Friday, January 15, 2010

Points of Control

I recently had a private lesson with Ben. I have a laundry list of positions that I feel are either extremely weak or non-existent in my game. This private lesson, I asked Ben to help me understand some of the basic concepts behind controlling an opponent from side-control, north-south and knee on belly. There are probably a lot of details I forgot, but here are some of the main points I absorbed out of the lesson. I know it's pretty basic stuff, but that's all you're going to get from me! ;)

One of the most important things Ben taught me about side control is the need to keep pressure in the right place depending on what kind of side control you're doing: standard, high or low side control. He also made sure I understood that, as with any position in BJJ, you don't want to get somewhere and just sit there. You want to be able to move in that position.

The reason for this is that, no matter what position you're in, you can't control all parts of the body at once. For example, if you have a high side control, then you've effectively cut off the top part of their body from movement. However, their hips and legs are still free. You need to be able to move from high side control to low side control and vice versa.

So, back to pressure. One thing I had been neglecting was keeping pressure on the person's chin with my shoulder. Even when I was putting my shoulder there, I wasn't really putting pressure with it. The other thing was to make sure that, when I'm moving between high side control and low side control that I always keep pressure/weight on the person.

When you're in standard side control and someone starts giving you trouble with the upper half of their body--i.e. they get an elbow in or something--what he told me to do is keep pressure, post out with the leg closest to their head and slide my knee up their body, catching their elbow and sitting out. It is important when I'm doing that to sit out high. Don't just do it half way. Also, I have to keep my weight over their chest, not leaning back where they can sweep me or get hold of me with their legs.

When you establish high side control, your knee should come up in front of the elbow that you have beneath their neck. Again, keep pressure with your shoulder on their chin. You can use your other arm to either control their hips, block their leg or start working a submission.

For low side control, when they're giving you trouble with their hips and knees, sit out the other way, keeping your butt back. Use your arm to block them from getting half guard, but don't lock your arm around their leg. It's more of a barrier. Keep your weight over their chest and abdomen.

When establishing low side control, your knees will be one below their butt and one at their hips. You can roll the person to their side, controlling their lower half at the top knee and keeping your weight on them.

We didn't really focus too much on submissions from any of the positions we went over because there are just so many and--at least at my level--it really depends on what the person does when you get to that position. He was more focused on getting me to cement in the concepts.

From North South, the basic things he showed me and made me practice were transitioning between side control and north south, keeping one under-hook and one over-hook, keeping pressure in their abdomen and torso. Most of what we practiced here was moving from side control to north/south to side control on the other side and then knee on belly and then mount, etc, etc. A lot of moving.

For Knee on Belly, he pointed out that I need to "pop up" in one fluid motion and sit up straight and posting out my leg, keeping my balance. Whichever way they try to move, I should be able to follow without losing my balance or decreasing the pressure of my leg across their chest/abdomen. Ben warned me to keep the triceps, but not to commit by hooking the arm with my elbow--a bad habit I'd gotten into.

A lot of the time was spent on drilling, with me moving between the positions and him tweaking things that I needed to make tighter or little bad habits that I need to correct. Now to work on making all of these details into new habits!!

I want to have several more private lessons, but I plan to space them out over the next few months so I can try to implement what I learn in the weeks in between. Here's what I want to focus on in the next few private lessons:

Attacking someone who is turtling.

Below the waist defense and submissions.

On another topic, the elbow that I popped a few weeks ago is still giving me a lot of trouble. It seems to be getting more sore instead of less. Any of you have that happen when you popped an elbow? I haven't gotten arm-barred on that side or anything else in the last week or so. Any suggestions?


Jadon Ortlepp said...


Glucosamine and fish oils help some people as well.

Hope it gets better.

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks, Jadon!

Jiujitsunista said...

I too fail at many of the things you mention, but most notably, I fail at using my shoulder to keep pressure on the jaw.

I actually tried to work on that today when we did the side control drill, but I drilled with Mario, Ben and Phil... and of course Mario and Ben know what they are doing, and they kept rolling me right over. I found out what I was doing wrong,afterward when Ben was explaining the basic points. I was leaning too far over when I was using my shoulder... and if I lean, they roll. lol

I got rolled a lot.

I did get out from under Mario once though. But it was probbaly a pity out. LOL