Our classes are unusual: we begin by grappling for about an hour. A match could be five minutes or forty-five, if the pair want to keep at it. After we are finished grappling, Dave asks if anything came up during the fights which was interesting, difficult to get out of, or just fun which we can all practice.
This approach works well for us: we had structured classes for many years and found them stifling. The senior members of the club spent virtually all their time teaching the same techniques over and over and spent far too little time working on their own skills.
We assume that you know a certain amount when you come to our class. If we know that you are a novice, someone will monitor you during your workouts, but we will not cater exclusively to beginners. You can work with any of the senior people, all of whom have their own idiosyncrasies and styles, all worth working out with.
Mike looks like the average southern European guy until you’re doing groundwork with him. He’s wiry, agile, smiles throughout most of his matches and has his eyes closed most of the time. He’s not intimidated by fighting a much larger person, mostly because lots of the others are bigger. He takes his time to get to the stage where he can win. He’s a great person to grapple with.
Chris is much heavier and stronger than Mike and, on the ground or standing, doesn’t like to lose. If you get a submission on the ground from him or a point when standing, you’ve really earned it.
Dave is bigger than Mike and smaller than Chris. He’s extremely difficult to choke (his favourite phrase is, “It’s only pain.”) and can weasel his way out of almost everything. I heard that the jiu jitsu people have begun calling him “The Cyborg”, which he is anything but. When he’s grappling with people, and he realizes they are trying a particular technique, he’ll let them go for it as long as necessary. They have to have the opportunity to try techniques. If they don’t quite work, he’ll stop the matches, show them the correct hand, arm, leg placements, etc., and then proceed. He’s a very good teacher.
Now for the Simple Takedown from the Ground: Dave and Chris were demonstrating this last Friday. You and your partner are on your knees facing each other. You want the upper position, controlling your partner’s body. Grip his lapel (if wearing judogi) or arm, if no gi, with one hand. With the other hand/arm grasping his arm, pull yourself into him at an angle of close to 90 degrees: you want to finish shoulder to shoulder with him. Using the second hand, pull down on uke, placing your shoulder on top of his. You now have the superior position.
Points to note: The lapel grip usually isn’t easy to get. Grab it anywhere with one hand and work your way up with both hands until you have a good grip.
You really have to pull yourself in to him, not him to you. This is done at the same time as your moving 90 degrees to him.
Once you have the superior position, your shoulder on top of his and both hands gripping him tightly, you can take uke down at will.
May 3, 2010