, then he got on top of me and tried his best to demolish me, but I survived the onslaught and was breathing heavily afterward. That left me gassed vs. Jose at the end. I did almost get his back from the 3/4 mount by doing the shoulder roll with the leg hook, but I didn’t secure the back quickly enough. Anyway, at least now I know that works. I also got rolled on my knuckles when I was trying to choke him out, and that still hurts.

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805BJJ Class 155: Bow and arrow choke, arm bar, rolling

Greggo started this Tuesday morning class with some flow rolls to warm up, then opened the mat to questions. Jose (who is new to the daytime classes) asked about finishing the bow and arrow choke, so we went over that.

We started the move from the side control position, with our opponent turned away from us on their side. Your top hand feeds the top lapel to the hand reaching under their head, so you’ve got a grip of their top lapel around their neck. With that grip, you slide your knee behind your head, while the other knee steps over their body and you sit on them, tucking the foot into their armpit like you would for an arm bar. With your free hand, reach down and grab their knee (either by the pants or by underhooking the leg). Leaning toward their leg, keeping your weight on them, you lawnmower your top leg to the outside and sit back and toward their legs. As your lawnmower leg comes around, hook it over their lower arm, to keep it out of the defense equation. Make sure to keep your elbow close to your body so they can’t easily move your arm off their neck. Then, to finish, pull back with your knee grip and your lapel grip to turn their body into a ‘U’ as you choke them unconscious.

If they do pull your arm off their neck, you can take that arm and do an arm bar. Hook the arm with your free hand, use your formerly lapel-gripping hand to push their head down as you slide down the pole of their arm/back, squeeze your legs together to secure their upper body, and hip in to extend the arm for the tap.

You can also finish the bow-and-arrow choke by stepping your shin behind their neck, with your knee inside your elbow, and stepping your other shin behind the belt to brace the hips, then pull the knee and the lapel to finish the choke.

Then we rolled…

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805BJJ Class 154: Don’t trust your neck, rolling

Mark and Greggo taught this class, and it was a return to the fundamentals of defending your neck.

We started with the standard collar choke from the back. The emphasis was on efficiency – feeding the collar firmly to the choking hand, then reaching horizontally across to the other lapel, which you pull straight down to finish the choke. You can also drop them to their side with the choking arm down, and put them on the rack to tighten it up.

Then we learned to defend it. We learned to use scissor fingers to intercept their hand and get a grip on some of their fingers, then go monkey bar on it. I got my left index finger tweaked, but it was mainly about the mindset. PROTECT YOUR NECK! I’ve been very guilty of trusting my neck lately, and I need to stop that.

We rolled some 3 minute rounds, and I managed to protect my neck, at the cost of two of my fingers. The right ring finger had a chunk gouged out by my own pinky fingernail, while the left index finger got sprained while trying to fight hands away from my neck. Good trade in a fight, but it’s going to require some healing before next training.

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805BJJ Class 153: guard resets through turtle and sausage roll, arm drag sweep, long scissor sweep, butterfly sweep, rolling

We had all 3 black belt instructors on the mat, and 3 students (Cowboy, me, and Jeremy). We learned a LOT!

We started out going over how to recover guard from turtle when you’re sprawled on. Get your head up on one side, step forward a foot on the opposite side, so you can shoot your other foot between their legs to establish half guard and keep moving to get to a more secure guard. The key detail I learned from today’s lesson is that you kind of flop onto your side in order to get that second foot through. If you need to hang out in turtle for a second, get a grip on their knees so if they try to go around you, you can follow them. The grip also helps you thread that foot through to re-establish your guard.

Next we learned how to use turtle as a transitional position when your guard is being passed. When they’re coming around your legs, you can brace their hips away with your far arm as you basically pull your legs back to turtle while facing them, then recover guard by stepping in on the same side you just stepped out of, only now you’re at a different angle and should have space to recover your guard. I need to practice this one a lot, because not only do I get into turtle a lot, but I get my guard passed a lot. It seems I can use the technique for getting out of turtle to recover my guard just as I’m losing it, which is great! Mark said it makes the top guy feel like he’s trying to wrestle an exercise ball when the bottom guy moves like this, and Christian does it all the time. I’ve felt that way myself (that Christian moves around under me like an exercise ball) so I found Mark’s report highly relatable.

