Monday, January 18, 2010

“Look for that space. If you don’t see that space – create it.”

DAY 11

Today was mostly just spent at Barra de Lagoa. My daughter has a little cold so we left the beach early and didn't make it to the turtle sanctuary. I had a jiu jitsu lesson lined up for 6:15.

“Look for that space. If you don’t see that space – create it.”

This was the lesson with Marvio tonight. Creating space along the flank of your opponent’s body and using it to set up attacks. The individual techniques were less important than just understanding this concept.

We reviewed the techniques from last time. Basically, I had retained them all – but as usual I missed some important details.

Tonight Marvio wanted to go over submissions from guard. Could I show him an armbar from guard? God, yes! Finally somebody asks for a technique I am 100% confident in. Can I show him my armbar from open guard? Awww, crap.

Here’s the thing about my open guard – it’s a real hot mess. Once somebody staning starts to pass, it’s over. I’ve developed some tricks to deal with it – establishing De La Riva or turtling up – but basically my open guard is a sieve.

So it’s time to go over some basics. Arm bar from open guard. Marvio sets it up as though he is passing my guard. I’m on my hip on the side he is passing – with a spider guard grip on the sleeve. Reach over the arm to control the elbow with my top arm. Move my hips into the space under his arm. Bite down with my leg. Push away on his face, swing my leg over and extend the hips.

Okay – now let’s go the other way with that arm bar. I’m on my hip again. Reach deep under the arm this time with my near arm. The bend of my arm has to be at the bend of his arm. Swing my leg over his head and throw my hips up and over so I am on my knees with his arm between my legs. Make sure my hips are high up his shoulder. Extend my legs back. Grab his pant legs and roll over my shoulder towards his head to move into the spider-web position to prepare to finish.

I hope I’m explaining it well enough. I’ve always thought this was one of the most beautiful armbar setups in jiu jitsu. I figured it was a little bit out of my reach. But Marvio helped me understand the concepts that make it work – move into the space, the bend of your arm is at the bend in his arm, try to keep his elbow against your belly button If his elbow moves, follow it with your belly button – this ensure you move your hips in the correct direction.

We go over what to do if he blocks by grabbing my leg. Long story short – another armbar. This one was key to understanding the idea of following the elbow with your navel. When I did it the first time, I made the movement way more complicated than it needed to be. But once I understood following it with my navel, it was easy and efficient.

We went over a couple of grip breaks from spider-web position (I realize I am using 10PJJ terminology for that, but just don’t have a better name for it.) I like to wristlock to break the grip. Marvio prefers to use the ‘bone-on-bone’ grip break. He showed me how to triangle the legs over (without going for the bicep slicer,) to break a particularly stubborn grip.

Next – the triangle. My triangle is methodical and it turns out Marvio approves. I take my time and cross the ankles, then make the angle, then lock the triangle. A small tip tonight was that if you can’t get your foot to the hip, don’t bother. You can push off the floor to accomplish the same thing. I know I should have known that. Sometimes at this level it seems you learn a technique step by step – but you don’t really understand why you are doing each step. It’s putting the practice ahead of the theory. I feel the theory side is just finally opening up to me a little – perfect time for this trip.

Onto the omoplata. First the basic omoplata from open guard. By this point, I got it. Then Marvio wanted to show me the spider guard omoplata – the one where your sort of move inside underneath your opponent and come out the side door. This technique has always been really awkward for me. I feel too big. But he showed me a nice setup. We’ve all been there – the guy is passing. You’ve got a hold on his sleeve between your legs as he passes to the other side. I always thought that grip was useless – but there it is – the omoplata. Turn inside, up on your shoulder. Kick your hips up to secure the omoplata and Bob’s your uncle. I like it. We also reviewed the sweep from there and the transition through to the triangle.

Somewhere along the line we also went over the knee-push variation of the scissor sweep. It wasn’t that I didn’t know it – Marvio just wanted to demonstrate clearly the idea of creating that space along the flank of your opponent’s body and how many attacks that opens up.

It sounds like a lot of techniques – but there was just one concept behind it. Marvio didn’t teach me anything I hadn’t seen before, but he showed me how to apply the techniques in live situations and make adjustments on the fly by following simple principles. I like his approach to teaching.

I have a private with Glenio tomorrow afternoon. But before that – I have an appointment with Glenio for a haircut. It turns out he’s a barber and I figured I may as well get the standard issue Brasiliero buzzcut while I am here.

I’m also very excited to finally go to the turtle sanctuary tomorrow – where fishermen bring turtles that have been caught in their nets for rehabilitation and release back into the wild. Big Day!

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