Archive for the ‘Positioning, movement, mechanics’ Category

Chris Haueter double under pass (videos)

October 30, 2011

Chris is a master of the double under pass.  It’s an awesome approach that takes away so many guard bottom options.  Planning on a private covering this very subject the next time he’s in town.  Here is a paticular part of this progression that to my knowledge he made up.

Rated R for langauge and adult content=):

Competition footage of Chris’s passing game:

One of Chris’s favorite movie clips you pansies:


Question #4: Transitioning, and game plans versus reacting

July 21, 2011

Can you write a little on how you are able to tell how much to invest in holding a position before you decide to switch, i.e. how much of your game is based on controlling your opponent and implementing YOUR game plan vs complete reaction to their movements; and how has that changed as you progressed?

Great question!

Saulo has a great quote: 

“If you have to think, your late.  If your late, you  muscle. If you muscle, you get tired. If you get tired, you die.” 

The way I interpret thinking here, is he’s talking about extremely high level BJJ where people’s attacks are reflexive.  If your posture and defense aren’t just as ingrained, guess who’s going to lose?

In terms of holding positions, for the sake of pure BJJ I don’t think it is wise to invest anything.  Why?  Because once you start investing, you tense.  To steal Saulo’s theme, the more tense you are, the less relaxed.  The less relaxed you are, the less aware. 

Awareness predicates intelligent response.

What you can do study-wise, is research when positioning is solid and why?  This is the mechanical aspect of BJJ.

For example, when you have harness/head-and-arm control from cross-side top, with head buried to prevent framing, you have excellent positioning.  Why?  Because you’ve taken away the far-side frame, and essentially made yourself a part of the person on bottom. 

If you start investing though, rather than relaxing and molding to your opponent,  you increase the odds of being rolled, especially with a grappler who has 50 lbs. + on you.  The bigger the weight, size, and strength difference, the more you’ll have to rely on sensitivity, and movement stay out of guard and on top.

That’s it really.  From the outside looking in, it may look like I have a game plan, but what I’m looking to do has more to do with physics, mechanics, and awareness than trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

In terms of my evolution, up until brown I tried to force things, and still catch myself doing it now, so it’s a matter of taking my own advice.  When you have a knowledge advantage you can force things, but this approach is a death-wish among savvy brown and black belts. 

Over-committing will eventually lead to this:

Question #2: Default grips for guard and guard passing

July 3, 2011

Do you go for a default set of grips from guard/passing?  If so, what? 

 Guard Top:

98% of guard passing to me is maintaining and recovering posture.  It’s a battle against myself.  I have gravity on my side, with the pressure on the bottom person to make something happen.  They can’t do anything unless I allow my head to be pulled down, elbows moved away from my torso, or letting them get underneath me. 

The best pass is your opponent overcommitting out of impatience and giving you a pass.  Why?  Because it takes very little energy.  As mentioned in the post below, the principle of conserving energy has gotten lost in the search for more cardio for better spazzing.

Hamster style

Official grips:  Posture and patience.

This might not seem like a practical answer but it’s an honest one.  My go-to grip is watching and waiting while protecting my base.  The longer the better, as the more I wait the more likely it is the person on bottom will get impatient.


Guard Bottom: 

I’ll grip the same-side collar or head in open guard, cross collar in closed.  My instructor passes easily if I take a cross-collar grip from open guard so I stopped doing that. 

If I’m having good day I’ll wait and see how the player responds to the grip, as I’m now connected to their torso and can feel their energy.  Do they come in or pull back?  Do they attempt to break the grip?  If so, are they exposing arms in the process?  Assuming they start on their knees, do the stay there or stand up?

I then take these general scenarios and build games around them through research and trail and error…

…that or keep gouillitining the guy who dives in head first, giving his neck up for the candy store. ;o)

Official grips:  Cross collar for closed guard, same-side collar for open and relaxation.

If the head isn’t there I’ll take whatever is available that offers the most control.  Cupping an elbow gives you more control than wrist control for example.

Related to relaxation, a huge mistake I’ve made for years and still make is unnecessarily tensing up when some one passes or starts to pass my guard.  In a competition with time limits and points this okay and possibly even smart, but in training it is a bad habit. 

People either pass guard because their timing is better than mine, they’re hitting unfamiliar angles, or a combination of both.  I’m never going to adapt to the timing if I freak out, and am not going to start seeing and feeling angles I don’t give my partner credit for. 

Let people have what they’ve earned.  Cheer on their pass and focus on relaxation and posture from cross-sides bottom.

This ties in with my earlier posts on mind-states.  Technical, deliberate, mindful training is everything.  Are you going to the gym with a plan, or there to be spoon fed before trying to kill your sparring partner by any means necessary during rounds and open mat? 

If it’s the latter, all the stuff you’ve been spoon fed is surface material that can’t stand on it’s own because you haven’t yet taken the time to create a personal context around your coaches offerings.  Your missing the art of martial art.

Awareness vs. Mechanics

June 29, 2011

The most important jiu-jitsu principle is taking what the person in front of you gives you. 

The mechanics of a move, posture, or position are designed to support awareness based principles.  Without awareness of momentum and energy in real-time I don’t care how good your mechanics are, your doing jiu-jitsu moves not jiu-jitsu. 

