Jul 252012

This marked the first ever Tuesday class at Phantom BJJ at our new location in Covington, WA.  I was a little worried that everyone had forgotten when it got to be about 5:20 pm and I was still the only one there, but within a few minutes after that several others showed up ready to roll.

All together, there were 6 guys, including myself.  That’s a pretty good sized group, I figure, for the first time a new class runs.  Mark Whitaker ran the class, which included myself (also a purple belt), Owen and Aaron at blue belts, and Kenji and Matt at white belt.

We drilled some fundamentals with our partners, starting from under mount, we did a basic upa reversal into guard, where my partner would do a hip bump sweep into an armbar from mount.  After we did that for a while, Mark switched it up just a little.  After doing the hip bump, the guy in mount would then swing his leg over one arm and move into a triangle from mount.

After a few minutes, I showed a set up I used to use all the time but had kind of forgotten about, but it meshed really well with what we were doing, baiting with the armbar to set up a triangle.  Basically, we worked through the same flow, but once into mount, I’d work up to a high mount, and then move to S Mount position.  The white belts were sort of unfamiliar with the position, so I took a little time going over the transition to S mount, talking about the importance of staying nice and heavy on my opponent’s shoulder, and driving my near-side knee up as close as possible to his ear.  Then, when I’m ready, I move into my armbar.

The set up that I like really starts here.  My opponent is blocking my armbar by crossing his arms, which is pretty typical.  At this point, I stay really heavy on his head/face with that leg, widening out that knee while I use my other foot to push on his far bicep.  The idea is to get him thinking that I’m working for the armbar, and of course, if I get it I’ll take it.  What I’m really going to do, though, is eventually slip my foot through his arms while at the same time allowing my other leg to accidentally slide off his head giving him hope.  And we all know what Bane says about hope.  The typical response at this point is for my opponent to see an opening and start to turn up and into me right into my waiting triangle, which is usually a big surprise.  I like to finish the triangle with my opponent still on his side as much as possible, but if he does manage to turn his hips up, I can still finish the triangle as I would normally do it.

The guys seemed to like it, and after that we got lots of time to roll.  The only person I didn’t get to spar with was big Aaron, and I’ll freely admit that it’s because he was flagrantly fragrant.  I’m not into that.  Hopefully, he avoids spicy food before our next class.

As a bit of an aside, I’ve been training pretty consistently now since October after right about 1 year off.  Being able to help Bing open up his school and being a part of it during the infancy is really, really cool.  Bingo is going all out and we have a great core group of guys.  While BJJ is still a tough workout for a fat, old guy like myself, I remember again why I fell in love with the sport.


Mar 052012

Man, oh man!  Did you guys see that fight on Saturday night?  Holy cow.  Now, I want to say that I want to like Rousey in the worst way.  But her palpable arrogance is making it very difficult.

The point of this post, however, is to talk about the armbar.  I just want to mention a couple of things.  Please bear in mind that I’m not an elite grappler or a professional MMA fighter.  I’m a purple belt who likes the sport and has been arm barred more times than I can remember.  If you haven’t already, check out Ryron and Rener Gracie’s breakdown of the move.  Not only are they entertaining, but they’re very detailed.

A lot of people have talked about how she is doing the armbar incorrectly, but there’s a guy in my school who has always done his armbars this way.   To a casual observer, she has her feet crossed, making it more difficult to pinch her knees together and isolate the arm.

But I’ve rolled with guys before who have caught me in an armbar like this, and it’s not loose.  While I don’t know whether crossing the feet is critical, Rousey’s not being sloppy.  Rather, she’s widening her right knee out to put a lot of pressure on Tate’s head.  Tate can’t roll her hips over to get her knees up and stack Rousey and attempt what is a very typical defense (shown below).  This is a very common defense.

At the same time, she’s got her feet crossed right underneath Tate’s farside shoulder, effecitively keeping Tate from attempting what is a common, last ditch defense shown below.  We’ve always called this one the running man, because it looks like you’re running in a circle.  It’s called the coffee grinder below.

It looks like the one real opportunity for Tate to escape is in the window before her arm is extended, taking advantage of the widened legs to really drive her elbow to the mat.  My personal experience is that this is easier said than done.  With Rousey effectively controlling Tate’s head, she will have less torque in her hips to get the momentum necessary to clear her elbow and begin to come up.  She was successful the first time, but barely.

Ultimately, I’m curious what you guys think.  Has anyone played around with an armbar done in this way?  Or, perhaps more relevant, has anyone been armbarred this way?  What do you think?

My opinion is that it’s not wrong.  It’s different, with its own pros and cons.  And as with any different technique, there are appropriate ways to defend against it.  I’ll also say that I can’t wait for the rematch.  While Rousey certainly won convincingly, Tate hung in tough, and showed some flashes of brilliance.  Tate had heavy hips, scrambled very well and at one time had Rousey’s back.  There’s a brilliant rematch in the future, I think.

In the meantime, I think Rousey’s going to crush Kaufman….

Check out the full fight (while it’s still posted. I expect the following link to disappear at some point):