Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Is Going On Here?!?!

Man, this afternoon's class was so awesome! Learned a lot. We drilled an escape from when someone is doing an armbar from guard. I will definitely use it. But the things that I was really excited about came during grappling and after class.

I was going with Barf (his real name is Brian). He is one of those guys that, after I've finished grappling him, I always walk away having learned something. Today, he very kindly caught a few foot locks to show me that I was making my feet vulnerable when I'm doing inverted guard. He didn't finish them. Just caught them so I would be aware. Fabio has been catching a lot of them on me to so I would notice.

Just when I thought I was making some progress in the area of leg defense! haha. Before, heel hooks were my nemesis. Now it's foot locks. Grrr!

I was kind of confused about the best way to escape since I usually got caught by them when I was using inverted guard to defend my guard or something. Being upside down, I wasn't sure how to move to escape! lol So, after class I asked Fabio the best way to escape them.

He showed me. Basically, I have to reverse the way I'm going before they can sink it in, or roll out the same way I would from an ankle lock when I'm right side up. It was a little weird escaping upside down at first. But I am sure I will have lots or practice in the upcoming grapples!

But after he showed me how to escape, he explained that I need to change the way I use my feet when I'm using inverted guard so that I make them less vulnerable to attack.

First of all, I have to use my feet like I would normally use my hands, and my legs like I would use my arms. In the same way that I wouldn't fully extend my arm out to an opponent, I shouldn't extend my legs out. Also, in the same way that I use grips with my hands to break my opponent down, I need to use my ankles and heels to hook/grip my opponent and break them down.

When I asked where I should generally be hooking, Fabio told me to look for the light. Any place where I can see light, I should hook: under the arms, at the neck, at the elbows, in the knee pits. I shouldn't be trying to push someone away with my legs. I should be using my legs to break down their posture so I can sweep them, go for a submission or take their back.

He also reminded me that inverted guard is a great position for defense and transition, but I shouldn't be hanging out there too long. He said that I a m getting there and waiting for the other person to react. What I need to do is get there and attack their posture, go for a sweep or a submission the same way I would in regular guard.

Big eye opener. I can not WAIT to get back on the mat and start experimenting with all of this.

Another minor revelation I had this week came with all my focus on trying to pass guard instead of playing guard: I actually LIKE being a top player!!! What the heck is going on here?!?!

I realized why I was hanging around so much guard. I thought is was safer against big, strong guys. I know a lot of you seasoned veterans are probably tisking and shaking your heads, but I really thought I would be safer in guard. This week, I have realized that I have so much more control when I pass guard from the beginning and try to work from the top.

Don't get me wrong, I am still a guard-lover. I still feel more comfortable there.
But, even though it takes a little more energy and aggression to pass guard at the beginning, it pays off, in my opinion, with not being on defense right away. Yes, guard can be an offensive position. But for me, I was having a lot of trouble keeping the big guys in my guard. As opposite as it seems to me, I have a better chance against them when I get on top from the start.

Phew. I'm exhausted. But happy. And looking forward to more of this crazy journey.


NinjaEditor said...

"But, even though it takes a little more energy and aggression to pass guard at the beginning, it pays off, in my opinion, with not being on defense right away."

This is something I needed to hear. I may not have the skills to successfully gain top position at the beginning, but I need to keep that philosophy in mind or guard will become my comfort zone.

Tree Frog said...

It's like the opposite of sex - with a little bit of work put in at the start, the top person can rest a bit, while the bottom does all the rest of the work.