Dec 01

When the elbows close, la la land soon follows

Nov 30

The layers of an effective kneetap offense

The underhook half guard without a strong knee tap would be a sad and dreary thing.

Yes, you still have the kneebar, triangle, shovel sweep, and backtake, but understanding the mechanics of executing the kneetap and going for it with gusto opens the door for so much offense.

I would even say that having a great kneetap makes everything you do in the underhook half easier.

Case in point:

Opponents will commonly snap a strong overhook on you when you get to the underhook position and then try to flatten you The underhook half guard without a strong knee tap would be a sad and dreary thing.

Yes, you still have the kneebar, triangle, shovel sweep, and backtake, but understanding the mechanics of executing the kneetap and going for it with gusto opens the door for so much offense.

I would even say that having a great kneetap makes everything you do in the underhook half easier.

Case in point:

Opponents will commonly snap a strong overhook on you when you get to the underhook position and then try to flatten you out by driving into you. In that moment, there are many opportunities, but if you go for the kneetap first, you will magnify their response and make even easier to roll through for the shovel sweep, jump up for the triangle, swing through for the backtake.

There’s even a whole offensive sequence that flows from the kneetap based entirely on how opponents will try to stop the sweep.

And how, oh how, will those dastardly fiends attempt to stop your glorious sweep?

Let us count the fiendish ways:

  • They’ll base out by moving their outside knee far away so you can’t reach it.
  • They’ll step their outside leg up and close the path to the sweep with solid base.
  • They’ll snap the overhook on you and pressure down to threaten the armbar.
  • They’ll post on your shoulder and weaken your control by creating separation.
  • They’ll drive into you hard to force you flat.
  • They’ll frame against your neck and commit outright underhook theft in broad daylight.

…..those bastards.

But I got something for them.

Some of those responses are exactly what I want for hitting the triangle, backtake, shovel sweep, and for finishing the kneetap in more dominant fashion.

And you know what?

Elements of that strategy are already covered in my half guard course, and more are the way. In fact, I’ll be taping today. Plan to add some demonstrations that show the systems of offense in quick little bits for review and study.

It’ll be all found here soon enough:

Nov 29

Slipping out of grapevine like a ghost

Nov 28

Failure was an absolute certainty

Recently, I started re-reading Mindset by Carol Dweck.

It’s one of my favorite books in the world, and I consider it to be required reading for anyone who is serious about excelling in anything. In fact, I would even rank it significantly above the Inner Game of Tennis, which is a damn fine book as well.

Anyway, in Mindset, the first story told is of her experience studying how kids cope with failure.

To do that, she brought kids one at a time to a room in their school, made them comfortable, and then gave them a series of puzzles to solve.

At first, each puzzle was easy, but progressively, they became more and more difficult, until failure was an absolute certainty. Some kids shocked her though. When faced with failure, they got excited.

It was the strangest thing.

The challenge and the opportunity to learn fired them up, and that experience was the spark that led her down a path of further study into the role that mindset plays in achieving success in all endeavors.

Now why does any of this matter?

Well, it got me to thinking about how my experiences with failure have shaped my skill development. In fact, I asked myself this question:

If I could erase every time I’ve failed on the mat or in competition from existence, and leave only my successes, would I be better or worst than I am right now?

Of course that’s a hard question to answer, but my first inclination is an emphatic no.

Failure has often led me to make vital adjustments. And without it, I just don’t see how creativity is possible. Trial and error is one of the life’s best teachers for a reason.

Case in point:

Many years ago, at Evolve (my original academy), there was wrestler that we all called Smiddy. He had a ridiculous overhook in top half guard, and he loved to break you down with it then snap a guillotine on you lightning quick.

For the most part, I’ve survive through most of the choke attempts, but that overhook was lethal. It put all kinds of pressure on my arm, and at some points, I was just mere inches away from getting armbarred.

Then I made an adjustment.

I started driving my shoulder into his armpit and shooting the underhook deeper. It reduced the pressure in an instant and made the position comfortable for me again.

From there, I could attack.

That whole shoulder drive is a detail that I haven’t yet broken down in half guard trickery (otherwise known as the institute of higher half gyard learning) but it will be explored soon.

And more crucial details can already be found inside.

So if half is your kind of game, go here:

Nov 27

Lesson learned from playing on the bad side

Over the last few days, I’ve been making a conscious effort to drill and play half guard on my bad side.

As a result, I’ve had a revelation about the mechanics of the tilt.

I realized that there was a way to magnify the force generated in the sweep. One that I simply hadn’t been using on my good side.

Why?

It’s because I didn’t need to. And there was only one exception to that operating process. I used it with the hip tilt counter to the over under and nowhere else.

On my bad side though, I just couldn’t generate the same leverage because I hadn’t spent years developing vital movement mechanics though, so I had to cheat.

And I did it in the very best of ways.

I planted my feet and bridged before shooting the hip across to finish the sweep.

Anyway, that may be helpful if you’ve been having trouble tilting with authority.

If, however, you have no knowledge of how devastating the sweep can be and all the additional offensive options that can flow from it, one of the best places to learn such things is up in my half guard course.

And this is the very last day, to get it half off when you snatch up all the little tricks in my micro adjustments.

So not only will learn all kinds of half guard tricks, but all this will also be at the tips of your fingers:

  • How to make your darce chokes more lethal with just a slight modification to the attack. (This was inspired by several of the insights I learned from Dave Porter, and his darce is phenomenal.)
  • Why someone gripping your pants in your closed guard is a gift that you should take without the slightest bit of remorse. (‘Tis one of the easiest ways to hit one of the most basic closed guard sweeps.)
  • How a small adjustment to foot placement will radically increase the effectiveness of the x pass. (When I learned this from Abmar Barbosa, it blew my mind, and it changed how I do this pass for all time.)
  • A IBJJF legal ankle lock from the 50/50 that I’ve caught many people with nonchalant ease over the years. (Because I have this in my arsenal, I caught remember the last time I was frustrated about being stuck in 50/50.)
  • How to create soul crushing pressure. (It’s so bad that not only will people tap to the choke but even when they somehow survive that first threat, they still wish they were anywhere else but there at that moment.)
  • Some simple tactics for finishing the choke against hyper defensive opponents when you’re on their back. (Few things are worst than having all your attacks neutralized when you’re in dominant position.)
  • A stupid simple method for dealing with those who choose to stall in your closed guard. (When done right, it’ll give you immediate offensive opportunities.)
  • The one little grip that will drastically increase your control of the omoplata in the gi. (If you want to finish the submission more often, it’s something that must be in your toolbox.)
  • How to approach escaping from the back on a philosophical level. (You’ll learn exactly what your key objectives should be and how to increase both your survival rate and your escape probability.)
  • An exploration of the long step counter to the reverse de la riva and what can be done to counter. (Something you can steal and dance on fools tomorrow with.)
  • A breakdown of an aerial assault counter to the kneecut. (You’ll learn why it works and what can be done to kill it from the other side.)
  • The specific angles that decide who wins or loses the battle in the over under butterfly position. (I learned this many moons ago when I was a blue belt, and it has been a mega game changer.)
  • A solution to a position that frustrated me for way too long during an hour and half superfight. (I should have figured this out during the match because the solution is way too simple.)
  • How to deal with opponents who bait the triangle in order to pass in a way that will leave them frustrated and helpless. (This change in tactics has reaped massive benefits for me.)

….And time is running out.

Burst through the gates here as your scream we don’t need no stinking badges: