BJJ 60 min
My brown belt instructor got me private lessons for Christmas, and we’ve just gotten around to finding time that works. The guy is another four-stripe brown belt, active pro MMA fighter and an instructor at another area school. I’ve trained with a few of their guys before and they were pretty decent.
We made this a problem solving session, looking to expand my escapes from positions where guys give me problems. First we looked at options from mount. I have a lot of success with trap-and-roll but less with getting back into a guard or even half guard.
First option we looked at was to keep them in low mount over your hips. Then hip on to your side, keeping your lower leg flat on the mat. Step your top leg over both your leg and theirs, scooping their ankle over your foot and locking into a quarter guard position. From there you can keep frames and tuck in tight to stuff their leg deeper into a half guard, then hip on to your other side and keep that top underhook, looking to escape or take the back from there.
Next up is a total goon move that I’m surprised nobody’s ever shown me. Keep them in low mount, hip them forward so they post their arms, then get your hands in their hips while still keeping your frames. Bridge BIG, then bench them straight up and hip out BIG to one side. This can get you back into guard or use the chance to get back to your feet or even knees, making it a scramble situation. People will bitch about this one for sure, but I like it as an option. It’s technique, but easily misconstrued as just “using your strength”. Well, tough shit, beanpoles. I’ll be practicing this one on big and small.
The next position we looked at is when guys lace their legs around your thighs and make a complete connection to your leg, letting them ride your hips and stay glued. Hip them forward big, keep your frames but get your palms on the edge of their hips, just like the goon move above. Bridge big, benching them up with your arms and at the same time stick your legs up in the air. Make their hips clear your knees and they will slide down in to a butterfly guard.
Note to self: I like this escape and maybe looking at options from butterfly guard will be good for the next private lesson I have with this guy. I don’t really have a butterfly guard game.
Last up was addressing grapevines, which is when they lace their feet around your legs to make a connection, posing the same general problems as when they tie up your legs. This basically turns into a pummel to free your legs, then work any other escape. This wasn’t new to me, but we did some positional drilling afterwards where he made me work these escapes and it was good to throw the grapevines in.
Next up was knee-on belly escapes. Nothing completely new here, just looking at details. I keep a stiff arm and roll to a side to shuck the knee off, which is solid. You can also do it with an elbow if you can reach. What you don’t want to do is push the knee off with your hand, which generally opens up space for them to collect your arm and walk-around armbar your or generally cause problems.
Additionally, I need to work on the grips of a single leg more. Really get them wrapped up with the far-side hand, and use the near-side hand to secure the grip. You can also knee pick them with your off-hand to help them go over. As they turn into you, keep walking around to their back and driving into them.
We wrapped up with some side control escapes. I told him how I have such high success with re-rolling, but I’m basically a one-trick pony when it comes to side control escapes. I have a really tough time replacing guard, so we looked at other ways to proceed but still making space. The re-roll is great and people have to respect it, but when they do they will often leave room for my hips to make space away from them. The key difference we looked at today was framing them off of your hard, hipping big and then just getting back to your knees or even your feet. Not unlike replacing your guard, but a different use of the space you’ve made.
I really enjoyed this session and I was really pleased with his ability to address the specific concerns I came in with. We both treated it as a problem-solving session. I was going to work on some stand-up with him, specifically getting to a safe position when being struck, but I accepted a new job yesterday and I’ll no longer be able to swing Wednesday night bouncing. So I decided to keep it fun and work on playing the game a little better today, and I’m glad I did. I’ve got two more shifts left and I’ll stay on staff as a no-commitment weekend backup who will probably decline most shifts if they’re offered.
I’m also in a position where this instructor’s school is now the most convenient for me to train at. I’m also in a position where training at my brown-belt instructor’s school is viable, but will involve a 100 mile triangle every workday I go there to train. My old school is most likely out, as it will make for even more driving and even later nights than either of those other two schools. Plus my instructor says he’s freeing up time for home training soon, so that’s always an option as well.