Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shin-in-Throat Armbar *UPDATED*

I promised awesomeness regarding this technique tonight, but it will be delayed. I shall include pics and/or video as recompense for my lateness.


Ok, so I previously talked about this technique over on Bullshido trying to determine whether it was a viable technique or just something that was working on total noobs. Wednesday night I pretty much answered that question by tapping our senior blue belt who outweighs me by 70ish lbs with it. He was unable to pressure up against it because of my shin pushing on this throat, was unable to push my leg off of his head because it was secured on his neck, and was unable to pry my foot off with his other arm because my other leg was able to push against his elbow. Pushing with my shin allowed me to force him to release his defensive grip on the armbar to try to relieve the pressure on his throat, which allowed me to isolate the arm and finish the armbar.

I included this technique on my recent mindmap as an attack from mount and from guard. I was asked if it should be linked to the Omoplata because it is applied from an Omoplata setup. The answer to that is that it CAN be linked to the omoplata, but I rarely hit it from there. I most often hit this technique from guard only if my opponent postures up while I have their arm and am trying for a traditional armbar.
More commonly I hit this from the top. I go to the traditional armbar and then immediately rotate my hips and wedge my shin into the throat. I find it gives me more control and allows me to put more pressure on large opponents that normally are able to resist my armbar attempts via brute strength.
The pressure you can put on the throat is enough to cause SERIOUS discomfort because the shin is driving UP towards the top of their head as well as down towards the floor. The pressure ends up being applied to the area of the throat JUST under the jaw, if you press against that with your hand a little you'll see why it's so effective.
I've had a couple of people try to defend by reaching up and grabbing my foot to peel it off their neck. To stop that I use my other foot and stick it in their elbow and push away. This also keeps them from turning up into me to try to hide their elbow and escape.
If your opponent is strong enough they may still be able to sit up, if that happens don't worry. Just keep your leg extended and apply pressure on the arm across your thigh for the tap.
A note of caution, your leg is assisting this technique, so it applies more pressure than just pulling with your arms. People are likely to tap before you think they should.

This technique is great if you are a smaller, weaker guy who has a hard time breaking the hulk smash grip of your larger opponents when they are defending the armbar. If you are generally able to get to the armbar position, but can't finish it before your opponent escapes this is for you.
Step 1. Get to your basic armbar position from mount so that you are on top. I hit this from scrambles a lot when people stiff arm me to keep me from passing.
Step 2. Scoop your opponents arm with your arm that is closest to their feet.
Step 3. Turn slightly up on your side facing the opponents head and post up on your elbow.
Step 4. Rotate your foot so that your toes are pointing at your opponents ear. The closer to that exact angle you can get, the better.
Step 5. Open your hips and push your shin into your opponents throat.
Step 6. Start your grip breaking. Put your other foot on your opponents elbow or bicept and push, you should be able to angle the push so that it puts more pressure on your opponents throat. If this fails go to step 6a.
Step 6a. If you can't break the opponents grip and they haven't released it to attempt to defend the throat yet then take the flat of your foot and place it on the heel of the leg that is pressing against their throat. PUSH DOWN. This might tap your opponent here, but it will definitely make them release their arm.
Step 7. Now that the grip is broken use your other arm to hook their arm at the wrist and place your other leg against their elbow to keep them from regaining their defensive grip. Slowly work the arm straight against your bottom thigh.
Step 8. Remove your foot from their elbow/bicep and place it on the ground near their armpit. Use it to arch your hips up off the ground while you push the arm down for the tap. Alternately now that you have the arm extended you can switch to a more traditional armbar position for the finish.

Now, if you find that for whatever reason you just CAN NOT make them let go, no matter how much you mess with their throat you can scoop their elbow with your other arm, the one near their legs, and post up onto your hand. Work your way up to the mounted Gogoplata position and finish from there. I've yet to find anyone I couldn't get to release their grip with the shin in throat method though.

