Escapes - testing yourself

Escapes - testing yourself: Here is a moment when my students and I were teaching a seminar in Singapore. Much of what we went over was concerned with escapes from bad position. When it comes time to escape the mount no gi, I strongly favor the kipping escape. This is an escape that superficially looks like a push, but really it is based upon the kipping action of the legs (kipping is a movement of the legs designed to create momentum in a given direction - most commonly used when people want to cheat doing pull ups to make it easier to get up to the bar but also very useful when you want to make it easier to escape certain pins), along with misdirection of your opponents lines of resistance. All of my students excel at this move, in fact there were times early in their careers i had to tell them to stop using it so much because they were going into competitions and deliberately putting themselves in the bottom mount position so they could simply escape and heel hook unwitting opponents! Here Gordon Ryan demonstrates during the seminar. Note the ease of execution and the changes in direction as the move unfolds. In my upcoming NEW WAVE JIU JITSU - ESCAPES video I will cover this fascinating method and show its link to counter offense where you can escape directly into strong leg lock attacks so that you don’t only get out - you finish the opponent as you do so. When you get really good you can get fancy and perform the escape with one arm as Gordon Ryan does here 😜😜 All of my students training begins with defense. Having the confidence that comes from knowing that you can escape the worst positions and counter attack is worth its weight in gold.

Carry your opponents weight easily through posture

Carry your opponents weight easily through posture: When you work in bottom position you will have to carry your opponents weight on top of you for extended periods. This can be tiring and fruitless if done with poor posture. IF YOU WANT TO EASILY CARRY AND MOVE HEAVY OPPONENTS FROM BOTTOM KEEP YOUR KNEES TO CHEST AND SOINE CURVED LIKE THE BOTTOM OF A ROCKING CHAIR - just as a rocking chair can easily carry and move heavy bodies, so too will you. Look how Nicky Ryan uses the banana curve in his spine to topple an opponent forward and easily move him into a position where he can lift himself into a cross ashi garami entry. If your spine is flat on the floor you will feel every ounce of your opponents weight and won’t be able to move him an inch. Put a healthy curve in your spine and you will bounce him around from one attack to another.

A fundamental dilemma between positional attacks and submission attacks

A fundamental dilemma between positional attacks and submission attacks: Question 1: What is the most difficult type of body posture to sweep? Answer: extended/spread limbs that create wide base with lowered center of gravity. Question 2: What is the most difficult body posture to attack with submissions? Answer: retracted limbs held close to the torso. As soon as you see the truth of these two answers to our two questions you will understand that the sequence of a positional attack from guard (sweep) will create a reaction (extended limbs) that makes an opponent much easier to submit; whilst a submission attack creates a reaction (retracted limbs/narrow base) that makes them easier to sweep. ALWAYS TRY TO CREATE AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS FUNDAMENTAL POSITION/SUBMISSION DILEMMA AS IT APPLIES TO POSTURE. Your opponent can defend the first only at the cost of making himself more vulnerable to the second. Whenever you play the game, particularly from guard position, keep this in mind and you will get more breakthroughs than previously

Pinning is a weapon

Pinning is a weapon: We normally think of the submission holds of Jiu Jitsu - strangles and joint locks - as the weapons of the sport. This is because they are what do the serious damage to an opponent. There is a sense however, in which high pressure pinning can be a weapon also. They may not break joints or render anyone unconscious but done well, they certainly can create so much discomfort and claustrophobia that they can make inexperienced opponents submit and even experienced opponents so miserable that they will expose themselves to submissions just to escape that misery. Just as you put a lot of study into your favorite submissions, so to must you out study into your favorite pins. In particular learn how to control an opponent through his or her HEAD. Even though most of the heavy pins feature chest to chest positions, it’s not so much weight on the chest that makes opponents miserable as it is the use of their jaw as a lever to control their head. Next time you’re pinning your training partners take your time and let them simmer and cook for a while rather than rushing to the submission - you may well find that submission comes a lot easier when you finally decide to go for it

SUBMISSION from mount without the gi is often a very different position from HOLDING the mount

SUBMISSION from mount without the gi is often a very different position from HOLDING the mount: Normally when we aim to hold a tight mount we stay roughly aligned with our opponents centerline with our hips over his hips. However, when it’s time to enter into mounted arm bars and triangles we have to climb up high to the shoulders and pivot ninety degrees while totally changing our leg placement (often referred to as S mount). This angle and position allows you full use of your hands to pull and manipulate and the legs and hips to wedge your opponent and prevent defensive movement. This requires some balancing on your part, since you have less base under you, but as they say - nothing risked, nothing gained. Here, Gordon Ryan, master of the mounted position goes to work with hands, hips, legs and angle - you know already what the outcome will be

You only really control the pin when you control the elbows

You only really control the pin when you control the elbows: Getting to a dominant pinning position in Jiu jitsu is a great thing - it scores more points than any other action if you can get to mount and rear mount. Understand however, that real dominance in top position pins comes not just from the position (in no gi) but the combination of the position AND control of your opponents elbows in ways that prevent him turning into escapes and setting up finishing holds so that you translate position into submission. Next time you are working your way into side of mounted pins - go the extra distance and start looking to control your opponents elbows as well. The more you can elevate and separate his elbows from his torso the more control you will have over the pin and the more likely that pin will turn into a submission hold.

