Shorter Ladders

Jiu-Jitsu is great because we get to spar every time we meet. That means that you get a lot of opportunities to experiment because you get a lot of opportunities to test your new thoughts.

My newest thought was that of making my technical ladders a bit shorter.

The Scissors Sweep is still my go-to sweep against a kneeling opponent. When I’m rolling, and have simply had enough of being on the bottom, I set up the Scissors Sweep. That technique goes something like this.

Closed Guard with the left hand gripping the opponent’s right sleeve and the right hand gripping the opponent’s collar.

Open your guard putting your left leg down by the opponent’s right leg and bringing your right knee across the opponent’s belt line.

Pull your opponent down with your collar grip. Pull up over your head, or across your body with your sleeve grip. Sweep to your right with your left leg an guide the opponent over with your right leg.

Follow your opponent up into the mount.

That’s a longer ladder than I want to have to climb every time I want to sweep. So, I want to shorten the ladder. Here’s how I’ve gone about doing it.

I look for a cross sleeve grip.

The opponent’s posture has to come forward and I have to eliminate the post on the side I want to sweep to. I realised that if I’m able to get a cross grip I can pull my opponent’s arm across his body. If I do it right it also brings him forward. This takes the steps of getting the grips, and breaking the posture and puts them into one step.

I don’t bother with the closed guard.

I usually play a seated guard looking to establish butterfly hooks. However, I also quite like to put my feet on hips and knees when the opponent is kneeling. If I establish a cross sleeve grip I tend to go straight to a hip/knee placement because I’ll look to either arm drag across, or sweep. Instead of having to open my guard, then get my feet in place I simply place my feet very close to where I want them to end up. This effectively cuts the leg placement process in half.

I have also started to bring my right leg, knee first across the opponent’s chest. I create a hook under the opponent’s armpit. This acts as a knee shield (similar to the z-guard) to help keep space, a barrier against around-the-leg passes to my right, and a placement that adds itself very well to the scissors sweep.

So, I develop a guard system around the knee shield with a cross sleeve grip all aimed at the scissors sweep. That systems means that the sweep is always two steps.

Pull my opponent’s arm across and towards my right shoulder as I push on the opponent’s right knee.

Follow over into mount.

Shorter ladder.

My current other options from that guard are:

– Armdrag to back transition

– Triangle if they try to underhook the right leg

– Omoplata if they try to overhook the right leg

– Figure 4 if they pull arm free and post

– Guillotine if they pull the arm free and come forward with the head

I’m also looking to develop a similar system when I can’t get the cross sleeve grip but can get the cross collar grip, which has presented itself as of late.




A Breather…

As the end of the year comes around I find myself getting busy.

I work a full time job. Leave for work at 7:20. Get home at 5:30

I have a wife and 2 children. My wife is Naomi. My oldest boy is Josiah. He’s 2 1/2. My youngest is Noah, who is 6 months.

I travel most weekends teaching, preaching, playing music, or just hanging out at some conference or church or something like that.

All that has finally caught up with me. Last weekend did me in. I came down sick on Sunday morning and have just recovered on Wednesday. I decided (well, my body decided) that it was a good week to take evenings off.

So, I’ve missed three training sessions in a row, and haven’t worked out once this week.

That’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s probably the best decision I’ve made in a while. I missed getting on the mats. I missed learning some new techniques, or tricks to apply to old techinques. I missed chats with my instructor about the things that happened at class the night before. But, I know I am going to be better off for it. I’ll come back to the mats fresh.

I’ve realised that my body needs rest. Go figure.

I’ve also realised that my mind needs rest. Double, go figure.

After a week off I feel ready to take in some new stuff. That brings me to my newest revelation.

There’s such a thing as too much information.

In my week off I got a BJJ newsletter that highlighted the fact that for the first couple years of BJJ you should only concentrate on the basics. I also re-read an article from JB Will saying the same thing. I also ran over a note in my journal in big, bold letter saying, “DO THE SIMPLE THINGS WELL”. 

It’s been a very timely reminder for me in my week off. I am now simplifying my training, simplifying my thinking, and simplifying my gameplan. I’m not starting over, I’m simply getting back to some things that I know work.

What I expect will happen is that I will see them from an angle I’ve never seen them from before. I will gain new insight into some old stuff. It’s already happened through some visualisation that happened on the train home from work. A new path to a sweep combo.

Oh the glory that is A Breather…

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