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#209888 - 11/30/05 06:55 PM Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top (Blocking guard)
JKogas Offline
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Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Fundamental 5 (etc)

Ok, here’s the thread you all wanted – the Fundamental 5.

Here they are again, listed in the revised order that Matt Thornton sees as their natural order (the order in which you will encounter their "necessity"):

1. Blocking out the guard
2. Locking in position
3. Killing the inside arm
4. Controlling the far elbow
5. The Floating top game

And the 6th fundamental (my OWN inclusion to this list)

6. The “Harness” game (taking the back)

What I’m going to do is provide my OWN perspective on these various fundamentals based on my experience with them.

In this first post, we'll just deal with blocking out the guard:

This is the first fundamental because without doing this, you’ll just wind up right back inside of someone’s guard and any effort you used to pass it will have been all for nothing. You don't want that, do you?!

Blocking out the guard is a relatively simple process accomplished by keeping his hip in check. Notice I said "simple". Don't confuse that with "easy". That depends on how good your timing is versus how good your opponent's ability to create space is.

You keep the hips in check by keeping either your knee, bicep or your own hip tight against his hip (on the near side to you obviously).

When I use my knee to block out, I will sometimes adjust to my opponent when he creates space by continually sliding my knee back up against him, maintaining tightness to him.

Many times I’ll use my arm to block the hip out. This is particularly true when I’m “walking the clock” (moving from 9 to 3 on the clock with my opponent’s head by 12:00 and his legs being 6:00. Always stay away from 6).
I run my arm all the way to the bicep against his hip on the near side and hug tight (my other arm is usually staying tight as well against his far arm and is helping me hug tight to my opponent).

Sometimes I will sit out using my own hip against his hip (kesure kesa gatame / modified scarf). Whichever way you choose will accomplish the same objective - which is again, to prevent him from easily bringing his legs underneath your cross-sides position and recovering his guard.

You can create an isolation drill to practice your timing, having your opponent try and only obtain the guard as you practice blocking his attempts. Everyone has a different style in jiu-jitsu. I accomplish these fundamentals in my own way. But, the underlying concept is absolutely critical, regardless of how it’s done. Those three methods of blocking the guard (knee, arm or hip) need to be in place to make it as hard as possible to keep someone from easily recovering the position.

To make it short, it’s really no more complicated than sticking something in his hip and keeping it there. Timing is important. Also, understanding how to lock in position will do a lot for your ability to prevent someone from easily shrimping away and obtaining the guard – but that’s another of the fundamental 5 and that's coming up.

More to come…


-John

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#209889 - 11/30/05 07:32 PM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: JKogas]
Dereck Offline
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Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
John, is blocking the guard mostly for when you are in side or front mount (over top of the head)? If I'm understanding this correctly, and forgive if I'm not, when you have your weight over their body and you are moving around the clock ... which is why I was thinking of side mount ... you are using say your arm to keep him in check by placing it against his hip? Or when you are in side mount you may have your knee up against his hip? I'm trying to visualize the bicep but nothing comes to mind. Maybe I'm thinking of this in the wrong context.

Like Matt we certainly appreciate you doing this because the more I learn the better. If I get it from my Instructor or a DVD or a seminar or from this forum, I can put it all together and try it on the mat. (Try it on Matt )

So if I'm misunderstanding you please forgive me. In the other post about pinning you said visual would help and I'm think that I agree but we will do our best to learn from you just be prepared for questions. Thanks

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#209890 - 11/30/05 08:12 PM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: Dereck]
JKogas Offline
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Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Dereck wrote:

Quote:

John, is blocking the guard mostly for when you are in side or front mount (over top of the head)?




Predominantly yes. I use the term “cross-sides’ (aka, “side control”) to refer to ANY position on top, other than the mount. This would include, cross-body, side body (modified scarf), reverse side body (reverse scarf where you’re facing the feet) knee on belly and north-south. Anytime you’re in these positions, you need to firstly block out the guard.

Quote:


If I'm understanding this correctly, and forgive if I'm not, when you have your weight over their body and you are moving around the clock ... which is why I was thinking of side mount ... you are using say your arm to keep him in check by placing it against his hip?




