All right folks, I’ve got a few random thoughts this morning that I need to get out there. Just some areas I’ve been working on in my game as well as an update that has to do with a gi company I’ve never heard of, but that’s apparently quite popular with the rest of the world. Where I’ve been – who knows.
The first area I’d like to discuss has to do with takedowns for Jiu-Jitsu. We’ve been immersing ourselves this world for the past few classes and if you remember anything I’ve said in the last 3 or 4 years, I’m really not very good at takedowns. I’d prefer to lay on my back and get to business on the floor. But, with the reality of competition at hand, I don’t think the guys at the BJJ school I go to would appreciate my doing that – especially when they’re trying to practice something.
Okay, when competing in Jiu-Jitsu, the fact is that you’ve got to get your opponent on the ground. From what I’ve picked up through the years, there are two main styles of accomplishing this – the wrestling style and the Judo style. Of course, there are more than just these two, but this is what we’ll focus on today. And also from what I’ve seen through the years – most players prefer leaning toward the wrestling style. I’m not sure if that’s because they’re more comfortable with wrestling since almost every high school on the planet has a wrestling program or if wrestling just comes naturally for some people. Really getting down there to take out your opponent’s legs makes sense. And there’s evidence out there to suggest that wrestling takedowns work in BJJ matches. Just watch a few videos – you’ll see.
There is a small problem with wrestling takedowns for BJJ though and that’s what I’d like to talk about. I think this problem primarily affects taller guys, such as myself, or guys who aren’t all too comfortable with, or simply can’t, dive in towards their opponent’s moving legs and knees for a tackle. The problem is – wrestling takedowns don’t work for us. Every time I’ve tried one, I’ve been sprawled on and flattened, only to get myself stuck in a scramble. Where things go after that doesn’t really matter, because if I’m trying to affect a clean takedown, I’ve failed.
The whole issue lies in the fact that either my legs aren’t strong enough for me to stay down low for extended periods of time while trying to pick off an exposed leg or that there are way too many people out there who can stuff my very marginal wrestling game. Whatever the cause, I’ve adapted what I do to take wrestling out of the equation.
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that if I take wrestling out of the equation, I’m left with Judo. Now, I’m willing to say that my Judo isn’t half bad. I can do a hip-throw or a Judo single-leg a heck of a lot better than I can a wrestling style single-leg, so that type of thing is what I like to lean towards when dealing with a takedown situation. Of course, I need to be cognizant of wrestling takedown defenses to protect myself, but Judo is what I use when I’m being aggressive.
Last night, we spent a few minutes doing live takedown scenarios, which I’ll tell you, is extremely effective when trying to advance your game in this area. Drilling is one thing, but actually going live is another. It’s nerve-racking, very competitive and incomparable when training for a real event.
After sitting and watching a few rounds of guys performing takedowns on each other, I was able to devise a plan. From what I saw, I discovered that I would in no way be able to compete wrestling style. The guys at my club are simply too athletic for me to meet them on that level. I’d get exhausted far too fast and my body style wouldn’t allow me to get all down and dirty diving in for a double-leg. So, I figured that staying very calm and working on keeping my opponent off balance for a leg sweep would be much more effective.
What did I do? None other than the Osoto-Gari. Did it work? Eh. Well, it worked, but it wasn’t all that pretty. But it worked and I didn’t get exhausted at all.
Judo for Jiu Jitsu – Jimmy Pedro – Osoto-Gari – BJJ Weekly #047
As you can see from the above video and if you watch a Judo match or two, you’ll see that the Osoto-Gari is hugely effective. For guys like me, it keeps my grips in tact and keeps my opponent up high and off balance. Just where they should be. And if you’re already good at wrestling takedowns, some Judo will add so much more to your arsenal, keeping whoever you’re going up against guessing at what you’ll do next. A lot of times what I like to do is to start off with a Judo-esque leg hook to a single leg takedown. Mixing Judo and wrestling is a formidable combination.
Those are my thoughts on that.
I’ve also been working on my x-guard setups. Ever since I’ve been playing more with my butterfly guard, I’ve been trying to take things to the next level, and x-guard is that next level.
In the past few months, I’ve had more people stand up in my guard than I’ve ever had and I’ve had to adapt my game to that. While it’s really very comfortable and nice to begin things with a sweet sitting butterfly guard, things become more cumbersome the moment my opponent stands up. When this happens, I can manage, but I’d like to manage better than I’ve recently been. Hence, the practicing of the x-guard.
The 3 Most Common Errors in the X Guard
What I’ve been getting used to in the past few classes has been my x-guard entrance. I’m not necessarily going after the sweep once I take control of the guard – I’ve been more practicing controlling my opponent’s balance when I’m there. And as Stephan Kesting mentions in his video above, that’s a critical area to get used to. Getting your body accustomed to the position it’s in and that it’s okay to be there, that is.
I’ve been having good luck with doing what I’m doing. I’ve also been throwing in some de la riva guard here and there, but I’ll be honest with you – I think I prefer the x-guard. I’m not sure if it’s because of the pressure the de la riva guard puts on my knee, but I just feel better in the x-guard. I know the two are totally different and the outcomes vary – I suppose I’m just thinking out loud.
Lastly, I’ve found another gi for tall guys. It’s called the Shoyoroll gi and it’s pretty sweet looking. One of the guys at the gym picked one up and I’ve put it in my list of future gis because of the fact it may actually fit me. My Origin gi is working well and I really like it, so if I can maintain that standard, I’ll be a happy camper.