3/21/16 - Forcing Half Guard, escape side control straight into a sweep, and intensity
3/21/16 - Monday Gi Training
Forcing Half Guard
Today in training I decided to take another approach to guard passing. As we all know, there are many different forms of guards out there that can pose problems. Today, I was trying to focus on driving my way into half-guard, getting head control, flattening my opponent, and working from there. I decided to try this strategy because from that position, I know my opponent doesn't / won't have many options. As long as I can keep a tight head control and keep them on their back, it should only be a matter of time before I pass, and I don't feel in much danger of being swept.
This strategy worked well for me when it came to not getting swept; however, there was one common problem I was running into: I kept getting to 3/4 mount and had trouble freeing my foot. Now I have some options that work very well for freeing my foot such as turning their head so they are looking the opposite direction of the way their knees are pointing and crossing my knee over their body to finish as a cross knee pass landing in side control instead of mount. However, I had just watched an instructional where the object was to free your foot by placing the instep of your free foot over your opponent's top leg and prying your foot loose. Obviously this is nothing ground breaking. In fact, this is very basic. However, doing this with ONLY controlling and squeezing the head did not work well for me. The ways which the instructional showed to force your way into half guard and get to 3/4 mount worked well for me, but maybe I should take these strategies and mix them with my more effective strategies for freeing my foot from 3/4 mount to take full mount. I'm not saying I'm going to abandon the instructional strategy yet. It would be lame to give up on something just because it didn't work well the first day I focused on it. But if I can't figure it out, at least I have other options that I can use together with the first parts of the instructional to make for a strong passing series for my game.
Escaping side control straight into a sweep
Today, I started almost every roll by grabbing my partner's lapel and pulling them straight passed my guard and into side control so that I could work some escapes. While working my basic shrimping, I realized that after nearly every successful shrimp to guard, I immediately hit a butterfly sweep off of it. It was so smooth almost as if it was 1 continuous technique (which I suppose technically it was). I just want to jot it down here so I remember it is so successful for me so that I'll remember to drill it and refine it to being a weapon that I have at the ready.
If I was in side control with my opponent's hips to the right of my, I would shrimp my right knee in. I would get my right knee all the way across their hip and free my right foot placing them in guard. At the same time, Instead of using my left foot to wrap closed guard, my left foot would immediately follow my right foot underneath my opponent's hips and right away it would become a butterfly hook. As this happened, I also dug an underhook with my left arm and my right arm would wrap an overhook. I would use my right arm to suck their left arm in and underneath me. My left arm would elevate using the underhook to lift their body. My right leg would hook around the outside of their leg and would cut inside as though it were the bottom leg of a scissor sweep and my left leg (my butterfly hook) would elevate the opponent while driving them to the right. Not only would I get the sweep, but each time I would land securely in the mount position. Now that I've realized that I do this so well, it's a matter of breaking it down, drilling it, and really polishing it. If it was that successful when I didn't even really have an intention to do it, imagine how effective it could be after some drilling, focus, and intention.
The last thing that is really noteworthy from today's training was the intensity with which I trained. Today, I really wanted to try to simulate a struggle. I used strength. I used head control on my opponent and sqeezed. I put a lot of pressure down on my opponent. I used speed, and I made it a point to get off of the bottom ASAP. It was very tiring training this way, but I believe it was good for me. As martial artists, sometimes we focus on the art a little to much and not quite enough of the martial. Every once in a while, it's good to have a day or a couple days where you try to convince yourself in your mind that you are actually struggling for your physical safety. Doing this adds a certain level of adrenaline and intensity that you would experience in a fight that you don't always get in your day-to-day training. If you or your body aren't accustomed to this kind of mindset, intensity, or the adrenaline dump that comes with believing you may be at a risk of serious injury, you may be surprised at how your body will react and how different this struggle will feel when compared to your relaxed day to day training you do in the gym. I know that just 40 minutes of training with this kind of mindset strength use had me exhausted compared to the 80 minutes of grappling that I can normally do just fine. Not to mention, it's just fun to change up your training regimen from time to time. Switch things up and keep in interesting!