Saturday Blues


Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I know a LOT of techniques. What’s even weirder is knowing so many techniques, but using so few. Saturday made this pretty apparent. Because of judo and jujitsu I’ve been exposed to a lot of things Wade hasn’t. That’s not to say I know nearly as much as Wade or that I’m nearly as good at grappling, but it comes in handy some times.

Ken was our Saturday visitor (who hopefully becomes a Saturday regular). Wade did this choke to finish Ken. I of course called it out as it was happening and then after I got to demonstrate the variations of jigoku jime (“hell strangle” / “hell choke”). There are two variations from guard.

  1. Omo plata variation: So I’m shooting for an omo plata on their right arm (my left side). I’m pretty sure everyone knows how to do the basic omo plata from closed guard so here’s how you modify it – grab the collar. That’s it. My right hand goes thumb in on the same-side collar (so that my wrist goes across the windpipe). I shoot the omo plata but can’t turn all the way, use my leg on the back of their head/neck to force them into the choking hand. It really is that simple. Try it if you don’t believe me.
  2. Arm-bar variation: The traditional arm-bar from guard is called juji-gatame. If you’re not sure which arm-bar I’m talking about Google juji-gatame. I guarantee you know this. I’m again attacking the right arm, but now we’re going to choke in a more complex manner (and a super sweet set-up). I trap the arm with my right arm and grab the cross-collar with my left to pull Uke down so I can arm-bar (this prevents him from diving his head). I’m not tight enough. He pulls his arm out. Switch collar grips so that your left wrist is in his throat, and kick your left leg over the head.

Those are both technically inverted. Traditionally hell choke is done from the Crucifix position. I ended up showing a third variation from guard which is a lot more complex and ends up with both your ankle and your wrist doing what’s essentially a cross-collar choke (but I still consider jigoku because of the hand and leg placement trapping them). It’s a bit odd. It ended up with the realization – I know this technique. I know it well. Why don’t I use it more often? When I roll I feel like I use like 10% of what I know and that’s if it comes up. A good 1-5% of what I know is just the basic positional stuff which ends up being what I do 98% of the time – escape side control, get kesa, turtle roll, re-guard. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be though. Maybe 98% of your time should be spent on 2% of what you know. Still, I should start swapping out my submissions for other, less-simple follow-up attacks instead of the reliable chain everyone knows and can counter.

Then we did Berimbolo. We played with the position and a few sweeps and variations. None of us are familiar with it. I’m not going to lie. Wade and I know it from videos. It’s not something we’ve seen even as a De La Riva lineage school. So we played. There’s that one sweep everyone shows. It works. It’s pretty much the same as the “helicopter sweep” we do from DLR. I don’t know what the universal name is. If you look up “helicopter sweep” on YouTube you’re going to get a lot of stuff that isn’t it. The big difference is where we come up on the leg we pass to side control while the Berimbolo sweep takes the back.

So, just like stopping everything else from the DLR, I took my heel hook hold and just sat my weight back. You don’t apply the heel hook mind you, but by holding it the leg can’t turn. Well, the leg can turn, but it has to do so independently of the foot and ankle. Until some structure is seriously damaged that’s not really an option. So we just sat. They can’t spin without the leg being able to push and turn. I can’t escape or follow up without them trying to do something about it. When they try to I gained the ability to pass and to shoot directly into a toe hold, but since the normal counter to the DLR is a rolling toe hold or a rolling calf-crusher (depending on which leg we’re going to attack) it didn’t surprise me that the toe hold was there. It’s nifty – they play fancy-ass guard, you grab a leg and just wait. When they try their sweep anyway you get the leg-lock. When they realize they’re in trouble and try to break the hold you use it as an opportunity to pass. Life is good. I think we’re going to keep playing with the Berimbolo and this counter. Saturdays are officially lab days.

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