Monthly Archives: September 2011
On October 8, 2011 in Philadelphia,PA, four MMA fighters from Tai Kai will fight in Asslyum Fight League 8. James Frier, Pat Dwyer, Saboor Coleman, and Shane Manley will all step in the cage to fight. Fights are 7 West Ritner Street, Asslyum Arena in Philadelphia. Doors open at 7PM fight Starts at 8PM. Tickets sold right now at Tai Kai. So come support your fellow students by coming to the fights.
Using the Power of Posture and Positioning to Prevent Problems
Whenever I’ve got someone in my guard I watch them very carefully for mistakes. If they make a mistake (and if I can capitalize on it quickly) then – boom – they’re gonna get swept or submitted.
The best part is that, if they’ve really screwed up, then I don’t even have to work hard to finish the move.
These mistakes all have to do with posture in the guard. Posture is the arm and body position that makes it difficult for your opponent attack you. It also gives you a launch pad for your own techniques. Posture is different for each position, and today we’re dealing with posture in your opponent’s guard.
So let’s assume that you find yourself in your opponent’s closed guard. (Similar principles apply for the open guard too).
Here are the three biggest mistakes you can make in when you’re trying to achieve posture in someone’s guard. If you make one of these mistakes you might as well cover yourself in wrapping paper and pin on a ribbon, because giving them a submission.
BJJ Guard Posture Mistake #1:
Hand on the Ground
As your opponent moves around and tries to offbalance you from below, it’s a natural reaction to put your hand on the floor. Well don’t do it! Putting your hand on the floor opens you up to various armlocks, including the reverse armlock (pictured above), the Kimura armlock, and the Omo Plata armlock.
Pretend that the floor is a hot iron skillet and keep your hands on your opponent’s body (gripping his sleeves to control his arms is also OK).
BJJ Guard Posture Mistake #2:
Elbow Across Centerline
Your opponent’s centerline runs along the front of his body. His nose, chin, sternum and belly button are all on this line. Don’t let your elbow cross his centerline, because that is the exact position he needs to slap on a very powerful armbar submission (shown above, on the right).
Sometimes an opponent will be hell-bent on getting your arm into this position. He’ll reef like crazy on your arm to get it across. Failing that, he might try holding your arm in place and move his own body to get you into this bad position. Once again, don’t let him do this. Fight to get your arm back and re-establish good posture!
BJJ Guard Posture Mistake #3
One Arm Under Leg
The third big mistake when making posture in the guard is putting one arm under his leg. If you do this you’re just begging him to triangle choke you (pictured above). The general rule is keep both hands over his legs, or both hands under his legs.
I should point out mistake isn’t as cut and dried as the first two posture disasters we talked about. There ARE valid guard passes that rely on getting one arm under his leg. These guard passes require a fair amount of sensitivity and attention to detail to make them effective and keep you safe. Feel free to use and develop these guard passes – they can be very effective – but just be very aware of the dangers whenever one arm goes under a leg (and know how to neutralize your opponent’s triangle attack).
The Take-Home Message…
Unless you know exactly what you are doing, these three posture mistakes will get you into a lot of trouble (and probably submitted).
So keep these general rules in mind:
* DON’T put your hand on the ground – your hands go on your opponent!
* DON’T put your elbow across centerline – keep each arm on its own side of your body!
* DON’T put one arm under his leg – both arms go over, or under, his legs!
If you incorporate these rules into your game (and don’t let your opponent force you to break them) then you’ll get submitted far less often when you’re in your opponent’s guard
Congrats to Tai Kai Brown Belt and Jiu Jitsu Nation Owner/Instructor Marc Stevens. He recently competed in two tournaments in two weekends. First was the Submission tournament in Rochester. He won his NO GI division and Also won the GI division. This past weekend he competed at the Grapplers Quest. He took Gold medals in the Advanced NO GI and also Brown Belt GI. A very nice two weekends in a row. Marc also that morning did a free seminar to benefit autism awareness. Congrats again to Marc Stevens.
My name is Ormond Morford and my friends thought I was crazy to try jiu-jitsu at my age…too old, too fat and too inflexible. This is a young man’s game and walking through the dojo door that first day, I thought maybe I was a little nuts, too.
I had decided to take jiu-jitsu when I retired three years ago at sixty years old. I needed something to keep me motivated to get regular exercise, including lots of stretching. I had always been interested in martial arts and jiu-jitsu seemed like something I could do. Although I had never done any wrestling, it did not appear too complicated or difficult. So I thought that I would give it a try.