Breaking a turtle down versus riding

Breaking a turtle down versus riding: When it’s time to attack an opponents turtle position, I general counsel students to begin by breaking an opponent down to a hip. This immediately reduces their athletic potential and makes them much more controllable so that you can focus on applying your attacks. However, there are going to be times you cannot do this on tough opponents. Then you will have to get hooks in and ride the opponents turtle while they are still on their knees. You can see Nicky Ryan doing a fine job of this here. Be sure to maintain a tight chest to back connection at control both sides of the body - otherwise you can slip off and end up underneath your opponent. Interestingly, the more your opponent resists being off balanced and broken down to a hip, the more he will have to widen his base and open himself up to your hooks and riding. The more he tightens up to resist the insertion of your hooks and riding, the easier he will be to off balance and break down to a hip - so the two modes of attacking turtle work very well as a dilemma.

Turtle breakdowns - start by forming an effective connection and get them out of balance (kuzushi)

Turtle breakdowns - start by forming an effective connection and get them out of balance (kuzushi): When you first start out working to attack turtle position it seems like an easy task - your opponent has his back to you and seems quite harmless. Then you start working against more experienced opponents and attacking turtle position seems like trying to attack a fire hydrant, then you start working with people who specialize in counter offense from this position and suddenly it feels like you are trying to ride a barrel floating down a fast moving river. One thing is clear - you need to be connected to your opponent or they can simply move away from you. You have a bunch of good options when it comes to connection - just make sure you connect with both upper body through arms, and lower body through hips. Once this is done - GET THEM OUT OF BALANCE. The turtle position gives your opponent a surprising degree of athletic potential. They can roll, stand up, sit to guard, trap and roll you into a pin etc. Take all that away from the start by breaking their balance and suddenly the task of attacking turtle position gets a LOT easier. The only way an opponent can stop an attack on his balance is to widen his base - and that will immediately create different opportunities for your turtle attacks. Make it a habit - get connected and attack his balance - then you can choose all your other options at will

Turtle breakdowns

Turtle breakdowns: The main concern of turtle breakdowns (attacking the turtle position in order to gain points and/or to gain some kind of advantage that leads to submission) is quite different in Jiu jitsu than in other grappling arts. In Judo and wrestling the idea of any turtle breakdown is usually done with the idea of forcing the opponents BACK TO THE FLOOR in order to pin his back to the mat. In Jiu Jitsu this scores nothing. The central focus in Jiu jitsu is generally towards GETTING TO THE REAR MOUNT POSITION. This scores the maximum possible in the sport - four points. As such, it makes sense to make your primary focus in Jiu jitsu training for breaking down an opponents turtle position geared towards getting your hooks in a advancing to rear mount. This will satisfy both the demand for scoring points (you get the maximum score) and for submission (you end up in the position that allows you to use the most high percentage submission method in the sport - rear strangles. There are other good ways to attack a turtle position that have their merits, but getting to rear mount should be your primary focus. The central problem you will have to overcome will always be the connection of your opponents elbow and knee, which serves as an obstacle to your ability to insert your hooks and score. Here, Gordon Ryan looks to break that connection and open space for his legs to enter and get into his favorite finishing position. When it comes time to train your turtle breakdown skills, out the majority of your time into those methods that take you to rear mount - no other methods are so well suited to the unique nature and points system of Jiu Jitsu

Turtle position - the OTHER bottom position of Jiu jitsu

Turtle position - the OTHER bottom position of Jiu jitsu: When people talk about playing bottom position in Jiu Jitsu, they almost always mean to play from GUARD position, which is defined as a situation where you face your opponent in bottom position with at least one of your legs between you and him as a barrier. There is of course, a second bottom position that gets a lot less attention due to the fact that it offers a lot less attacking potential and has a high risk of back exposure - turtle position - where you are in bottom position facing away from your opponent on your knees. Though it is not the preferred bottom position in Jiu jitsu it is nonetheless very important due to the fact that it commonly occurs in competitive guard passing and takedown scrambles when opponents are reluctant to concede points. As such it is crucial for your development that you build a strong set of attacks and controls to breakdown the defensive structure of the turtle position. Just as you should be able to pass an opponents guard, you should also be able to break down an opponents turtle position if you are to have a complete top game. Remember that a guard pass score three points - but a turtle breakdown that ends with you in rear mount scores four points and results in you being in the single best finishing position in the sport - so it’s actually the preferred situation for the top player if you get a choice. Here, talented back attack juggernaut Nick Rodriguez looks to initially control a turtle position with the intention of breaking it down to score with hooks and finish with his powerful rear strangles