Feb 082012

funReally fun class tonight.  Small group.  Nine, including me.  with several white belts.   I covered class with Scott Y. tonight.  Bingo had to fulfill his civic duty.

After warm-ups, we worked a couple of basic techniques.  I showed the guys a sweep I like, the basic tripod sweep.  The following video is very similar to how I was taught.  First, I want to say that while I’m outlining some key differences below, I’m not suggesting that he is wrong and I’m right.  There are a billion minor variations, and I’m sure I could pick up details from people better than me.

There are a couple of key differences.  One of the things I brought up and Scott helped demonstrate is that when you get into open guard, whether it’s spider guard, de la riva or whatever, it’s really about creating openings through transitions.  You’re seldom going to move neatly from closed guard to spider guard to hitting this sweep.  Life just doesn’t work like that… at least not for me. 

Unless he’s giving me the ankle by driving a knee in, I tend to pull the ankle in with a de la riva guard, and then switch just as I hit the sweep.  It gives me a much better angle, I believe, to get the sweep to work. 

Another key difference is that I tend to be more underneath my opponent… not quite as stretched out. 

Finally, as I hit the sweep to the same side as the video above, I hook with my right foot behind my opponent’s knee instead of down low at his ankle.  That foot isn’t really lifting as much as it’s just blocking, and it’s going to be a lot harder for my opponent to just step over my hook if I’m up under his knee.

One thing I like about this video that’s also different is that he comes up behind his opponent in side control.  For whatever reason, as I ride my opponent up on the sweep, I tend to end up in a knee slide over into side control on the other side.  I don’t think it matters.  Just different.

Anyway, that’s a sweep I was taught early in my BJJ career, and I still use it all the time. 

Scott showed a slight variation to a straight armlock from side control when your opponent has his far side arm out of position around your head.  The key difference is, typically as you trap that arm and pop up to knee on belly, the opponent turns into you to relieve some of the pressure on his elbow.  That can make or break the armlock.  In this variation, you keep the arm trapped using your head and arm, and with the other hand reach down and turn his head away from you, pinning it with your knee.

Not a friendly technique, but as the head goes, so goes the body.  Forcing your opponent to turn away from you creates the proper angle to finish the technique.  Good stuff from Scott.

While I’m in no way looking or presuming to teach the guys much, I have to admit that the pressure of showing some technique on occasion is forcing me to up my game.  I joke with the guys that I’ve already shown them my repertoire of three moves, but the truth is, it’s good for my development to really think critically about what I know and what I’m comfortable sharing with the team.  It’s the cattle prod that’s forcing me to kind of up my game a bit and I’m confident that it will make me better. 

I’m pretty sore after class, but again, as with Monday’s class, I didn’t over work tonight and even though I’m still at about maybe 80% recovery after the pneumonia, I’m leaving class pumped up and anxious for the next class.  I feel like I did when I first started training… fully addicted.