Yep. Some folks teach just grabbing the pants on the near side of the hip. I prefer running the arm all the way through to the bicep. This will be your hip-side arm (arm closest to his hips).


Quote:


Or when you are in side mount you may have your knee up against his hip? I'm trying to visualize the bicep but nothing comes to mind. Maybe I'm thinking of this in the wrong context.




Keeping the hip-side knee tight against his hip will block out his guard. Actually, some are placing the knee a little higher up near the waist now. Try that and see how it works for you.

As far as the bicep is concerned, you’re lying flat across your partner. Place your bicep tight against his hip with your forearm under his legs and behind his butt. Your palm needs to be facing toward you so you can achieve a better pulling motion (you’ll be hugging with a slight pulling motion inward toward you). Don’t pull so hard that you have a death grip and tire yourself out though.

Quote:


Like Matt we certainly appreciate you doing this because the more I learn the better. If I get it from my Instructor or a DVD or a seminar or from this forum, I can put it all together and try it on the mat. (Try it on Matt )




No sweat. I’m no black belt by any means but I’m more than happy to share my experiences with you. Please bear in mind that this comes from more of a no-gi perspective although all of these fundamentals work using a gi as well.

Quote:


So if I'm misunderstanding you please forgive me. In the other post about pinning you said visual would help and I'm think that I agree but we will do our best to learn from you just be prepared for questions. Thanks




Questions are good . That’s what these forums are for! Lets have some fun.


-John

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#209891 - 11/30/05 08:52 PM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: JKogas]
MattJ Offline
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John, this is great stuff.

Now, if I am understanding you correctly, typically you would be using knees to block guard if you are "sitting up" ie; not belly-to-belly/chest with the opponent?

It seems that using your arm to block guard would be easier when you're upper body is lower (chest-to-chest), where you could more easily reach his hip with your hand. I guess this varies depending on exactly which position we're talking about.

If you have "knee-ride" mount, is there a preferred way to place the knee (ie; more parallel and higher to his sternum or more perpendicular and lower along the abs)?

Sorry for the 8 billion questions.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#209892 - 11/30/05 09:09 PM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: MattJ]
JKogas Offline
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Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Quote:

John, this is great stuff.

Now, if I am understanding you correctly, typically you would be using knees to block guard if you are "sitting up" ie; not belly-to-belly/chest with the opponent?




You’re going to have to explain what you mean a little further Matt. When you say “sitting up”, are you describing a modified scarf hold position?

Like this: http://www.redbrick.dcu.ie/~judo/Kesure-Kesa-Gatame.jpg

That’s the only time I can think of where I’ll be sitting up (the rest of the time I'm going to stay low). If you’ll look at the picture there, you’ll see that your HIPS are what are blocking out the guard in that position.


Quote:


It seems that using your arm to block guard would be easier when you're upper body is lower (chest-to-chest), where you could more easily reach his hip with your hand. I guess this varies depending on exactly which position we're talking about.




More of than not, you WILL be lower and chest to chest, with the exception of the side body positions and the knee ride. But you’re right, that’s where I use the bicep to block the guard – when I’m low and have my chest over his.

Quote:


If you have "knee-ride" mount, is there a preferred way to place the knee (ie; more parallel and higher to his sternum or more perpendicular and lower along the abs)?




Different people do it different ways. In training, I keep it low over the belly (so long as you keep the other leg away from your opponent where he can't easily grab it and dirupt your balance). When you go higher you can cause a LOT of “discomfort”. There are no hard and fast rules so experiment and find your own way of riding. Its use is different when wearing a gi as you can pull upward on the cloth at the belt and the collar.

I tend to control an arm and pull tightly up behind the neck with the knee on belly. It’s a temporal position that can degrade quickly with no-gi. I use it to set things up (submission or the mount) and don’t try to “hold” it as a static position. That’s just me.

Quote:


Sorry for the 8 billion questions.




Look at my post count. Do you really think I MIND, lol?


