Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Last night I had one of those "Aha!" moments while I was watching two of my instructors grapple against each other. Mario, my blue belt instructor, was trying to pass Fabio's guard. Mario was passing to the side and Fabio had rolled onto his side. I get into this situation a lot and what I usually end up stiff-arming, holding onto their legs and trying to get my legs up to recover half guard or full guard. The problem is, they come around a lot more quickly than I can and I can only catch up maybe half of the time. If it is a higher belt I'm rolling with, I don't catch up. They just pass. lol

But Fabio did something that never occurred to me. When Mario tried to pass to the side, Fabio rolled upside down on his shoulders, presenting Mario with an inverted guard. Mario had to then deal with Fabio's legs again. And when he tried to pass to either side, Fabio could shift his hips and turn more quickly than Mario. My jaw actually dropped when I saw it.

The funny thing is, I have seen Fabio do this a million times. He has done it TO ME in several grapples. But for some reason, it clicked for me tonight.

So, the next grapple I had after I saw that, I tried it. Fortunately, I was going with another white belt girl, so I had a fair chance. It worked!! She started to pass and I flipped upside down to an inverted guard. She just looked at me like, "Crap...what do I do now." Which is exactly what I do when other people do that to me. ;)

Small victory for the win!!

Now if only I can learn how to pass the inverted guard...grrrr. :)


leslie said...

Start trying the inverted guard more, especially with more advanced belts, and then see how THEY pass you. Then start trying that.

I usually try to get low to the mat and under their legs, and then slide in between their body and legs, going either to north/south or to side control. Generally, they respond by recomposing guard. All other options I tried ended up with me being triangled :-/

Dev said...

I was going to try to say something really intelligent and original, but Leslie beat me to it.

I have been working on inverted guard recently, and what I've found is that it allows me some flexibility to work the rest of my game. In line with Ryan Hall's most recent interview, I don't think I'll end up developing an entire game around it, but it has proven HUGELY useful in getting my hip movement a lot better.

As far as passing, Leslie's exactly right - I always try to get under the legs and aim for a north-south setup, which I like anyway. At the end of the day, if they reestablish guard, oh well. At least you're not any worse off. Just don't stick an arm through there. :)

Dev said...

Now that you made me think about all this stuff, check out this link - it's a really good breakdown of how Ryan Hall USED to use the inverted guard, which starts off as a way to avoid getting your guard passed.

Another thing I think I may blog about is the fact that I practice with my 6-year-old at home, and almost every time I either start in, or end up in, inverted guard, which has REALLY helped me with both flexibility and trying out new moves - he's sort of like a really, really junior white belt. It's nice because once I have the timing on going upside down with him, I bring that to practice and try it when I am working with guys I know I can get away with it on. It's led to me using it (just like in the website above) as an upside-down spider control against even senior blues and purples. It's not fail-safe, but it's become a pretty good move for me.

A.D. McClish said...

@ Leslie: I took your advice about presenting a higher belt with the situation and seeing what he did, but I didn't do it with the inverted guard because I didn't get the chance (or didn't see the chance). I tried it with another thing I was having trouble with--when I'm in side control and people curl up on their side and defend with their arms tucked in. Had to tap quite a bit, but I learned a lot! I'll try that same strategy with the inverted.

@ Dev: That triangle form inverted guard looks awesome!! Don't know if I have the skill for it yet, but hey, I'll give it a shot! ;) The thing I am finding right now is that I am not as mobile in inverted as I need to be. Fabio swivels around on his shoulders just as easily as other people swivel around on their hips. Guess that's why he's the black belt and I'm the white belt!!

Dev said...

Okay, answers to your questions:

- Love that reverse triangle video! How do you set it up from inverted guard? Feed one leg under an arm and close? How do you finish it? I just started playing around with inverted guard and I'd love to try it.

My best advice would be to find someone who has Ryan Hall's Triangle DVDs and watch the first 20 minutes, then check out the second disk, which if I remember right is setups for triangles. He specifically goes over the inverted setup.

If you can't do that, watch that video on aesopian again. It's a pretty good explanation. Here's how I see it verbally:

- Inverted guard, feet apart on both shoulders, sleeve control
- Bring both feet to one arm (above the elbow), sort of spider-ish
- Shoot the leg closest to their body through, then spin on your shoulders, bringing the other leg over their head.
- You basically end up in a regular triangle

As far as I can tell, if you start in the same spot (feet on both shoulders) and shoot the farther leg through, that should end up in a straight reverse triangle BUT I don't have the practice time to tell you honestly. I am POSITIVE there is a reason Ryan Hall spins back to a normal-side triangle instead, I just don't know what it is.

- Also, how did you move from turtling back into halfguard?

It's called a granby (sp?) - basically, if you're turtled, your opponent is going to be off to one side or the other behind you, assuming they're not trying to jam a hook in. Tuck that side arm underneath and come over your shoulder, legs WIDE. What you're trying to do is trap them between your legs, typically back in full guard. It's pretty high percentage, honestly. I'll see if I can find a video, but all I'm going to do is youtube it and google it, which you can probably do more efficiently than I can. :)

Let me know!

A.D. McClish said...

Hey, Dev, sorry I didn't answer your comment sooner. I just saw it tonight! :) I still have yet to land a triangle from inverted guard or to even attempt one, but I plan to try. Thanks for the advice on how. We'll see if I can put it to use!

As far as the turtling move goes, you actually go from turtle back to full guard like you said. Sorry my explanation was confusing. Man, it's so hard to describe moves without being about to show what you do. lol.

Thomas Hanna said...

One thing. That super screws me up when I am inverted is if my opponent grabs my pantlegs and backs up and pulls. Our bodies are not designed to shoulder walk in that direction, and so pulling them forces them to either spin out of inverted or back roll to turtle, and you can attack from there.

You can also go beneath their legs as Leslie stated, but make sure to pin their shoulders to the mat and drive your head into their belly. If your head is too low or you fail to pin their shoulders, you open yourself up to a back take similar to a north south defense.

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks, Thomas! I hadn't thought of that. Now that you mention it, though, it makes complete sense. Ben said to push both ankle down and pass to the side like you would in an open guard. I'm going to try both strategies and see if I can make any head way.