Monday, January 17, 2011

Fundamentals Class 1/14/2011

So this was my very first "Fundamentals" class at Megalodon. My goal is to help our guys shore up the gaps between knowing a technique and being able to implement it as well as give new people a better foundation from which to learn the techniques in the main class. It's just so much easier to learn a new armbar variation when you don't have to stop every rep to figure which way your hips are supposed to move and that kind of thing. With that in mind I'm starting with escapes and moving from there.

I only had 4 people show up for this first one, my friend Will, one of our blue belts Ian, and Ian's two kids that train with us sometimes. I started out by showing them a mount escape that we don't go over very often in class called the Hydraulic. It works by bracing your hands on your opponents hips, then upa and stiffarm your opponent above you. You can then dump them to the side, go out the back, or pull your knees up and go to butterfly guard. It rarely works that way in actual rolling though, which was my point about escapes today. I wanted everyone to get used to their escape attempt failing, or not working 100% the way it does in practice.

I then introduced the idea of framing as a discrete concept. The idea has always been there in a lot of techniques that Casey shows, but most of our guys have never had a class where framing is specifically addressed. I explained how to setup your frame from the bottom of mount and how to use a combination of framing, the hydraulic, the upa, and the knee and elbow escape to generate a mount escape against a resisting opponent. I talked about not giving up progress and staying off of your back and we practiced a lot of escaping mount. This is something that I'll be revisiting multiple times over the next month.

After that Ian asked about guard retention and since we only had a few people there I showed the Damien Maia guard retention tips about keeping parallel and pushing the head down on the same side as your opponents body as they pass. We played with that a little and then the regular class started.

We worked on De La Riva guard sweeps. The first involved blocking the leg and isolating the far arm to trip them over your leg. The second was for when the strip the grip off of the far arm so you situp, pass the arm under the leg, and stand up to dump them over. The third was, again, the farm arm grip gets stripped, so you put your foot in their side, stretch them out, and then transfer their leg all the way over their arm until you are in a kind of butterfly guard from the back, then grab their belt or gi and kick their legs out while you pull. Very slick way to take the back when it works.

Positional sparring from feet on hips spider guard. I swept a bunch of people mostly. It's all kind of a blur.

Rolling was with super tall guy and Will. I had my intensity dialed up a little for some reason and kept tossing Will around and then taking his back in scrambles. I think it's just my focus on my upcoming Gong Sau causing me to go a little harder than normal. Fun times, fun class.


  1. Cool - not sure if you mentioned this already somewhere, but how did the teaching gig at Megalodon come about? Did somebody ask you to do it, or was it a suggestion you made?

    Either way, I'm always interested to read how people structured their classes, especially if I get to see how they do it from the beginning.

    Also out of interest, are you therefore one of the higher grades there, or just willing and able to teach?

    I'd forgotten about that gong sau: reminds me to go check on the relevant thread on Bullshido.

  2. We've got 2 purple belts, and like 6-8 blue belts. I've got more training time than the other blue belts, so I'm sort of a senior blue belt I guess.

    I was talking to the purple belts about having a beginners class and Casey said we could do it as long as he didn't have to do any more work for it. I'm willing and able, so I volunteered.

  3. Do you get any training in yourself for that class, or are you wandering around correcting during drilling, then observing during sparring?

    Although if you weren't asking for a beginners class in order to work on your own fundamentals, that presumably wouldn't be an issue (and I guess you get to improve your fundamentals by carefully working out and then running through the syllabus, to an extent)

  4. When we don't have enough people to be evenly matched up I do roll some, and I always drill whatever it is we're working on some with each group to help them. So so far I have usually gotten in some decent reps of each thing. Mostly I wanted there to be a beginner class to help close up a bunch of holes I was seeing in our white belts. A lot of them would really benefit from just having the links between different things demonstrated for them. That way they will advance faster and be better training partners for me in the main class.

  5. That makes sense: going by the numerous advice posts you've made across the blogosphere, I can see how that would be something you'd want to do within your own club too.

    There was also that good post by jnp on it in the best thread of all time.

  6. Yeah, I do tend to dole out a lot of advice. Hopefully it's all well received. I just THINK about BJJ so much that I find myself with answers and approaches to a lot of questions.