D. J. Jackson from Team Lloyd Irvin is a master of the strategy of takedown, pass, and submit with kimura from side control. Here’s an example:
I like this submission very much in concept but I haven’t put much time in to it (YET!) because going for it often opens up the back as the guy tries to escape and I prefer taking the back. Still, lately, I’ve been trying to add more submissions to my game for two reasons:
I believe going for (some) submissions opens up options for improving position (mount, back, etc)
A submission allows me to quickly end a match against an opponent who I’m already beating on points. This is important for when I have a big division (plus absolute) in a tournament and I need to conserve energy for the tough long matches against the best guys in the division.
Many people, including Marcelo Garcia, don’t like the kimura because it doesn’t work as well against bigger stronger opponents. Marcelo likes techniques that work on anyone. I agree with that philosophy for the most part, but I think I have enough strength to pull it off on big guys, once the technique is mastered, or at least distract them while I work to advance position.
Stephan Kesting shows three very basic errors that people make with this kimura. Most of us know of these mistakes, but we still make them:
Of course, no blog post would be complete without mention of Lloyd Irvin’s Kimura Mouse Trap. Here’s a video of him breaking it down:
“The fighter’s self-knowledge must turn the battle into something pleasant. The Jiu-Jitsu practitioner must have fun in the championships. That way, it all becomes easy.” – Fabio Gurgel
I got the above quote from a remarkably good list of 20 ways to improve your grappling. It presents suggestions from some of the most respected competitors and teachers in jiu jitsu.
I’d like to focus on this quote, or rather what I take from it. My ultimate goal is for there to be no place that a match can go where I don’t feel comfortable and happy to be there.
I think this requires honest self-analysis, finding the weaknesses, and attacking them. Technique wise, my currently least favorite position is on bottom in side control. Today a very good player (significantly lighter than me) held me there for maybe 3-4 minutes. Since he was smaller he couldn’t just lock down and hold, he moved with me constantly threatening mount and submissions.
I’ve been doing a lot of live training in jiu jitsu lately with everyone from white to black belt, learning little details the “hard way”. I’m finding that these sessions (especially the long ones of 1, 1.5, 2 hours) have been extremely beneficial in teaching me several things:
To relax under pressure (being stacked, choked, etc)
Take advantage of the space and chaos in transitions
Control position against an opponent that’s going 80-100% (mount, side control, x-guard, etc)
Discovering new positions, new styles, new techniques, and how to apply the fundamentals of jiu jitsu in all those cases
But as a blue belt, I feel I haven’t been getting enough drilling in. I’m talking about several types of drilling. First, and foremost, is the type of drilling that you do in the instruction part of a jiu jitsu class where you practice a technique. There are about 2-5 techniques from every major position that I like but get little or no practice with. In class, we’ll get about 5-10 minutes a technique, and with an active partner I’ll get 10-20 reps in. That’s great, but it’s not enough. It’s been difficult to find a willing partner, or rather I haven’t tried. I’ll try to ask people in open mat or arrange to meet some of my jiu jitsu / judo friends outside practice to drill.
Another type of drilling that I can definitely do more of is solo drills that improve flexibility, balance, strength, speed, power, etc. There are a lot of good suggestions in a popular book that I got recently (right when it came out) by Andre Galvao. I’ll probably be doing a bunch of posts on the drills in this book as I build a program of drills that works well for me.
It may make obvious sense, or maybe not, but when I train with good jiu jitsu players, I have a much better chance to stay in the game when we are in neutral position (neither player has a dominant position). I mean I can keep it neutral or even improve on the position for a little bit. On other hand, if I fall behind (e.g. get my guard passed), I have a lot of trouble stopping the situation from getting much worse quickly. By “worse”, I mean the person taking mount, getting my back, or finding a submission.
Here’s a video of me training with Ray and Eric a couple days ago:
When I fall behind in position, there’s obviously less defenses I have as options. Either my legs or arms get taken out of the game. But still I feel like many better players would be able to reguard or at least fend off submissions for longer. Luckily, having the chance to train with many higher ranks, I get to “practice” the situation of being in a weak position a lot. This is how learning is done… I will say, however, that it’s at times psychologically difficult to have my ass kicked for hours at a time.
If it’s before noon, it’s early morning in the Lex Fridman brain.
Ray and I got on the mat at Osagame to do a little training. Turned out to be a good two hours. Here’s a few clips from that session.
I asked Ray about a couple of issues that I’ve been running up against:
Defending the sweep from De La Riva guard
Defending the bull pass from the butterfly guard
Escaping side control to turtle
Reguarding to half guard or full guard from turtle
Then we trained. I enjoy (in a sick masochistic way) playing half guard or butterfly guard against Ray, because he makes it very difficult to do anything from either. He stays very low and applies a lot of pressure.
Once he passes, he consistently gets the choke within about a minute. I need to find an answer besides just turtling and then trying to reguard from turtle. The answer probably is just the fundamentals: create space and reguard. Given how tight his game is, this will require a lot of improvement for me.