Last Friday, Dave had the class practice escapes from Yoko Shiho and Kuzure Yoko Shiho Gatame (kuzure means variation), the side four quarter ground lock or hold.
One major beef of mine is with fighters who get pinned on their backs – deliberately or in error – and can’t get out. They will get pounded, elbowed, and basically, clobbered. In the years since the first UFC with the introduction of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we have had so many fighters lay on their backs and try to win from there. It was far worse the first few years when everyone followed the Gracies’ techniques to the letter, especially pulling guard. Since MMA fights tend not to have gis, pulling guard with the objective of sleeve chokes isn’t too practical. Pulling guard, being on the bottom, is not something to aim for: In BJJ rules, there are limited ways to gain points from that position, so you really want to get out of there. If you are there, through happenstance or deliberately, you want to get out from under your opponent. If nothing else, he can use gravity against you – he can lift his head and torso and just drop arms, hands, shoulders, and elbows on your head. If he is a strong ground and pound guy, and you are on the bottom, you may well be toast.
I know some of you love the guard, love crossing your ankles and holding the guy. You think you’re in control. In fact, the guy on top has the superior position and that’s where you want to be. If you’re on the bottom, in a BJJ match, get some points by sweeping your opponent and get out of there. Switch positions.
Dave Here - Note that you get points for getting OUT of guard, not for getting into guard. Just that alone should tell you that it is not the desired position. If one of the major objectives of your guard work is to achieve a sweep and get on top, then, logically, it is much better to just start on top in the first place!
Scenario: Your opponent has passed your guard and is in side mount: Practice the escapes from yoko shiho gatame and kuzure yoko shiho gatame. Chances are that the side control will be a kuzure (or variation), but the escape is similar for each variation. In judo, of course, we see the traditional and kuzure yoko shiho gatame as well.Click here to go to two escapes from yoko shiho gatame. Click here to go to escape from kuzure yoko shiho gatame.
Depending on how you learn, you may pick these up quickly and be proficient immediately. Others, such as I, may take a while to learn the new techniques, to incorporate them into muscle memory.
Crucial points for these escapes: For Yoko Shiho Gatame escapes, trap your opponent’s arm between your legs; move your body, not his, to lengthen and break his grip; facilitate the roll by pushing his head under your back (prevents him from posting with his forehead and also protects his head and neck). For Kuzure Yoko Shiho Gatame escapes, move onto your side and go under your opponent (this enables more of his mass to be on your center of gravity, making it easier to turn him); again, facilitate the roll and protect his head and neck by pushing his head under your back; if he has an arm behind your neck, trap his arm by pushing onto it with your own neck.
Practice these escapes with a partner, back and forth. You will get into slightly different positions each time, going from the escape to your own ground hold.
November 13, 2009