Monday, August 31, 2015

John Will seminar 30 Aug 2015 - post clinch takedown strategy, Z guard, kneeride

Post Clinch Takedown Strategy

Setting up three takedowns from a single clinch

You are clinching with your opponent. R foot forward. Occupy the centreline with your hands and secure a neck tie with your R hand, and inside control on his R bicep with your L hand. You control the bicep so that he cannot grab your head like you grabbed his. Your forehead goes to the R side of his neck and shoulder to prevent the snapdown.
Your stance should remain substantially the same relative to him, R foot forward, whichever of the following setups you use.

Setting up the snatch single leg

Step circling back with your R foot, pulling his head, making him step forward with his L foot. Keep your R foot forward relative to him. You are aiming to pull him into the mirrored stance, you have your R foot forward, he his L foot forward, with his L foot within a foot's length of your R foot. This is the position to shoot for the single leg.
Change level. Drop down, keep the L hand on his bicep, R elbow dropping next to the hip so he cannot get an underhook. Bend at the knees rather than at the hips to change levels, keep the back straight and engage the posterior chain. Drive forward and try to "headbutt their heart through the back of their rib cage", also pushing with the L arm as you snatch up their L leg and catch it pinched between your thighs.
From here, a wrestler might take little choppy steps circling R, putting weight on the opponent's hip so he cannot hop to follow you and put him on his back. This works for wrestling, but not as well for Jiu Jitsu because you will end up in his guard.
For Jiu Jitsu, once you have secured the pinch grip with the legs on his L leg, get a Gable grip with your hands on that leg. Step your L leg back over the leg and hoist the lower leg up into your L armpit. Your R hand goes onto his L leg above the knee. Step circling back with your R foot and push down on his leg with your R hand to take him down. Drag his leg past your L hip and go to kneeride on his L. This is essentially passing his guard before he hits the ground.
It is essential to drive him back with the headbutt, as this will put his weight onto his back R foot and make his L leg light and easy to snatch up. Keep your forehead on his rib cage near his L armpit, don't allow it to go under his L arm (guillotine) or put your R ear on his chest (which makes it easy to push his head away and counter.
If you have to move a big guy with this headbutt, I suggest that, rather than trying to hit him with higher velocity (which can hurt your head and neck - I speak from practical experience), you hit him at the same speed as you would a smaller guy but drive him back harder and for longer with your legs. You will shift him.

Setting up the high C(rotch)

From the same neck tie and bicep clinch. This time you are stepping circling back with your L leg, making him step with his R foot. This time you want to put him in the matching stance, where you both have your R foot forward, your R foot close to his. You change levels, bring your R elbow near your R hip, as for the single leg, but this time his other foot is forward. Grab behind his R knee with your R hand and drop your R knee to the mat. By all means put your weight on him to reduce the impact of your knee on the ground. You may need a small step forward with you R foot before grabbing and dropping the knee.
From here, step your L foot forward and out to the L, so his feet and your L foot are roughly in line, and your L foot is far enough away to allow you to drive up and into him at a sideways angle. Put your L hand on top of your R hand behind his R knee, then move your R hand behind his L knee. Lean into him and drive up to your feet, basically using his body as a prop to help you get up. Block his L knee with your R hand, lift his R leg with your L hand, drive his hips to the R with your head, as you walk sideways to your R and dump him, once again passing the guard on your feet.
NB what we are doing above is a high C setup, but switching to a double leg takedown finish. A stricter wrestling high C involves gripping your arms around his R leg, closing in tight to get your centre under his and then lifting him off the floor vertically, then dumping him from there. This requires great technique and explosive strength and requires a greater level of precision than does the high C - double leg combo.

You could use this to set up a fireman's carry as well, though you'd need to secure a tight overhook on his L arm and clamp it down. Otherwise he may use the underhook to knock you over and flatten you out.

Setting up the double leg

We do not try to set up the double per se. Rather, it becomes available if our attempts to set up the single leg or high C come to naught because we cannot get him to move a foot to either the mirrored or matching stance. He just keeps both feet at a distance whatever way we drag him around.
We are still in the neck and bicep tie with the R foot forward. We now seek the "triangle of death"  (or was it triangle of doom?) Where our R foot and both of his form a roughly equilateral triangle. 