Illustrative pictures will be posted when I can get some taken.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Am Awesome

Last nights class we warmed up and then I ran the stretching for the class, flashbacks to TKD there. After that Casey showed a couple of solid halfguard passes. The one I always use and one other that I like, but am not as good at.
The first on is the standard one where you walk your foot up to their but, pop their leg off of your knee and push through to mount.
The second one is if they get the underhook and you can't re-pummel. You switch to a headlock grip and then back step over them, use your hand to block their hip to keep them from following you over, and then shrimp your hips away and take side control. I found that this one, which I don't use that much, flows very well into the Von Flue choke, so I've resolved to try to use it more.
We then did a third one which is favored by one of our senior blue belts, Coe, which involves jaw crushing and hip switching to push your knee through and take side control.

After that we did some halfguard rolling, top guy has to pass or sub, bottom guy has to sweep, reguard, or sub.
My friend Will who just recently started there did pretty well, he managed to reguard a few times against me, and was very difficult to sweep. His balance and weight management have gotten really good in just the last couple of weeks.
After that we rolled, Casey paired us up. I rolled with JC first and played catch and release for the most part, just being relaxed and casual about it.
After that I rolled with Brian who is a super athletic guy from the MT class whom I generally can control, but have trouble submitting. I've solved that problem and subbed him with my shin-in-throat armbar and with a kimura which I grabbed from long range halfguard and used to sweep him over, took head-mount, and finished. I was quite proud of that one.
Next I rolled with Coe who has been my nemesis since I started doing Gi. We battled back and forth a bit and I threw the saddle on him and got his base disrupted and had him stretched out good. He tried to hide his foot from me and I grabbed it and hit him with a toe hold for the tap.
He then crushified me with his mighty girth and choked me with something a couple of times before I managed to get him in the saddle again and went for outside heel hook, he moved his leg I went for the straight footlock, he moved his leg again and I got the inside heel hook for the tap.

I'm psyched about that as I have been totally unable to catch him or finish him in anything really. I have to give props to Zapruder for introducing me to the saddle and helping me add it to my game. It really gives me a ton of options from guard when I just can't get past the legs.

Finally I rolled with Judo for a bonus round and tapped him a few times, he managed to snatch a guillotine on me and catch me in guard before I could get around it, giving him the tap on that one. He's really explosive all of the time, half the time he just tries to jump into mount on me and I snatch halfguard and work from there. He also has great posture and good pressure. He's fun to work with.

I'm feeling great about my technique going into NAGA, my no-gi game is stronger than ever now and my Gi game is progressing rapidly. My bench press is back to 117 and I'll be trying for 123 tonight. Overhead press is at 87 and I'll be back to trying 93 on Thursday. Squats and deadlift are at 153 and I'm happy with that for the moment.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Refining My Game

Weightlifting is going pretty well, did 113 again on the bench Saturday because I was out late watching the fights and was already tired. Went ahead with 153 on the squats though and they felt good.
Jiujitsu last night we worked on takedowns, which I hate. I got one decent body lock takedown and got taken down a bunch of times. The guy who kept taking me down I ended up getting one time via trickery. I threw out a sloppy single leg, let him sprawl on me and grab a body lock, then I sat out and took his back for the "Takedown". Yeah, I know, Lame.

After that we played with star sweep variations which I like, had some fun with that. Then we rolled. I didn't realize it until much later, but I was really casual the entire class and still no one came close to putting me in danger. I also noticed that I'm constantly attacking. I rarely get defensive. Even when I'm defending a position I'm looking for a way to attack, I think that mentality helps me a lot.
I've also stopped my technique acquisition phase. I found myself thinking, "I need something new and esoteric to play with!" and then I thought about that statement for a minute and realized I was falling into the "BJJ is my Pokemon" trap discussed on Bullshido previously. I have plenty of techniques, usually 3-5 options from any giving position, and I need to be refining them. I've already been working to refine my guard passing and improve it, so now I'm approaching the rest of my game with the same kind of attitude. I plan on using the same handful of techniques over and over and over for the next few months to try to be unstoppable with those few techniques. I feel like that will be a better use of my time than learning new ways to setup the Gogoplata.

One place I'm still having trouble is avoiding the Kimura when I'm on halfguard bottom vs one particular guy. I experimented with a flexibility based escape, but found that I couldn't hook my leg up properly unless I could get my other hand out from under his body to work. I think I just need to change my halfguard style against him and stop going for underhooks. We'll see how that works out.