-John

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#209893 - 11/30/05 09:32 PM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: JKogas]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
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Loc: York PA. USA
Quote:

You’re going to have to explain what you mean a little further Matt. When you say “sitting up”, are you describing a modified scarf hold position?

Like this: http://www.redbrick.dcu.ie/~judo/Kesure-Kesa-Gatame.jpg





Exactly John. I do not know the common terms for a lot of these moves, so bear with me.

I noticed in that picture that the figure doing the Kesa-Gatame had his knee next to (under?) the shoulder of the opponent. That is actually what I was referring to, although I am glad that you pointed out that the hip is actually the main block.

I assume if the figure doing the Kesa-Gatame was facing the opponent's feet in the picture, he would want to have his near knee on the opponent's hip or thigh as well, to help prevent rolling out?
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#209894 - 11/30/05 10:30 PM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: MattJ]
JKogas Offline
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Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Quote:


Exactly John. I do not know the common terms for a lot of these moves, so bear with me.




No problem main.

Quote:

I noticed in that picture that the figure doing the Kesa-Gatame had his knee next to (under?) the shoulder of the opponent. That is actually what I was referring to, although I am glad that you pointed out that the hip is actually the main block.




Yeah...SORT of under his shoulder. It'll be actually be more under his elbow/tricep. I usually don’t get the leg that high to where it would actually be under his shoulder (near his neck). That’s more Kesa gatame whereas we’re talking Kesure kesa gatame (this isn’t to say that it’s impossible to get the leg under the shoulder).

I try and get my opponent's near elbow and tricep onto my thigh. I just don’t want his elbow hitting the mat if possible. If that happens and he begins to scoot out, I have to change position. That really isn’t a problem though.

When your opponent does get his elbow to the mat, he will often expose his far arm to the shoulder lock (Americana, etc). Be ready for that.

Quote:

I assume if the figure doing the Kesa-Gatame was facing the opponent's feet in the picture, he would want to have his near knee on the opponent's hip or thigh as well, to help prevent rolling out?




Yeah, you’ll be using your knee nearest your opponent to control that hip.

Here’s a variation of the positions of “side body”: When you sit out with your hips, contort your upper body so that it’s still somewhat face down on your opponent. In other words, don’t sit up when you sit out. Practice that variation when your opponent tries to create space with his arm by sitting out so your leg slides underneath his elbow (which is pushing against your hip). Then turn your hips back over and get TIGHT to him! That will work to kill the arm (fundamental number three).

You can ALSO do that when you sit out in reverse side body (facing the feet). Sit out keeping your torso flat when his leg comes inward as he tries to obtain the guard. You’ll find that his leg will stop at your hip and he will be unable to proceed further.

Man it’s hard to explain. Heard the expression, a picture (video here) is worth a thousand words? Well, I’m needing those thousand words to adequately describe this (not that I mind….I can type fairly fast, lol).


-John

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#209895 - 12/01/05 12:38 AM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: JKogas]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
Coool!

These are the details that I took for granted and largely ignored in favor of rolling footlocks, calf cranks and other such junk when I first started. This is where the rubber hits the road.

Learn it now or be doomed to learn it later when you realize what a big hole you have in your top game.

In response to MattJ's question:

"Please help us poor, no-BJJ-in-the-area-havin' slobs out with controlling the far elbow. Examples?"

Control of the far side arm is probably as important as blocking out the guard in this situation. Why? Well, the first thing a BJJ student learns to do is shrimp and get on his side to pull guard or duck out the back and go to their knees. You see it in basic headlock escapes, etc. So much so, that you will rarely, if ever see anyone use a headlock or even scarfhold (hon kesa gatame) in a BJJ school as it is regarded as an inferior hold and one step away from the bottom guy escaping. What does this have to do with controlling the far side arm? Plenty.

Controlling the far side arm give the top player a lever to both lift and control the bottom guy as well as totally shutdown his ability to turn to his knees to the open side. If he cannot get his elbow to the floor, it does not matter. He cannot get completely to his knees and stay there. The top guy can just pick up on the elbow and torque him back over.

We control the far side arm in one of several ways.