Now we
  • Level change, both elbows drop back to the hips
  • Step in with the R foot so our toes and his are in a straight line
  • Drive our R knee to the floor as we shoot on with our chest and grab behind both his knees with our hands
  • Bring the L foot out to the side so we can drive up into him at an angle
  • Finish the takedown as we did for the high C switch above
NB - there are many variations of the double leg. The one I describe requires a lot less explosiveness and athleticism than some.
Do not reach out with the arms. Keep good posture, bend at the knees not the hips, keep the posterior chain engaged and the head up. Bending over and dropping the head mean you will probably get guillotined.
So we have a strategy. We do not need to switch stances or employ complex footwork to set up. Get our clinch. Pull him to the R, get the mirrored stance, single leg. Pull him to the L, get the matching stance, high C. Can't get either, seek the triangle of death and shoot a double.

EDIT 26 Nov 2015 - Matt Klein kindly forwarded a video of John including much of this material and some extra details:

The video URL comes from a British guy, called Sam Mac. He later uploaded it to YouTube in HD:

Loaded here with Sam's kind permission. Thanks, Sam. :-)

Z Guard

One of about 4 different types of half guard.

On his R leg; on your R side. Your R lower leg is hooked over his, in deep. Your L knee is up near his R shoulder, keeping his weight off. Your L foot is kept near his R hip to avoid footlocks. Your head is moving toward his L hip. You have a dog paddle grip with both hands on his L arm - you don't need to grip hard or use cloth, you are just warding off attempts by him to grab your head and crossface. Don't rely on the cloth unless the technique requires it.
John also did this thing where his L elbow was up near his L knee, ready to dig it into my throat or chest if I tried to press in. He did briefly mention this but I'm not sure how many picked it up. Per Kit Dale and Nick Gregoriades' Porcupine principle, using hard parts of your anatomy against soft parts of theirs to keep them away.

Attack his R arm - arm drag

Take your L knee out to your L until the topic your shin is on his R bicep near the elbow. Grab his R tricep with your R hand, palm up. Grab over the top of his R tricep with your L hand so your L hand is over your R. Using the glute and not the quad, keeping the leg flexed, push the L knee over the top of his R arm and drag it across your body with your arms. Ideally he will now be on his knees with his R arm trapped between your and his bodies and your R leg. Secure a seat belt grip, if you can get it, or an S grip if you can't, R arm over his R shoulder, L arm under his L armpit.
Rather than climb onto his back, take your L foot back behind you and use it to move your hips away, bringing him with you so he rolls into his R side. Get a proper seat belt grip, L hook in and "staple" his head with yours when you can. The master/underhook side is up as it should be.
Proper seat belt grip: the hand underhooking the arm (in this case L) grabs the blade of the hand around the neck (R). From here, if he tries to peel off the hands he will attack the top hand (L), and when he does peel it off (let him!) The other hand is free to snap on the choke.

Attack the L arm - kimura

Elbow pull.
From the Z guard with the dog paddle grip, roll slightly to your L so your R knee comes out near his L hip. At the same time form a fist with your L and use it to pull his L elbow hard to your chest by "stabbing yourself in the heart" with the thumb side of your fist, trapping his elbow to your chest between thumb metacarpal and ulna - inner surface of the wrist. John did this hard enough to cause transient pain in my elbow. He should now find it impossible to bring his elbow to his hip, as your R knee is pushing his hip one way while your L hand is pulling the elbow the other. His L arm is effectively isolated. Your R hand is floating around near his L wrist and you should be able to lock up the kimura from here easily.

Pushup Sweep

First shown to John by Ciao Terra.

From Z guard, slide your L knee down to his R hip. Cross your feet (not ankles) to form a grip, L foot on top. He should feel a fair bit of pressure on his hip and thigh. Arch your back and move your head away, so you are out of the "corridor". Turn your hips so the front of your pelvis is inclined towards the ground. Keep turning until you are in a pushup position. Push back into him with your arms and walk backwards on your hands, knocking him over like a hip bump sweep. Do not release the grip with your feet until after you get knee ride. and fall to your L side to get the crossface with your L arm. Now you can work at getting your R leg out and consolidating your side control.
A smart opponent will bail and go to guard. You still end up on top.

