A few days ago, Jeff asked if I could teach Saturday’s class. I told him that I could. I was only too happy to agree because any chance I get to thrust my perspective of the finer points of Jiu-Jitsu on willing souls is a good chance. I like teaching very much.
Saturday is usually a light student day. I wouldn’t be way off mark if I said that 99% of the time, it’s Jeff, Dave, Seth, John, Steph and me. Yesterday, it was only Seth, John and me. Jeff was introducing a possible new student to the school, so he was busy.
I pretty much knew it was going to be the three of us, which was fine with me. Each of us loves the game just as much as the other guy. John is totally hooked. Seth is a BJJ intellect and I’m somewhere in between. The only reason I was the one to come up with a game plan is because I have more experience. I wasn’t any better than either of these guys when I was at their level. And each one of them is a bear to spar with. John has come a long way from the first time I met him and Seth likes to watch and devise. He’ll watch, plan and then execute the next time you roll with him. I’m not sure if I like that or not. What I do know is that it chips away at one’s ego the minute Seth stuffs one of your best moves simply because he absorbed your game quietly and sneakily.
Anyway, what I wanted to go over with the guys had a bit to do with my last post. Since I wrote that post, I’d been doing a lot of reading and watching videos and was pretty comfortable with lending what I had learned to fresh ears. And what’s so good about the two who attended yesterday was that they wanted to hear what I had to say. We’re like that over there. I think they trust me and that’s good.
My plan was like this; since we are all guys and since I know each one of us has a lot of experience, I wanted to have some sort of an “evidence” based class. We’ve gone over mount escapes before, but some of us are still having issues. Getting out of someone’s mount isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. I wanted to:
1. Show the ultimate mount position. The way I went about this was to have both John and Seth pass my guard, take side control and then take mount. I told them that I wasn’t going to resist any of it, so they should get comfortable. I basically wanted to see where they would end up. For the record, they both ended in high mount. John directly center and Seth off to the side a bit so he could take an armbar if needed.
It worked out perfectly. By letting each one of them figure out where they wanted to be on a guy who offered no resistance, I wouldn’t have to try to sell them anything. It wasn’t “top down,” like my saying something along the lines of, “The best place to be is high mount.” If I had gone this route, Seth may have said, “Why?” or “I don’t know about that. A lot of guys can take many submissions from here or here.” He’s like me. He needs answers – why? and how so? aren’t off the table when it comes to someone like him. He’s a thinker.
2. Have them feel the power of the frame. After they took the position they wanted, I told them I was going to keep them as low as possible on my hips. I didn’t want them climbing up my chest in an effort to make things difficult for me, so I created a frame by putting my forearm across each of their stomachs and them bracing my hand with my other hand. I kept my elbows in tight.
The reason I did this is because there’s a natural tendency to flip around like a maniac when someone climbs into one of the most dominant positions in Jiu-Jitsu – the mount. All the guy on the bottom knows is that he doesn’t want to be there. If someone is strong, they’ll use all their strength to reverse the position, which is fine if they’re going against a smaller opponent. If they’re up against someone larger and heavier, they’re going to have to rely on technique. The problem with this is that this particular technique doesn’t necessarily “feel good.”
If someone has mounted you and you’re on your back, the last thing you think you want to do is to angle up and occupy both hands down at your opponent’s hips. If you do this, you’re left with an overwhelming feeling of exposure at your neck, which may be true, so you need to be fast and modify your defenses if necessary. Jeff demonstrated toward the end of yesterday’s class that an escape oftentimes isn’t even needed if you act quickly enough to avoid a bad situation in its entirety.
The reason I wanted the guys to feel how effective the frame on the hips is, is because sometimes it’s not all that believable. I wanted them to see that if I created the proper frame, it was nearly impossible to climb my chest to get high mount. If they can’t climb the chest, they can’t take the submissions they are after and they have to adjust their game around what I’m doing. That’s good Jiu-Jitsu.
Both realized they couldn’t do much when I was framing up against their hips, which gave them more “evidence” that this technique worked. When I planned what I wanted to go over before yesterday’s class, I planned to stop there. If I could get the guys to offer up a bit of neck exposure in order to accept some sweet nugget for their game, my job was done. Even though we did expand to add in a few escapes, such as the elbow knee and a hip bump to sneak a knee back in to take guard again, we practiced sensing when someone would need to start tucking their elbows in and framing up against their opponent quite a bit. I’d say it was a success.
There are many areas in Jiu-Jitsu that are counter intuitive. Some areas flat out, don’t feel good. These are the areas we need to train the most because they are going to offer us the best advantage against our opponents. If we have trouble with these things, you can bet others are too and that’s reason enough to become proficient with them. You know as well as I know that when we roll with someone who knows their technique, it’s a very good roll. We strive to be like them and that’s what we’re doing. We just need to keep an open mind.