More than eight years ago, I got my grubby hands on Chuck Anzalone’s Tornado Guard instructional (now out of print and hard to get). And it was filled with all kinds of inversions and roly poly guard tricks. But I couldn’t do any of them.
Hell, every time I tried to granby, it was like a baby falling flat on his face while learning to walk.
I really wanted to hit those techniques though, so this is what I did:
For a period of about a month, I practiced rolling at home. But I created progressions that focused on the stickiest portions of the movement for me. For example, I could never complete the last portion of granby roll.
Over and over again, I would just flop down on my back half way through the movement.
That was my sticky point.
So started at that half way point by rolling back and touching my feet to the ground (if you can do this, you can granby). Then I worked just on spinning diagonally to my knees.
And I just kept progressing from that point as I reached milestones.
It only took me that month before I was able to invert and granby roll, and back then I was about 290 lbs. It didn’t matter though because practicing in a systematic way led to improvement.
And that’s a principle that can be applied to any thing.
Find the sticky point in a movement or technique, and then isolate it and work only on that small piece until you conquer it.
And when it comes to the granby in particular, the sticky points are generally found in two places:
- Lack of flexibility (you can’t roll up on your shoulders enough and your feet don’t come anywhere near the ground)
- Lack of motor skill (you’re unable to keep your hips in the air throughout the movement ie falling over halfway through)
For the lack of flexibility, it’s going to take time. I had a unfair advantage in that area. I wasn’t naturally flexible there, but in those days, hanging out in that position used to be a part of the warmup, so I gained that flexibility over a period of a few months.
If you have motor skill issues though, check out this video (in it, I break down several of the progressions I once used):
And just for fun, this is the series of attacks that inspired me to want to know how to granby: