T Nation

Another Just Started BJJ Thread

Whats up Gentleman,

So I just started BJJ at a pretty intense place. A hole in the wall with no AC and just wall to wall mats. They produced world champions and one of their guys won the most recent IBJJF New York open in the black belt division. Just mentioning this to give you an idea of the vibe of the place.

Anyways I rolled with their one purple belt. Seemed like a pleasant guy. Didn’t realize there were no classes and he encouraged me to stay anyways for open mat. Open mat was ran as five 9 minute matches. Switching to a new partner each time. I get to this guy and this guy knows or at least should assume I have no experience and he just turns up and locks up an arm bar and doesn’t ease into just cranks as soon as he has it. Which I am cool with but I thought it was a dick move. He doesn’t know me or my skill level. I rolled with the blackbelt and he was totally different. Now I have a bit of a wrestling background and I was holding back in regards to my explosiveness and strength of which I have because lets be honest these bjj guys get huge boners for wanting to beat the shit out of wrestlers. So I kept it in check and really just tried to work on the game like it were chess. No muscling or exploding out of positions. Now that wouldn’t have worked with the black belt guy but the purple belt possibly. I am not soft but I do think this purple belt guy was being kinda a dick.

Now there is a point to all this. This was gi and this purple belt guy loved to work from a position I would think is a modified butterfly guard. Instead of his shins on the inside of my thighs it was the bottoms of his feet. He had really good flexibility and he would grab the cuffs of my gi and just make it impossible for me to do anything and then transition into sweeps or submissions. I was super frustrated. Tried finding examples on you tube but everything I saw was from the actual butterfly guard. To give more perspective I was kneeled over but standing on my feet his feet for on the inside of my thighs and he had grips on my go cuffs. Any experience guys have a suggestion for had to deal with this situation.

No-gi here, not a whole lot of experience but…
In regular butterfly my first move is to sink down, trap the legs, pass, and attack.

If I think they can’t sweep or don’t have me real well, I try to slide a shin over their ankle, and pass or attack in a manner similiar to quarter guard.
Not sure if foot positioning would make these ineffective.
However, if their foot is exposed, you can grab it, go for Ashi garami or some other leg lock, and attack.

A lot of ppl don’t fuck around if you’ve nvr rolled with them, or go hard if u look jacked (ur a wrestler, look like one?) some ppl just roll hard. Tap early, outsmart them. If he’s a dick, take no quarter.

Go old school catch wrestler! Break out the Fearsome Step Over Toe Hold!

Or maybe

Well I am 5’9 195-200 lbs lean. I don’t think I am seriously intimidating looking but that could be a possibility but it really wasn’t like I wasn’t jumping all over this dude. I am not in the best cardio shape yet but I was so angry with being dogged like that. Right there I made the decision that I am gonna get him. He might tap me 1000 times first but I will get him eventually. A knee bar or ankle lock actually might have been a really good move to go to. I barely know them and I am not sure how the school would react to a white belt going for moves like that. Especially this guy. I don’t want him trying to snap my ankle for real.

Former judoka here. I’ve trained and competed in BJJ quite a lot so I have some experience about these matters.

The key is to neutralize his grip on your cuffs. Once he gets you into the butterfly guard it’s pretty much just a matter of time before he submits you.

Check out judo grip fighting clips and how to break the lapel/cuff grip. This should be enough to frustrate his early efforts before he can push with his soles into the butterfly guard.

Try combining a judo grip break technique with a simple guard pass technique to catch him off guard.

1 Like

To me your description seems like some variation of a Spider Guard or “Foot Guard” as we used to call it with a “cat’s claw” grip on your sleeves.

Breaking that grip can be a real pain if they know how to control it, but your best bet is this:

As far as passing Spider Guard, the shorter term answer is that there are numerous “explicit” techniques for doing so to be found on YouTube. Here is one of my favorites:

The longer term answer is to learn the “implicit” skill of guard passing, which doesn’t really require any focus on grips (yours or theirs), requires very little athleticism, and can allow you to pass any kind of guard that your opponent puts you in (without the need for any preset “techniques”).

1 Like

Also, everything grip-related by Jimmy Pedro. He was famous (or notorious, if you were his opponent) for his grip fighting skills.

^^^Pedro’s grip fighting stuff is outstanding! Definitely second the recommendation. Also check out Travis Stevens’ takedown stuff (one of Pedro’s students, Olympic Silver Medalist in Judo, and BJJ Black Belt under John Danaher) for some great grip based takedowns.

Hey mate. Purple belt here. 1st, don’t go for leglocks or foot sub’s if your not practiced in them as it is very easy to physically fuck people up really good with them. Often because of their reactions to them. 2nd it sounds like spider guard like mentioned before, but feet controlling your inner thighs throws me of. Are you elevated? Can you explain the position again some more?