Oh, and because I want to make this a somewhat more technical blog:

Star Sweep and Variations:

When someone stands up in your guard the normal sweep is to brace on your shoulders, underhook both legs, break your guard, bring your knees together and push with your legs. Resulting your opponent falling over and you riding the momentum up to mount.
Well if your opponent stands up with one foot back, preventing you from hooking both legs you can switch to the Star Sweep. Underhook the nearest leg, put your other hand flat on the mat near your head, palm down, finger tips pointed down towards your shoulder (Like you are going to do a hand stand). Now push your hips up and load your weight onto your opponents leg/knee, causing them to lose their balance and fall. Again you ride their momentum up to mount.
If for some reason they aren't falling with your weight on their knee you continue the spin by kicking off with the leg opposite your opponents trapped leg and dropping into the turtle with their leg trapped under your arm. Now drive your weight back to put pressure on their knee and bring them to the ground, or stand up with the leg and do a single leg takedown.
KEEP THE LEG while you move to side control and establish your position.

Weight lifting again tonight, Jits on Wednesday.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Back to weightlifting and conditioning

Last night was my second night back lifting, I lost a little bit of progress but not too much. I had to drop my bench press back down to 113 and my overhead to 83. My squats and deadlift were already well under my previous lifts so I was able to continue increasing them. The squats are actually starting to feel heavy at 147.5. If I can avoid injury and everything goes pretty steadily I'll hit my body weight on the benchpress for 5x5 sometime in february, just in time for NAGA.

Speaking of NAGA we started conditioning at the end of class to prep for NAGA last week. Starting out with just 5 minutes of P90X style conditioning and gradually increasing to a 15 minute workout. I always try to get someone to roll with me for 5 minutes after the conditioning so I get a chance to try to work completely exhausted. Worked out well for me, went 5 minutes with the Judo guy that recently joined us and did quite well despite the total and complete exhaustion I felt. It was great.

My most recent technique issue has been getting out of/away from kimuras from halfguard and side control. Mostly halfguard since I can usually snag a leg and rarely end up in side. The guy doing it to me is hugely stronger than I am, so I've been working on finding something to counteract that. My most recent thought is to use my flexibility to counter his strength by kicking my outside leg up through his top arm, putting my shin in the crook of his elbow and using that to break the grip and turn it into a bicep slicer. I'll get my first chance to try that out tonight and we'll see how it goes.

Other than that I'm doin great, the Saddle has become a staple technique for me used as a sweep to get on top, used for setting up subs, and used to help me pass guard. It hasn't taken over my entire game, it's just become a very useful tool that integrates well in the rest of my style.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Heel Hooks and Gogoplatas and Von Flue Chokes, Oh My!

So I couldn't find my NAGA shorts for No-Gi night so I grabbed my competition Gi pants (The highly recognizable blue ones from all of my videos) which meant to keep my mental association consistent I had a "No Mercy" night and instead of letting people work on stuff and being all nice and whatnot I warned everyone and then went on a rampage.
The result was a bunch of heelhooks and gogoplatas alongside the normal complement of triangles and straight armbars and a solid Von Flue choke. All against guys 30-40lbs heavier than I am. It was hilariously brutal.
To add something slightly more technical to my blog I'm working on a takedown that is flashy and workable. Step one is to pull flying guard without breaking your opponent down so that they stay standing and you end up with your legs around them. Then you drop backwards and underhook a leg, brace your other arm on the ground release your legs and kick around so that you end up turtled next to your opponent with their leg secure uner your arm. Now stand up with the single leg and finish the takedown. I'll be practicing it Wednesday and might have video of it depending on how things go.

Progress has been excellent for me almost everywhere. My only real issue comes from guys who are 30+ lbs heavier than I am with similar experience levels. Which is reasonable.
Restarting Stronglifts 5x5 AGAIN tonight using 85lbs on the bench, sticking with 140 on the squats. Started conditioning for NAGA already, that gives me almost 3 full months to get ready for my first tournament as a blue belt. The goal is still to go undefeated. I'll see how that works out for me.