1. Basic underhook. You are cross side on top with your hips and legs to your opponent's right. Your right arm is under your opponent's left arm/elbow/armpit. Your left arm might be under his neck. You would probably be blocking out the guard with your right knee or your hip.

2. Basic Overhook. Same top position as above but now your left arm is wrapped over his shoulder/ upper arm and under his armpit. In this case, you would probably be blocking out the Guard with your free hand, your knee or your hip.

Control of the far side arm is critical to effective passing and pinning strategy. UFC/KOC veteran Chris Brennan has made the observation that you shouldn't even think of finishing a guard pass without a good far side underhook. Without it, the bottom guy will be out the back and choking you by the time you get passed the legs.


Edited by Fletch1 (12/01/05 01:01 AM)
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#209896 - 12/01/05 12:44 AM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: JKogas]
Dereck Offline
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Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Quote:

Different people do it different ways. In training, I keep it low over the belly (so long as you keep the other leg away from your opponent where he can't easily grab it and dirupt your balance). When you go higher you can cause a LOT of “discomfort”. There are no hard and fast rules so experiment and find your own way of riding. Its use is different when wearing a gi as you can pull upward on the cloth at the belt and the collar.




I've practiced similar to this and have had it done to me as well. Usually keeping close will slide the knee on the stomach, grab the belt and then the collar while sliding the knee up to the solarplex and exploding upwards pulling the belt and the collar while focusing my downward force into the solarplex. Trained but I haven't used it effectively as of yet. Have had it used effectively on me so I know it works when it does. I believe you can also keep it on the stomach but if a guy has strong abs it will have less effect. In this case a jack hammering type of motion with your knee will catch him in between breaths and clenching and can work as well

In side control to keep in close I try to put my one knee up against their head while that same arm/elbow pressed up against their head. Depending on how long their body is I try to put the other knee as far down as I can on the body. Have you had much effect with this? This does create a little space for him as you cannot sink yourself as much on them but my hopes is that an arm will become a target when they try to move me. If things aren't working out then I can easily abandon it and do a sprawl and put my whole weight on their chest and move which ever way with them to try to keep this position. Your idea with the hand controlling the hips I have not tried and this is something I want to try on the mat next time. With the hand I will be able to feel him move either way ... if he moves away I can move more effectively with him ... if he moves into me I will feel the pressure and can move the opposite way. If I'm able to get a hand hold of his pants this will make it much easier. It is a feeling thing.

My fear is loosing this top position with my hand in this position. My hopes are that the longer I'm on top baring my weight down on him that this will tire him out more thus giving me the upper hand to try something else that he will be less effective to stop because he is tired.

Now with my hand on his hip and in the sprawl with my weight on his chest, where would you have your upper arm? Would you try to have this under his head? I'm thinking no as this could be trapped if he just reached back and grabbed his own shoulder. Then he could limit my moving with him and allowing him to shrimp push off me with his free arms and using his feet and reverse the situation.

I don't want to leave my hand out as a post because again he could trap this behind his head. Would you have your arm across his throat ... or is that not legal? Over top and away from his head and outstretched? I'm trying to picture it in my head but come up blank. If I was on a mat with somebody (mat not Matt ) then I might be able to better explain it.

Hope that give you something to work with? Looking forward to your answers. Thanks John.

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#209897 - 12/01/05 11:03 AM Re: Fundamental 5 for cross-sides top [Re: JKogas]
ToddR Offline
Member

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 148
Loc: York, PA
Thanks for the link to the DCU Judo Club! That's a great resource. I just started judo as a way to get some grappling training in (since there are no BJJ schools close to me, right MattJ?) and I was a little overwhelmed with all the Japanese terminology ("uhhhhhh, so that's a 'scarf hold' right?) It's also really helpful to have that link to the belt curriculum since the judo kai I'm attending seems to be less structured than some places I've trained. I like to know what I'm supposed to be working on esp. when I start a new martial art.

Thanks again JKogas. Great post. BTW, aren't you in North Carolina? I'm from Southern Pines and went to college in both Chapel Hill and Boone.

ToddR

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