Monday, February 27, 2012

Rolling No-Gi with Casey!

I guess everyone was super hungover from Saturday night because no one else showed up! That wasn't my excuse though. Their loss anyway, because I got some great practice in rolling with Casey.

I went over some tips on how to secure the rear-naked choke when your opponent is fighting tooth and nail to keep your arm off their throat. Pretty much, I'm going to need to AGGRESSIVELY slide my arm across their neck if I want the choke. I guess I'm too complacent. The RNC is a super important, bread and butter submission and I want to work on making it high percentage for me. This means going for it whenever I have the back. Nothing else. No collar chokes, no armbar transitions, just being patient and fighting for it. Some tips included trapping their arm, which I'm capable of doing but I need to do it more often. Monkey-pawing the non-choking arm and keeping it out of the way, then forcing your knuckles across their throat and looking for the palm-to-palm or bicep grip. Also remember that if necessary, you can pull the non-choking arm out and look for the choke that way. Finally, if they try to slide out of back mount over your choking arm, you can lock arms, let them slide out and pull around for the arm-triangle.

Rolled for over an hour and just felt super smooth, technical and dynamic. No injuries and my mind felt clear. Played a lot of butterfly and De La Riva and actively looked for the hook and sickle sweeps. Tried some X guard but I'm pretty incompetent there. Overall it was a great night of rolling and I definitely see a difference rolling with Casey now. Biggest thing: not as intimidated and not feeling nearly as out of my element as I was a year ago.

In related news, this all took place at the all new Megalodon MMA in Watkinsville. Yep, our own gym. We have the ring set up, dressing rooms, locker rooms office space and a kiddie area. It's awesome and in prime location in the heart of town. Definitely gonna get some high school wrestlers in there to choke and armbar. Can't wait! Zebra mats should be coming in today, and I'm sure my knees will be less bruised in the long run. Super excited to never go into Athens Tae Kwon Do again. Stigma! "It's not a TKD gi, I actually use it to choke people!! I train in a real, practical martial art! I swear!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Advanced Gi Half-Guard Techniques

We had a rather small class today consisting of me, Michael, Coe and Ian. Casey was sick and couldn't make it.

Started off with some armbars, triangles and omoplatas from guard to warm up, then Coe showed us some judo stuff. One could be used when you cross sleeve grip your opponent and gain access to their back. Reach around to their armpit and try to trap or trip their near leg. When they step back to avoid the trip, you can hook their far leg, above the knee with your instep and roll backward, ideally landing on top.

Worked some Lucas Lepri half guard techniques which I want to implement into my game. One was the lasso pass from "quarter guard" for when you're trying  to knee-cut pass and they turn into your trapped calf. You're pulling up on their same-side arm and lasso-ing your free leg around their head and dropping, then switching, your hips into side control. Second technique was if they under hook or bodylock your opposide side (not trapped leg side). You grip their arm and you can walk your free leg up to their neck and hit a monoplata, gogoplata or straight armlock. Final half-guard tech was if they're blocking you from lasso-ing your leg around by grabbing gi material. Underhook that arm and cross face, dropping your weight and releasing their grip. You can then knee cut over their belly, switch your hips and take side control.

Rolled in a gauntlet and managed to hit the double underhook pass twice. Boa!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Standing Guard Passes and Top Game

It's all about the standing guard passes. I've been having a ton of success with them, and although they can still be very sloppy, I'm making them work more than ever before. Consequently, my top game has been improving. Better side control, easier time maintaining mount and less struggling for control in top half guard. I've been working wrestling a lot more thanks to Johnny's instruction on Wednesdays, and it's translating to me feeling more comfortable with takedowns and transitions from guard to single-legs. I've been securing back mount much more as well. Thing is, my attacks from the back are not where they should be. I need to work rear naked choke, collar choke variations and the occasional armbar transition.

I've noticed higher percent Torreando passes and double-under passes. The former will sometimes allow me to pass to side control or knee-on-belly, but the latter is harder to finish into side control. When I do get it working, I can usually scope out a path to their back by driving their hips away with my shoulder. Nothing wrong with that, though.

Sweeps from guard have been getting better. I've committed the opposite scissor sweep variant to muscle memory and it's been super high percentage lately. I want to integrate the hook and sickle sweeps and De La Riva sweeps into my standing sweep game and continue using the bread and butter ones for a sitting opponent.

So, the thing that's really glaring in my head right now is back finishes. Nothing else too major and I feel like my game has been steadily improving in nearly all facets.