Getting out of a bad half guard to Z guard or hooks in guard

Per a question from Matt Klein.
You have half guard on his R leg. He has secured both the crossface with his R arm and the far side underhook with his L. This is about as bad as it gets in half guard until he starts to pass.
Get both your feet on the inside of his R leg. use the inside bottom of your R foot to straighten out his R leg and hold it in place, more or less by stomping on it (not with impact, that would be illegal. Bring your L knee up and turn slightly so you can get his R leg onto your L hook.  Turn the L knee out to your L side so as to "stick" the hook so he cannot jump off it. Grab his pants at his L knee with your R hand, and grab the back of his gi with your L hand. You can now use both hands and the L hook to lift him up and get both hooks in or go to Z guard or any other guard you want.
From an earlier seminar: if you have half guard and your hand position is all wrong, you can:

  • fight like hell to get the hand position you want
  • change to a guard where the hand position is no longer a disadvantage, or even become an advantage for you
In this half guard, he basically has an overhook and crossface on you. If you can change your legs to hooks in guard and push him back so you can sit up without changing your hand position, you now have hooks in guard with an overhook and an underhook ... which is the perfect hand position for the butterfly/hooking sweep. 
The hand position which was really bad for the half guard has become the perfect hand position for hooks in guard. You didn't change you hands, you changed to a better guard for that hand position.
This video shows three versions of this that Eddie Bravo uses to move from half guard to hooks in. He calls this technique the Stomp. A bit different because it's no gi.


Setting up kneeride

The major problem with just jumping up from side control to kneeride is that there is a window of opportunity for your opponent to slip a knee between your bodies while you are jumping up.
From side control on his R, switch your base so you are facing his head. Keep your weight on him, rather than the floor. Pinch his hips between your R hip and R elbow, keep both your hips and elbow slightly off the ground so as much of your weight as possible is on him.
Step your L foot over your R leg near his head. Put your R fist on the mat near his L hip. Push up on your L foot and R fist, skimming your R shin over his chest and down his body towards his R hip. This leaves no room for him to get his knee in, plus the shim moving down his body will push his knee back down should he attempt to get it in.

Kimura from kneeride

If he pushes on your knee from under your kneeride, grab his wrist with your R hand and stiff arm it to the floor. Sprawl back to switchbase side control. All your weight should be on your R hand with your R arm vertical.
Here you do not have a good angle to attack his elbow and get the kimura. Instead, take your L foot out to the R of his head. Now you will be able to turn face down, and from this angle slide your L arm under his and grab your wrist. Get your L arm right under his elbow.
Once you have secured the arm, slide back so your R hip is on or near the floor. Step over his head with your L leg and use it to pull his head toward you with your lower leg. Move back so you can pull him slightly up on his R side, so the floor is not in the way of cranking on the submission. You may need to adjust your arm position relative to his elbow to make the kimura as effective as possible. Apply pressure and get the tap.
You can also secure the kimura, then walk over his head so your whole body is in his L side. Keep the L arm right under the elbow, use a small part of your R ribs to put all your weight on his L shoulder. His L arm cannot go completely horizontalunless he can round his spine and lift his shoulder. So you can get a tap from here.
This type of kimura seems to attack both shoulder and elbow. By "pulling" the elbow. Be careful and apply deliberately as it is much more effective than usual and thus easier to damage your partner's arm.
[To me the change of position and turn feels a little vulnerable to possibly being rolled over the top of him. I need to experiment with this - I think the vulnerability can probably be negated with correct body positioning]

Learning hacks

When learning a new technique, ask yourself the following questions:
What should each of my limbs (L arm, R arm, L leg, R leg, possibly head as well) be doing?
At what angles should I move, or should my limbs move?
What is the order in which the various parts of the technique should occur?
It is often worth experimenting the changing of the order of the parts of the technique - often this will make it inferior or unworkable, but sometimes you can find a more effective or unusual way of accomplishing the technique that your opponents may not expect. Or a different setup.
John discussed the possiblities involved in kickboxing when, instead of stepping into range, then throwing the kick, instead throwing the kick, while/then sliding or hopping towards the opponent. 
When learning from another person, it's often better to watch closely what they do, rather than listen to their instructions about how to do it. Often when someone has been doing something for a long time they may do crucial things as part of the process which are so ingrained that they no longer consciously realise they are doing them. John described how he hurt his back trying the pushup sweep the way Ciao Terra told him to do it, but learned to do it properly by watching what he did, and incorporating the unmentioned details of arching out of the corridor and turning the hips.
A number of rabbit holes for us white rabbits to explore appeared during this seminar, as usual.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Define Jiu Jitsu in a single sentence for non participants

Jiu Jitsu is four dimensional chess crossed with combat yoga.

