4/15/16 - Passing knees first, side control pressure and dominant control,
4/15/16 - Nogi
Passing - knees first
Once again, I had the pleasure of rolling with the one and only Nick "The Goat" Thompson, and I seem to pick up something each time I roll with him. This time, I picked up something that he was doing to me, I tried it myself, and it worked great.
I was playing open guard with Nick, and I realized that I couldn't reach down and grab his feet. I reached down to wrap my hand around his heel / ankle, and nothing was there even though he was very close to me and putting pressure down onto me. When I analyzed what he was doing, I saw that he was driving his knees forward, but his feet were still far enough back to be out of my reach. He was standing with his feet back away from me, and then was doing a deep knee bend, driving his knees forward until they made contact with my shins or legs, and he was able to keep pressure on me or stay tight to me while simultaneously neutralizing my attempts to start a DLR guard or even grab his legs. Not only could I not grab his ankles to establish a guard, but his knees driving forward on my legs was preventing me from sitting up too so I couldn't try to establish a butterfly or sit up guard. This positioning effectively neutralized most of my guard options with Nogi. It was awesome. I tried doing this myself in some later rolls that day and it worked quite well. I don't have any specific go to passes from that yet, but I know I'll find some. I am going to experiment with this a bit and see what comes of it.
Tight control and pressure from Side Control
Another partner of mine requested that I start in top side control and just try to hold him down because he would be fighting a wrestler in a couple weeks. Of course I obliged. Rather than play a traditional side control with my knees in close to the body and resting on the mat, I sprawled my legs back keeping everything off of the mat except for my toes. I also used the traditional head control / Underhook combo for the pinning position. My hips were slightly tilted to have my hip and leg that's closer to his hips sagging a little lower to prevent the shrimp back to guard. None of this is groundbreaking, but I rarely play side control to hold, so it was a good changeup for me. One thing I did learn new in this process was a trick I started using that really worked to keep my head low and tight to prevent his arm from being able to sneak in front of my face. I looked toward his face, away from the arm that he would try to get in front of my face, and I drove my temple down hard, tight, and snug against his shoulder. The roundness of his shoulder fit perfectly into the divot of my temple and provided a nice tight seal between my head and his body. And then obviously I make all of the necessary transitions to retain the position. if I felt his near arm start to push my hips, I let go of the head and used that arm to pull his arm up so I could side my back leg through. If he tried to roll into me, I braced with my foot. If he tried to roll away I braced with my underhook arm. I was able to hold him like this for a long time, and he's a pretty solid grappler too. Then when he was trying to roll away one time, I let him roll and took his back. Now I need to figure out how to combine this tight control with also being able to attack submissions WITHOUT SACRIFICING any pressure or tightness. I'll have to practice!