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1/25/16 - Keep Moving, Self-Defense, and Scissor Sweep

Monday January 25th 2016 - Gi Training


Keep Moving. Don't let your opponent settle.

This morning, I went in to train Gi. First, I rolled with my old friend, Nick Thompson. At a few points during our roll, I made the mistake of letting him settle into side control. My mistake was made before he gained side control though. Nick was able to pass my guard by settling his weight on my legs. I let him settle his weight on my legs feeling confident that he wouldn't pass just because he wasn't making any big or fast motions to pass. As his weight settled onto my legs, I could feel my legs fatigue after a while. As my legs slowly burned out, he was able to settle his weight lower and lower crushing my legs underneath him more and more at a slow pace. It was this slow pace which made me feel safe; not threatened. However, as he slowly sunk lower, I went from fighting a neutral battle to fighting an uphill battle. I was losing the space that I would need to retain my guard. After a while, he was able to pass.

My 2nd big mistake here was that once he was passed, I accepted it. My confidence in my guard recovery made me get complacent. I allowed his weight to settle on me in side control. The same concept applies here. By letting him settle, he slowly was able to get a stronger and stronger position. He was able to move his arms exactly the way he wanted, get his weight distributed just so, and this made escape incredibly difficult. To keep this from happening in the future, I need to never be complacent. My confidence in my guard was my downfall here. I need to move. And not just move my legs, but I need to move my hips too. I am so good at getting my flexible legs in front of my opponent that when my legs are beat, I forget that I can still move my hips (because I rarely work on moving my hips.)

Lesson: Start the fight right away instead of getting complacent and allowing your opponent to get to a position where escaping is an up-hill battle. Also, Learn to move your hips instead of just your legs and knees. Plant your feet on the ground and Shrimp Dammit! Shrimp!

Self Defense. Be conscious of potential strikes.

As a Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I get so caught up in sport specific Jiu Jitsu techniques and quite often I forget to think about self-defense. Even though, I was in a gi, I was asked to train nogi with the fighters today to make for even numbers. I embraced this and used it as an opportunity to work on my Self-Defense. I made sure to tell the fighters and I didnt mind if they punched me.

I started from guard which is widely seen as an inferior position in fighting because the guy on top can add gravityand more of his body into his punches. When my training partners were standing up, I made it a point to jab at their knees with the bottom of my feet. By doing this, I was controlling the space. I made it difficult for him to stand within a range where he would be able to get several strong punches in. When he did finally come in for punches, he had to come it kinda hard to avoid my kicks to his knees. This was a perfect opportunity to lock up closed guard. With closed guard locked, I could pull him in with my legs and arms. Once I was able to break his posture, I made a point to wrap an overhook around one arm, this makes it impossible for him to effectively strike me with that arm. With the other arm, I would either grab the wrist, or I would place hand/wrist in his bicep, and use my fingers to wrap around his tricep. This way, my hand stopped the arm from come in to strike me, and my fingers would keep him from pulling the arm away to wind up for a strike or navigate around my defenses.

Lesson: When punches are involved, 1st - Control the space, 2nd - control the posture, 3rd - Control the arms/hands. It's all about control when it comes to self-defense.

Scissor Sweep. Trying to improve it's effectiveness and efficiency.

For the last couple year, I have really developed an appreciation for the basics in BJJ. For a long time, I have been trying to figure out the best way to do the scissor sweep, and I always feel that I come up short. Last night, I took some time to meditate on the scissor sweep, and after thinking about body mechanics and what makes the sweep work, I may have found a better way to make the scissor sweep work for myself. I was really excited to drill it today.

I grabbed a training partner after rolling, and wanted to try this method. The problem with the scissor sweep is that it's incredibly difficult to get the person up off of their heels which means that they are too heavy to sweep. We are often taught to stretch the person out using the knee, but this doesn't help get their weight up. If anything, it just moves the weight that we are trying to move, further away from source of the power for this sweep (Our hips). Instead of pushing him away, I want to get his weight up off of his heels. Some people teach that you should pull him forward with the collar, but trying to lift your opponent's weight off of his heels if difficult with just one arm gripping the collar. So my new thought was this: If I pull him DOWN, perhaps I can get the opponent's weight to settle on their chest and onto me which would bring it off of their heels.

So when I get in scissor sweeping position, I used my grip on the collar to pull the opponent's head and chest down on top of my stomach. this brought their weight forward and made his hips and legs lighter. When I felt all of his weight on me, this is when I executed the sweep. It worked quite well for now.

However, I asked my partner to resist, and when he did, this made it hard to pull his posture down. I fixed this by coming up into him. Once in sweeping position, I would sit up, head-to-head, and I would lock my arm in place, and this would fuse us together. Now I would use my foot that is still on the ground to drive myself back down and pull him with me. I would pull his upper body down, folding it over my knee, which made him super light and easy to sweep.
I also want to note that I changed my knee position. Instead of putting the knee straight across the stomach parallel to the ground OR instead of placing the knee in the sternum, I placed my knee in more of a vertical position (probably 70 degrees or so) and I kept my knee low so the point of my knee was in the suft spot of his stomach right below his rip cage. This made it easier to break his posture by being able to fold his body over my knee. When I pull all of these details together, I felt that my scissor sweep was greatly improved. But of course there's still nothing that makes a scissor sweep work quite as well as great timing.

Lesson: To make my opponent lighter, I pull him DOWN. By breaking his posture and pulling his weight DOWN and forward onto my stomach, this made his lower body much lighter. Also, place the point of the knee in the soft spot of his stomach (right underneath the sternum), this makes it easier to "encourage" your opponent to forfeit his posture.