For a challenge on the Old Man Jiu Jitsu Facebook page.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Encounter with a little dragon

I try to get down to Pennant Hills Park several times a week. It's a huge area of sporting fields and bushland, backing onto Lane Cove National Park which goes further still. The bush goes all the way to the Commenara Parkway at Thornleigh in the north, to the M2 at North Ryde in the south, to Lane Cove Road near West Pymble in the East ... and a ten minute walk from my house in the West.

There's a number of epic fire trails and single tracks, most of which I have explored, usually on foot but occasionally by mountain bike. There's hilly five and eight kilometer loops suitable for running, and I used to run them a fair bit back when I was working. Most of what running I do these days I do at North Curl Curl after Jiu Jitsu training on Wednesdays and Fridays. With four days a week of Jiu Jitsu as well, that's plenty of cardio.

Of late I've been going on long walks down to the park and doing breathing and mobility drills, bodyweight exercises and Kung Fu forms. If the eighteen netball courts aren't being used, that's usually where I go. There's a little secret spot I have on a bush track to nowhere nearby where I can sit in the sun on a rock and see only nature. I might stay there for some time and just ... breathe. If the courts are busy, there are other places in the park I can go to find a fortress of solitude.

I like to be alone with my thoughts when I practice my forms. After over sixteen years of Jiu Jitsu and non traditional training, I believe I understand the limitations of forms as a means of practice for self defence, but I find I really enjoy the precision, concentration, and effort to perform each form as well as possible.

I practise forms from Wing Chun, my main traditional art, as taught by Rick Spain, but also perform some I learned from David Crook, who teaches a synthesis of Wing Chun, Choy Li Fut, and Northern Sil Lum, with his own additions and emphases.

I'd got out of the habit of training high kicks, and most of the forms I practice regularly only contain front kicks and low side kicks. I've gone back to training my flexibility a bit more and running through a form which contains mid-level sidekicks and roundhouse kicks. I'd like to keep the abilities I once had, including these kicks. The increased flexibility and lower limb dexterity won't hurt my Jiu Jitsu, either. Plus ... high kicks are cool.

I still find parts of Chum Kil and Bil Jee, Wing Chun forms, challenging. Especially the front kick, side kick combos on one foot while keeping the hands strong and in the correct positions. I nail this probably ninety eight per cent of the time, but that extra two percent is alway on my mind and remains a challenge. The goal, I guess, is to complete the form without fear or anxiety with total faith in one's ability to perform all the movements with the correct form and feeling. Mushin. No mind.

Wing Chun is not regarded (at least not by non-exponents) as an internal style of martial arts, but I try to perform its forms as if they are. Not fast or explosive, but as relaxed as possible, flowing and with good form and structure.

The breath is very important. Full breaths into the lower lobes of the lungs, as most recently highlighted for me by Steve Maxwell, in an environment only incidentally related to qigong.

I'm a sceptic about qi and internal energy, but I still try to feel energy flow unobstructed through each movement and extend each as far as it should go without restriction. Flow, the buzzword of the oughties and ... tensies? is what I am trying to feel and achieve. As if I were surfing the waves of energy, dancing on the energy web.

Like taiji? Yes and no. I have a little taiji in my past, and in my opinion the stepping and movement in taiji is looser, longer and wider than it is in Wing Chun. Wing Chun requires a tighter and more precise stance and structure, where taiji moves back and forth like a wave, Wing Chun works by stepping back, forwards, and sideways, with the spine mostly staying in vertical alignment, vertebrae stacked in the appropriate posture for transmission and reception of power. Like a spring. A spring only tenses and resists when an outside force is applied or removed.

I personally can't feel this if I'm fast and explosive. I've generally done my forms slower than most others ... but David Crook always said the my forms were very much my strong point, and Rick Spain always had me lead forms demonstrations. I must be on the right track.

After a nice walk down to the courts, breathing ladders and forms, I usually feel extraordinarily calm and at peace, I look around, listen to the cockatoos and currawongs, and sometimes something like this stick will catch my eye. I imagined it as a big lizard or a small dragon, watching me as I watched it, linking me to some imaginary plane where sticks turn into dragons and I, at some level, am a magician.

As above, so below.

I have an active imagination. A good friend told me to "Never lose it" on Facebook. Not a chance.