A pitfall of intermediate and advanced levels is you can force things on lesser experienced grapplers that seasoned veterans and people with size, speed, and strength will nullify or take advantage of.

I did a web search to reference the following quote that has always stuck with me to no avail before Chris’s comment below revealed it came out of Saulo Ribeiro’s ‘Jiu-Jitsu Revolution’ DVDs :

“There is no proper position without the proper time.”

Details and inches: Video of Marcelo breaking down a signature move

June 10, 2011

Outside the north-south choke so much of what I try to get across in this blog is demonstrated here:

Kesting spent 4-5 years experimenting with this choke, likewise his questions are brilliant.  Based on my experience a lot of people don’t have any questions entering a private (never mind good ones), or worse yet want me to calibrate where they are belt wise.

Marcelo is on the mat 3-4 a day, so 5 years of him working this choke is equivalent to the 15-20 years the average 3-4x a week grappler puts in.  Based Kesting and Garcia’s time invested this 10 minutes of FREE info is worth hundreds of dollars yet people commented on the poor audio.  Like Danaher wrote below: ‘Many will look, but few will see.’ ;o)

I didn’t necessarily like Kesting’s question about body types as 95% of the time this is an excuse not to even try.  Marcelo alluded to this as well.  You can make almost anything work if your willing to give it time, though, and practice.  To me genius isn’t about what you think, but how you think.

When not to move

March 9, 2011

I heard Rener Gracie say something so key yesterday:

‘Knowing when not to move is more important than knowing when to move.”


Because if your moving unnecessarily, all your accomplishing is wearing yourself out.

It goes back to the John Wooden quote of activity without achievement.

Exhaustion is perhaps the worst submission to be caught in, especially when you don’t get anything done in the process.

Rule number #1:  Don’t submit yourself.

Strive to understand the context of a move.  There is a timing element to every position, especially escapes.

Ideal purpose

February 17, 2011

I heard the following quote on a youtube (:28-:58  video and went ‘yeeessss:’

“There is hardly ever a sleight, technique, or move that is designed to be used equally well all the time in every situation.  A great deal about learning to be a cardman is learning to understand exactly what the ideal purpose is of every technique, idea…etc.”

Pure gold applying equally well to BJJ.

Why ‘moves’ don’t work

February 11, 2011

My friend Garrett mentioned the other day that he heard Royce say that drilling techniques doesn’t work because things don’t ever go down the same way in sparring.

This is where everyone gets lost.  The goal when you’re isolating a position is to get the idea behind the move ingrained.

I really don’t even like the idea of posture unless you give an explanation of the body mechanics behind it.

Without such explaining all you’re doing is giving a person something to copy before trying to apply it on a living, breathing, moving opponent.

The result more often than not is forcing something that isn’t there.

No timing, no sensibility, no jiu-jitsu.

The only way your going to pull off a ‘pass’ exactly the way it is shown in class is if you wrestling a grappling dummy.

Strive to understand the thinking behind the move:

What makes it work?  How?  What are the principles involved?  When does it work, when is it not there?

A technique is an isolated example of how you can achieve an objective.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Don’t get caught up on the finger…

Carlson Gracie Sr. video and quotes

February 4, 2011

Reading the ‘The Gracie Way,’ I had no idea that Waldemar Santana (fought Helio for 3 hours 45 minutes) and Carlson fought six times, twice vale tudo and 4 times in a gi.  This footage must be from their second vale tudo match:

Carlson quotes from ‘The Gracie Way:’

“Jiu-jitsu is all one thing; it is all the same, however I am a very dedicated and studious person.  I am always inventing new positions, evolving old ones.  I research positions and with repetition and observation I improve on them.  Because everything in the world changes and progresses, so I try to do that with jiu-jitsu.”

On Rolls Gracie:

“He (Rolls) was one of the students that is always looking for the essence, the full knowledge of everything…He wasn’t just satisfied with the basics.  He always wanted to understand what made everything work and why.”

The most important BJJ principle

July 28, 2010

“Jiu-Jitsu is the art of feeling.” ~Saulo Ribeiro



Certianly haven’t mastered this principle, nor was I taught it until brown (in the form of a guard pass hinging on waiting for the right time/tension).  Or maybe it was taught, but wasn’t open enough yet to recieve it?

Using guard passing as an example, the blanket strategy up to that point was cycling 3-4 guard passes over and over, with the back-up plan to try harder. 

Pure genius. =)

80% of the people I wrestled weren’t familiar with one of those passes, so I usually passed based on superior knowledge. 

I would pass the other 10-15% with pressure, as maybe they were familiar the technique, but didn’t have automatic enough reactions to defend.

Success can be your enemy only in the real world.

Luckily it dawned on me, possibly after Eric told me to wait the 569th time, that doing guard passes have nothing to do with doing jiu-jitsu. 

This is where the principle of sensibility comes in.  It’s the art of waiting and feeling.  Jiu-jitsu, it turns out, is what happens between techniques.

You’re either forcing what isn’t there, or taking what some one gives. 

Taking what some one gives hinges on sensibility.