Aggressive Defence

I’ve been analysing my Jiu-Jitsu game lately (as I always am) and came to a realisation that I already knew (but was nice to remind myself of anyway). I remembered that my best attacks come from aggressive defence.

I grew up in the USA. I played Baseball when I was little and hated batting. I loved to field. I love the defensive part of the game. However, I was always very aggressive in defence. That translated into my batting as well. I was very concerned about not getting out. When I wasn’t focussed I would just close my eyes and swing away like there was no tomorrow. When I did that, I got out.

When I played Football (the American kind) I always preferred to be on defence. On offence I loved to block more than anything else.

When I played soccer I was usually in the midfield and I was always playing defensively.

When I played ice hockey I was always defensive minded.

Playing  rugby, I prefer to defend.

Playing cricket I prefer fielding to batting.

Now, in Jiu-Jitsu I am at my best when I play defence.

I am naturally defensive.

In BJJ this has some interesting translations.

I am working with a friend, doing some one-on-one sessions. I’m introducing him to the game and am already finding that I’m explaining to him a very defensive game. However, that’s not to say that I never attack. I’m attacking all the time.

One of the amazing things about BJJ is that you can become a very aggressive defender. For example, when I get caught in mount I am very aggressive in my escape plan. I fire them off quickly until one pays off. That’s not to say that I thrash around, growl, and throw my arms out. I’m defensive about my escapes, but I’m aggressive none-the-less.

Elbow escape, upa, snag & drag, back to elbow, snag & drag, elbow, upa… attack, attack, attack. I’m not giving away hooks. I’m not leaving my neck open. I’m not giving up my back. But I’m definitely letting them get comfortable. I’m firing off escape after escape after escape.

It’s the same in side control. Underhook, bridge up, hip out, turn in, underhook again, turn in more, move aggressively with their transitions.

Knee-ride? I bridge hard and quick.

Back control? I scoop down or scoot up quickly. I look to escape well before they have even established.

If they move an inch I try to take 4 and a half miles.

I’m very aggressive in my defence. In fact, I’m attacking.

If my opponent is having to defend against an escape, they can’t submit me.

Next time, I’ll talk about all the submissions that I use off opponent’s escapes. Reason is, because that’s another part of aggressive defence.

Man, this is a fun game.

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Mount-ober: Session four

My last training session didn’t actually bring with it any specific lessons. Mostly, I just found that I was still making the same mistakes, although slightly less. It’s progress, but I won’t be fully satisfied until I’m not making those mistakes at all.

If you’re wondering what I’m going on about read this, this, and this to see the lessons I’ve picked up so far in my training focus on the mount.

In today’s blog I would simply like to make an observation, or two.

My focus is attacking from the mount position during sparring. I’ll lay out my current game plan and make note of the things that I find interesting.

From Head to Head the Arm Drag is what I’m looking for from standing/kneeling starts. From standing I would likely look for a single leg as my second option. From kneeling I usually look to (1) Arm Drag, (2) Pull Guard, or (3) Collar/Neck Drag. This is where those usually lead to:
Arm Drag to Back/Turtle Top/Guard Top
Pull Guard to Guard/Half Guard
Collar/Neck Drag to Turtle Top/Back

From Guard Top I look to pass the guard (obviously).

From Turtle Top I look to pull over and attack the Back.

From the Back I look to scoot around to Mount.

From Closed Guard I look to sweep into Mount (Scissors Sweep, Hip Bump Sweep), or scoot around onto the Back.

From Open Guard I look to sweep (Hooks Sweep, X Guard Sweep). Usually I end up either in Side Control or Guard Top.

From Half Guard I have been looking to get deep and scoot out the back door to the Back.

From Side Control I either look to switch base and Mount or transition to North/South.

From North/South I look to take the Back, or go to the other side into Side Control.

Now, that all looks pretty simple and straight forward. Here’s what I’ve observed from this game plan.

I have developed a Guard to Mount game.

I would say that I’m in one or the other 80% of the time, if not more. I believe a lot of this has to do with the previous month I spent working in Guard. It didn’t make me some amazing guard player, but it did get me very comfortable there. It also made me confident in my ability to get back to top once I am in guard. The previous month was spent on escapes, so I’m still rather confident getting out of trouble once I’m there.

When I do get to Mount I am not worried about getting rolled back into Guard. So, if I get a deep collar grip and have to give up the upa in order to get the other grip in, I’m happy to do that, and finish it from Guard. I’m comfortable and confident there.

In fact, in my last four sessions I have only finished once in Mount. All my other taps have come from a setup in Mount and a finish in Guard. Triangles, Armbars, Guillotines, and Cross Collar Chokes. All are set up in the Mount position initially. In order to lock them in I have been allowing the opponent to roll over into Guard. If they’re turning me, they’re not protecting their necks or arms.

If I don’t get the finish I let go and look to sweep back to Mount, or climb around to the Back.

Back to Mount. Mount attack. Finish in Guard OR restart.

This was not expected, but it has become welcome. It’s part of learning to embrace my natural game.

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