I was standing he was on his back with feet on thighs and had my go sleeves. Really was hard to do anything. Yeah I am not big on them because I can see how leg locks an knee bars can hurt someone more easily then other submissions. Ironically this guy came by today very obviously from a wrestling background. Trying to go balls to the wall the whole time. First I thought shit I hope I didn’t look like that when I first came. Anyways I did a little roll with him and he tried to hit a foot lock and put all his effort into trying to get it. Fortunately for me he had no clue what he was doing so it had no effect.

Yeah that was amazing. I like how he mentions using technique versus strength. I used to be and still am a strong guy and wrestling or rolling when I briefly did it in the past I just muscled and bullied everyone. End result is I learned next to nothing technique wise and if I ran into a bigger bully then me I was screwed.

This time around I really am committing to trying to learn the game. If I am in a bad position I try to think what should I do technique wise to get out instead of just trying to muscle out. I am tapping out way more then I ever did but hopefully I will learn. Also letting people into my guard since I have zero skill in that area. I would always hit people with these blast doubles or Hi Cs and end up in their guard where I would just muscle my way out of submission attempt after submission attempt since I barely even tried to learn how to pass guard.

I am getting worked in this grip fighting though.

Its just an open guard variation. Can be a good set up for triangle or whatever. Sleeve grips on the GI are a pain in the ass. My go-to to break sleeve grips is an uppercut the roof kinda movement. Loop my hand around his, doing so adding tension to the gi , then punch upwards.
We do a lot of wrestling at my club, so this wrestler turned up got put in a kneebar and spun out of it, tearing His shit up in the process.

Breaking the sleeve grips depends on how they are gripping them too. IMO a “pistol grip” is much more intuitive to break than a “cat’s claw” grip, especially if they are using their thighs/legs to limit your mobility (like in a leg lasso). It also depends on if they are using a shallow cat’s claw (where really only the first couple knuckles are engaged), or a deep cat’s claw (where they are essentially in a punching wrist/knuckle orientation to your wrist).

Again though, unless the grip itself is keeping you from getting closer to your opponent/passing, focusing too much attention towards breaking it is a waste of energy IMO/IME.

Hmm, guess my gym has a bit different mentality. We encourage noobs to learn the leg lock game and to go for it since so many ppl ignore it. Any metamoris/Eddie bravo open legal sub is legal at all belts live. There’s even a few people who will nose/mouth smother, etc. coach just says ‘figure out how to beat it’

We’re also really small, and half the ppl have gold medals in submission only no gi tournaments, and most everyone else is super hung ho.

Ppl are also really wary of weird locks and tend to tap early on leg stuff in particular. Shit is real dangerous, a lot of times I sink one in on a teen, I let it go if they try to fight so I don’t rip their shit.

Yeah, we have a similar philosophy about leg locks. Coming from a mixed grappling background that includes Catch Wrestling (and predates the Gracie’s coming to the US/first UFC) leg locks were always a part of our system.

My instructors also taught “the Muffler” (what you call the nose/mouth smother) to Maurice Smith when they helped Frank Shamrock train him to fight Mark Coleman way back when. If you have good control it can be a great way to exhaust/tire someone out or even tap them. If you combine it with a throats squeeze from the back you can also get a strangulation out of it.

1 Like

Unless the guy is a badass, I generally always smother from on top. As a young dude, I can wear out most ppl.

Just curious sento, how much front split/middle split progress have you made

This is what I have been focusing on the last week or so. Especially middle splits. I’m appalled I have let my flexibility get so poor. Back in my day I could head kick without a warm up, now a tall person is safe from a bloody crutch kick from me!

1 Like

Middle Split flexibility has always been a weaker point for me, even when I was younger and hadn’t screwed up my mobility from years of “traditional” strength training work yet, I never had a great Middle Split (and it wasn’t for lack of trying as I would regularly stretch to try to improve it).

I still have by no means mastered the Middle Split course, but I have definitely seen noticeable improvements in pretty much every stretch in the series.

In the Front Splits course I am fairly close to mastering the various Pike stretches. Due to my proportions I’m not convinced that I will ever achieve say a “toe to chin” level of compression like some people are able to, but chin/foreahead to Shin is probably a few months away at most I would say. Pike has always been an easier stretch for me than Middle Splits though, so I had less far to go.

Hip Extension has also noticeably improved, but I still have a decent ways to go before achieving a full true Front Split. As Hip Flexor flexibility had become significantly compromised from too much quad strengthening, not enough (or no) true hip hyperextension work (partially due to false/bad advice that I had received from the Fitness industry) and as a result I had developed chronic ATP issues, I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made in that department so far.

The foot stretches can still be quite intense, but again, I’ve made significant progress with them and the squatted Seiza has really helped my relieve pain/regain mobility in my left big toe area which had been injured while training (actually getting demoed on).

1 Like

Thanks sento