The other day I got caught in a bicep slicer as I was attempting to pass my partner’s guard. He was playing open guard, and I reached in to attempt a leg weave pass, which ended up with me in lasso guard. Not realizing the danger I was in I attempted to simply continue passing. I was caught totally by surprise when my partner hit this submission. It wasn’t something I’d ever seen before. I must admit, these are my favorite moments in jiu jitsu, when you are hit with something completely foreign and it expands your awareness of what is possible in this martial art.
My partner showed me how to perform the move after he caught me in it. But I couldn’t keep the details straight the rest of the class, though I attempted the submission many times that evening. So at home I dug into YouTube and studied several videos that showed the details of the bicep slicer. This video is really straightforward in it’s explanation. Hope you enjoy it.
I spend an irrational amount of time watching jiu jitsu videos on YouTube. Certain channels I come back to over and over again. Here’s a list of my favorite YouTube channels of 2019, hope you enjoy them too.
It’s that time of the year again. Time to round up the list of my favorite jiu jitsu blogs from the year. These are blogs that I’ve found myself visiting often. A lot of these are repeated from the previous year, but good things bear repeating.
In the struggle for increasing mat performance I am always tinkering with my workout routines. It seems that a constant struggle is balancing jiu jitsu training with complementary workouts. I know that the common adage is that if you only have enough time to do one workout, then it should always be jiu jitsu. But I find that I really do better in training if I do some additional workouts off the mats.
The big struggle for me has been learning how much and what type of ancillary training to do, so that the additional workouts don’t burn me out too much. I used to lift heavy weights using the stronglifts program but I found that it left me overly tired when hitting the mats. I also found that the strength I was gaining from lifting heavy didn’t exactly transfer to the mats.
It seems to me that once you reach a certain level of “strong” that being much stronger is not generally going to help jiu jitsu. That’s not to say that if you’re sparring with someone much stronger than you that it won’t be more of a struggle to deal with their attacks, but I think if you have a baseline of strength then that will take you far in jiu jitsu.
I find that having muscular endurance is much more important than having an over-abundance of strength when rolling. I feel like I can more easily leg press someone if I’m attempting something like an airplane sweep than I can keeping my legs under me when attempting to pass the guard of a strong guard player. My legs simply get tired out trying to scramble around their guard for too long of a time.
It’s the loss of muscular endurance that signals the beginning of the end for me in rolling. My goal is to be able to roll round after round without having my muscles give out from exhaustion (easier said than done for sure). So I’ve been tweaking my workouts to get there, and I’ve found the following routine to be the most helpful so far.
Priit Mihkelson is a black belt from Estonia who trained under SBG found Matt Thornton, and a member of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Globetrotters. I just found out about him last week when a friend that I train with sent me one of his videos. Since then I’ve traveled down the rabbit hole with Mihkelson’s material. His approach to jiu jitsu is very scientific, and from the videos I’ve seen he challenges some of the conventions that we’ve come to know in jiu jitsu.
The video below is a perfect example of challenging conventions. The guard break that he shows is essentially a stack pass. He says that we should sit in guard with “active toes” rather than flat feet (I think he’s calling flat feet “seal feet” in the video). His contention is that we should be on our toes, and pressuring down towards our partner so that we can react to things better. He’s not against posturing back, or standing up, but says we should also explore posturing into our opponent when we’re stuck in closed guard.
I’ve tried this pass a couple of times at class this week, I was able to put some pressure on my partners that they weren’t expecting, but I couldn’t quite get the legs to open to pass the closed guard. I’ve since re-watched this video and noticed that I didn’t have the correct angle. I took better notes, and will give this a try in the next class.
He’s also got a few videos for sale at BJJ Fanatics, which I’m looking forward to getting as some point. This one in particular I’m interested in:
Bernardo Faria just released this video with Xande Ribeiro on guard retention. Ribeiro hasn’t had his guard passed in competition since 2005. That’s 14 years of matches without a single guard pass from his opponents. Amazing.
He talks a little about how he uses his frames to get into a “geometrical position” that allows him to extend pressure into his opponent. He calls this the “Diamond Concept”. I have to study this more, but it seems that there are two factors at play. One is always connecting your elbows and your knees to create frames. The second is to extend yourself away from your opponent using those frames so you can recompose guard.
I’ve been playing with the rubber guard lately. I like how it frees your hands up when you’re using a closed guard. Seems to make it easier to get submissions going that way. And having one of your legs in the high guard makes slipping into triangles and omoplatas really smooth if you can get them.
This video has some great details. Eddie Bravo walks through a few of the control points of the rubber guard like the “double bag”.
We worked on this throw a few weeks ago. I was having trouble getting the angle right for the end of the throw. After watching this video a few times I think I see what I was doing wrong. I was trying to throw backwards, but Osiander emphasizes laying to your side at the end of the throw. Will have to continue to work on this one.
I’ve been on a Gordon Ryan kick lately. Specifically his guard passing. I’m trying to get my guard passing sharpened up (sometimes it feels non-existent), so I’ve been studying a lot of guard passing on YouTube. I found this great list of videos analyzing Gordon Ryan’s guard passing.
What’s particularly interesting to me is that to pass in the style of Gordon Ryan, you put your hands on the mat, distributing your weight to your hands while your legs and hips float freely, allowing you to pummel your legs around your opponents.
I’ve always that you should stay heavy on your opponents legs when passing, but this style of passing is opposite of that. I guess in practice the style of passing will change depending on how you want to pass, and what your opponent throws at you. It’s nice to have options.