Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ok. You were right.

On Tuesday afternoon we worked a sweep that is set up when someone is passing your spider guard. You have one arm hooked with your foot and, as they pass, you triangle that arm with your other leg. Then, with the same leg you originally used to hook, you point your knee out, grip the fabric at one of their knees or ankles and lift, bringing them over. Sweepity sweep.

Nopity nope.

I had been drilling this sweep with a friend of mine, Erica, and we were doing ok with it. But then we decided to try it with "Salsa John", a solid, technical blue belt who is also Erica's boyfriend, to see if we were doing it right. I wasn't. I couldn't sweep him.

I thought I knew what the problem was. I was grabbing the wrong leg when it came time to lift the body weight and go over. I could do it with one leg, not the other. But even with the "correct leg" it was hard for me to bring him over and that was with him giving only minimal resistance. Had we been in a live grapple with him really trying, he wouldn't have gone anywhere.

"I think you could use either leg," he told me.

"No, I don't think so," I said, "Because I can't get you to go over at all when I use the other leg."

"I don't think it's that. I think you're timing is off. You have to do it when I go to pass your guard," he told me.

"Ok, I'll try it," I told him. I kind of expected the "other leg theory" not to work. I was thinking to myself, "It might work for you because you are stronger than me."

So I set it up and waited for him to pass my guard. As he went, the planets aligned and I went for it just at the right time. Sweepity sweep!! With the "wrong" leg.
Ok. So he was right. It could be done with either leg. And not because he was stronger than me. My timing was off.

Here's what I'm taking away from my recent experiences. I know very well that, since I'm small, my technique has to be "more correct" for something to work than it would for a larger, stronger guy. Clearly, everyone wants to have good technique. But I have to have it, or else nothing happens and I get smashed.

But ALSO, I have to have correct timing. One thing that prevents a lot of my sweeps from working is hesitation. I know the sweep, but I hesitate, trying to think about exactly the right way to do the technique. By the time I'm trying to execute, the guy has his base back already and we're in a no-fly zone.

I'm trying to learn to "feel" the other person's weight more. And to be a little more instinctual. I have to get out of my own head, a little bit. I'm not saying I'm going to let technique fly out the window. But I need to be less wrapped up in doing things perfectly right and just keep moving. We'll see how it goes.


NinjaEditor said...

I'm not at that stage yet—I'm lucky if I can remember a technique to do instead of panic and flail—but know my technique will have to be really good to get this stuff to work on larger guys. Thanks for mentioning timing; that's a huge piece of the puzzle I still lack. Knowing how to execute a technique perfectly won't do much good if the timing's off.

Georgette said...

I am in the same durn boat. My first problem is remembering the technique-- then getting the grips-- not being flat-- and if by some magic I get there, the moment's probably passed already.

Damn real world and work keep getting in the way of my jiu jitsu. I'm sure if I could just spend 12 hours a day doing jits, I'd figure this stuff out. Eventually.

The Part Time Grappler said...

"My first problem is remembering the technique-- then getting the grips-- not being flat-- and if by some magic I get there, the moment's probably passed already" just summarised my entire dating life before meeting Sharon :)

A.D. McClish said...

@Ninja Editor: Don't worry. My instructor told me that mastering timing is something that just takes, well...time! ;) He told me that it would eventually come as I practice more and more. But I am trying to focus in on it right now.

@ Georgette: Haha! Exactly! Why do we have to work and stuff? BJJ is so much more fun!

A.D. McClish said...

@ Liam: LOL!!!! Man, I needed a good laugh this morning! Thanks! :)

The Part Time Grappler said...

"Liam: LOL!!!! Man, I needed a good laugh this morning! Thanks! :)"

Wow that one too rings a bell from those days!! :)

I'll be more serious now.

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