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2/19/16 - Working my Nogi Open guard (as a continuation of the lesson I learned last week) and being concerned with self-safety

2/19/16 - Friday, Nogi

Nogi Open Guard

Last Friday when grappling, I was once again struck with the realization of the difficulty of playing open guard when training Nogi due to the lack of grips which leads to an inability to control your opponent and the space. So today when training, I made it a point to close the distance on anyone who refused to engage when in my Nogi open guard. Once again, I'd be playing Nogi open guard and my training partners would keep their legs and feet far away from me, bend forward at the waist just a tad, and lead with their hands. I'm not complaining really as this is a great way for them to come in that is safe for them and makes this difficult for me, but it can make it hard when the guy refuses to come forward in an attempt to pass. Many people attempt to pass around on the outside while keeping this distance, but the thing is, these leaves too much space for them to keep me from re-guarding so if I allow them to continue to do this, Nobody advances in position.

As an answer to this, I would scoot forward on my butt toward their legs. They often back up, and I'd have to continue to scoot forward. It turned into me chasing them around the mat from a seated position, but this put the pressure on them to engage. Eventually if they ever wanted to even attempt a pass, they would have to try to move forward (or at least stop moving backwards) which gave me a chance to grab their leg. I have some techniques from this position, but I want to develop more and become more proficient in this position. I used to do stuff like this all the time before my back surgery, but ever since then, I've tried to not put myself underneath my opponent. I'm going to continue to play with this and see how my back handles it.

From this position, I can work going underneath to Xguard (a fantastic position), I can shoot my leg through their leg for single leg X, or I can shoot a leg through and settle into Curu Curu guard (which I'll admit I'm not all that well versed in yet. Another option I have from grabbing one of their legs is to clamp down on that leg, try to come to my knees and wrestle for a single leg takedown/sweep or change to a double leg. Whatever technique I decide to use is going to be a good learning experience as I continue to work on this kind of game, and it's going to make it difficult for my opponent to maintain his balance when I'm directly underneath him messing with his base.

Self-Safety

During training today, I was working my same kinda stuff sliding forward on my butt to grab a leg, but my last couple rounds today, I was going with a white belt who is fairly spazzy / jerky (which is common for white belts, but this guy seems to have it more than others). Just to give you an idea, even his "hand slap, fist bump" is super aggressive. When he fist bumps, he literally punches my knuckles. Every time after that, my fist bump was an limp open hand as he'd punch my palm (Paper covers Rock! I win!)

Anywho, I always start in my guard and this guy would start standing (as most people do at the Academy), but just by the way he was moving, I knew that any attempts to pass he makes are going to be explosive and unpredictable. Now I don't know if he was going to try to dance around the outside or if he was going to come up the middle with a hard knee slice attempt. But I was conscious of the fact that if I scoot forward on my butt and he reacts by trying a hard kneeslide, I would likely get a face full of bony knee. As a safety measure, when I was in this position, I keeps my hands up by my eyebrows and forehead to ensure I didn't get cut. Luckily, he didn't come forward hard too much, he kept trying to back away mostly. But I remember being so conscious about it that it is worth putting in here. I kept pressing forward, grabbing his leg, and using this position to sweep, get on top, control, and ultimately submit.

*Important things to remember* I have to remember that as I slide forward and hug my opponent's leg, I have to keep my head tight to his thigh to keep him from being able to wrap my head for either a guillotine or for control. Another thing I have to remember is that from this position, I have to keep my body position leaning forward if I'm to sit in this position for any amount of time, otherwise a strong grappler will drive foward, put my on my back, and begin passing with hip pressure and knee slice / variations.

Still can't deal with Volkmann

I have to figure out a gameplan for people with this grappling style. He presses forward, which I thought is what I'd want because I can grab hold of him and attempt to sweep. But his hip pressure is crazy strong and the way he is able to use his knees to control my legs is so effective. If I'd grab his leg, he would drive me down onto my back as I described in the previous paragraph. I JUST had an idea. What if I scoot forward and wrap his leg with 1 arm and then use my other arm as a post on the mat to keep from being driven down. And I just remembered that he told me I can't sit there and try to engage, but that I have to get to my knees or stand up immediately. He said I won't be able to get underneath to Xguard on him. I'm not sure why. If I drill it and contemplate on it hard enough, maybe I'll find a great Xguard entry and be able to mess with his base. Stuff for me to chew on... (and you as well. obviously anything in my journal can translate to anyone else's game or training, so give it a shot!)