I soon discovered that I could not beat the younger guys through strength and determination alone. They were so much stronger, more limber and quicker than me. The first few classes I attended were discouraging. I seemed to leave each class with a new set of bruises. What was I thinking?! The harder I tried, the more bruised and beat up I got.
My instructor, Chris Jones, at Durango Martial Arts said that I was trying too hard and to just relax. I had always been fairly strong and had done some kickboxing in my younger years, so I had assumed that I just needed to apply that approach with increased determination to jiu-jitsu. However, that is not how jiu-jitsu works and it slowly dawned on me that my instructor was right. When I was trying hard, I was probably doing it wrong.
Armbars, triangle chokes, kimuras and omoplatas… it was all a mystery to me. It took me about six months to relax and just focus on learning the leverage and techniques that apply to jiu-jitsu rather than trying to muscle my opponent around. I began to get a little more limber and learn the basic positions of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Then I could start learning about the various submissions.
I do have to say there were many times when I was discouraged and wanted to quit, but Chris kept encouraging me and kept reminding me to stop trying so hard. He pointed out that the difference between a white belt and a black belt is that a black belt was at one time a white belt who just kept plugging away and did not get discouraged and quit. He didn’t buy my story that I was too old and would never get it.
Jiu-jitsu was not tailor-made for me, but I could tailor my training to make it work for me. One thing that helped was that the gym began offering private lessons and I connected with a young purple belt, Matt Young, who took me under his wing.
We began to methodically go through the basic passes, sweeps, submissions and defense of submissions and I started to make slow, steady progress. I began visualizing some of the basic jiu-jitsu moves when I was not even at the gym and that seemed to help lay down muscle memory patterns almost as well as drilling the moves in the gym and with a lot fewer bruises.
Being older, another problem I had was my memory. I would quickly forget which moves I had just learned, not to mention how to do them. So I decided to start keeping a training journal.
Pendulum SweepI am a very methodical, left-brained person. My learning seemed to become less random and haphazard when I began writing my own curriculum. I gained a certain comfort level with my learning, where I was going and where I had been.
It got so I could hold my own against other students with similar experience. I began enjoying my training sessions and I could see The Plan of how to gain a progressive knowledge of the sport and how to monitor my progress and fill the holes in my game as they became apparent.
As of this writing I have been training for about three years and I am currently a blue belt working toward my purple belt. Adjusting my training to make it appropriate to my age has been a challenge. I can remember one time when a young purple belt was snickering, because I could not finish my triangle choke. So I just squeezed down harder and accidently broke wind in his face. We both ended up rolling on the floor in laughter.
Some of the younger students don’t really understand my situation. They assume that since Helio Gracie was still rolling at age 93, I should be able to do it at age 63. But Helio had been rolling since he was a child and I am sure that he continually adjusted his game to accommodate his aging. Now I seek out kind and understanding partners who just want to share in the back and forth ebb and flow of advancing positions, defensive positions and defense of submissions. It is a lot more fun that way. I don’t get too exhausted or quite so banged up.
Interest in jiu-jitsu has been increasing dramatically over the past few years, especially with the popularity of the “Ultimate Fighter” and the UFC in general. A lot of folks probably believe that they are either too old, too overweight, not coordinated enough or the wrong gender to participate in a sport like jiu-jitsu.
Well, if a sixty year old retiree like me can begin the sport and be reasonably successful, why not give it a try? It is really fun and very motivating to improve your overall conditioning, flexibility and physical strength, not to mention your confidence level and feelings of accomplishment!
Congrats to Shane Manley and Stephen Elsenbeck on their Decisions wins this past Friday Night At Alliance Stadium. Shane won a One sided Decisions. That is 4 competitions for Shane in the best 5 weeks. Look for Shane to fight MMA OCT 8th in PA. Stephen won a decision in a war of a fight. The first round saw Stephen give his opponent a standing 8 count. The last round his opponent returned the favor. It was a war and Stephen really showed some great technique and heart. Congrats to them and Coach Darin Carroll for his great training and coaching.
This past Sunday Tai Kai Hosted a Caio Terra Seminar. The seminar went from 1:30-4:30. It was packed with 3 hours of instruction and rolling afterwards. This seminar had a different format. The students go to vote on what they wanted to learn. In the end it was the Spider Guard. Some interesting and effective spider guard concepts, submissions, and sweeps were introduced and drilled. We will continue to look at more of these techniques in our jiu jitsu classes. The seminar was very detailed. Each time Caio explained the technique he offered more and more detail. It was great having him in for a seminar and also great to see some of our old friends in for a seminar.