Next we learned the small sausage roll recovery. Again, passing the guard, bracing their hip with your far hand, you drop that far shoulder to the mat away from them as you roll your legs into them to recover your guard. I felt super awkward with this one, but it’s basically like the baby granby roll that Andrew once did to me when he turtled. The first time I tried it, I rolled away and got my back taken. Don’t roll away! You move your shoulder away so you can roll your legs toward your opponent to recover guard.

Next we learned the big sausage roll, which I understood better. This is from a low guard pass, where they’re pinning your legs down. Now you’re framing on their head or shoulder to keep them from getting to your hips. From there, you’re flopping away onto your belly and pulling yourself away on the mat with your arms (like an Army crawl move) before continuing the roll to get your feet back in front of you. Cowboy kept insisting that I recover a better position than just lying on my back with my legs pointing toward my opponent. He’s right – I’ve got some lazy habits I need to work out, and this is one of them. I just lie back on my back. Instead, I need to sit up with my shoulders over or forward of my hips, with my hands up to guard myself.

Once we finished with the guard recovery, it’s a good idea to jump directly into a sweep as soon as your opponent settles into your guard, and the first sweep we went over was the arm drag. This is one I’ve learned before but it’s been a LONG time (2 years maybe?) so I was rusty at it. Basically, you get a cross collar grip with an open guard. The with your leg on the same side as the arm your cross gripping with, you put it on their knee to trip them. Then you yank them forward hard as you scoot your hips away from that leg, leaving it behind as a trip log. They come forward and have to post so as to not land on their face, and that gives you the chance to get on their back.

If that doesn’t work, you can do a long scissor sweep. This time, maybe they’re grabbing your pants. You’ve got their cross collar again, but now you also want to grip their sleeve on the same side as your collar grip (basically holding the arm by both ends, I guess). You kick off their knee grip by pulling the sleeve and kicking your leg straight, and then you fall to that same side so the extended leg goes alongside their leg. Your other knee will come up, and you bring it to your collar gripping hand, with your foot at the hip. Basically, like the regular scissor sweep, you steer them over with your hands turning the wheel, but because it’s long and they’ll be all stretched out from the pull, you’ll mostly be scissoring your legs to get them over. I had a good feel for this one already, and I even remembered to keep hold of the arm as I finished the sweep.

Mark interjected that both of these sweeps can be done with just the collar grip if you can catch the opponent at the right moment in the scramble.

So what if you come out of your recovery and they’re crowding you? Well, establish a butterfly guard and sweep them that way. Butterfly guard starts by sitting into them and getting a STRONG over-under grip. Especially the underhook. With your feet, you turn your toes up as you press your shins into their thighs to get them off their base and spread out. Then you can just fall onto your side away from your underhook, lifting their leg on the underhook side to get them to fall. Unless they’re basing their hands out to stop the roll, like Greggo did later, but I’ll get to that. You can end the sweep either in mount (where you’ll want to use your underhook to extend their arm above their mounted head) or in a modified kesa gatame with the far side underhook.

Then we rolled some short 3 minute rounds. I started rolling with Greggo, who let me start with the butterfly guard. I tried to do the sweep of the day, but he posted his hands. So I went to kimura one of his posted arms, and we rolled around until we got off the mat. It was a good roll, but purely instructional from Greggo’s perspective. He was letting me do things and coaching me the whole time, which I greatly appreciate. I know he could wreck me quickly if he wanted to.

My next roll was with Cowboy. He also adopted a coaching approach with me. Probably because I’m so bad, it’s obvious how I need to improve, but he was very supportive and helpful. He set me up for all the moves of the day. I did the long sausage roll escape and recovered into the long scissor sweep. Nice! He also coached me through the cross collar choke when I’m in guard, telling me to hang my upper body weight off his neck to finish properly.

After that I rolled with Jeremy. We started on the knees, and I pulled guard. He tried a standing pass and I pendulum swept him to mount and finished with a cross collar choke. Next time I also pulled guard, but he passed to side control. I was in the process of sweeping him when he said that he hurt himself trying to pull me over. Apparently his ribs have been broken and are a constant source of irritation for him now. I can relate!

Last roll was with coach Mark, who just lied flat on his back and let me get on top of him. I just had to submit him, and he was just defending. I went to north-south and grabbed his arm in a kimura grip, but he defended like last time, even though I was teabagging the shit out of him. I eventually let go and reset, going for the Mark-special paper cutter choke but he kept preventing my choking arm from getting a grip. So I failed to submit him, but at least I showed him a variety of techniques I was attempting. It’s odd that I’m trying to choke and joint lock him in order to show him that I’m learning the things he teaches.

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