In the last few months, I have been focused on trying to figure out more about leverage in grappling. Seeing as I am smaller than most of the people I grapple, being able to sweep someone when I get into a bottom position is pivotal (no pun intended. ;P).
Saturday, August 6, 2011
I know it will take me years and years of training to really figure out how to use leverage masterfully. It's one of those things that you can only learn by trial and error--seeing an opportunity, trying it, tweaking it, figuring out why it worked (or didn't work) and what other positions you might be able to use it in. Playing with leverage has become one of my favorite things to do because it's such a puzzle.
One thing I have learned is how important it is to bring the person's weight on top of me. It seems so opposite of what reason would tell me to do. I want to get OUT from under this person, not pull them MORE on top of me. But in order to sweep someone larger than you, you have to get them off of their base in order to take them over. Otherwise, they will be too heavy or strong and won't budge. The way to get them off of their base is to bring them on top of you. Then, you can block their posts (arms or legs) and take them to whatever side you are aiming for.
A key detail in this that I am noticing is that hipping--and being on your hips--is key. For example, if I am in bottom halfguard and I want to sweep someone, I first need to get on my side. Being flat on my back when I am on the bottom in any position is not good. Even when I am working guard, I should never be just laying flat on my back.
After I get onto my hip, using the mobility I now have with being on my side makes a huge difference in whether or not I actually can get a sweep to work. Sometimes that means I have to hip in order to get more underneath the person and bring their weight on top of me, getting them off their base.
Here's a rule of thumb that I am going by recently with sweeps: If my arms and neck are straining, or if a person feels very heavy when I am trying to sweep, I haven't gotten them off their base yet and chances are I need to hip in underneath them more.
The other things about moving my hips while sweeping is that I need to be mobile and switch hips sometimes. If you try to sweep a person in one direction and they post, you have to be ready to take them in the other direction. That means switching which hip you are on. If nothing else, switching directions like that creates space and usually starts a scramble. If you don't get the sweep, you still might have created enough room to hip out to one side or take the back or return to your guard.
What details do you focus on when you are trying to sweep from the bottom?