I arrived early at Butlers gym, a very manly looking gym filled with an everlasting testosterone mist. However I had got the session times wrong and had turned up with only my gi to the end of the gi session, with the no gi session next. Italo and the guys greeted me warmly though and Italo got me sparring right away. Sparring cold is never fun but its a good warm up and the guy was relaxed and wasnt trying to kill me.
I then spar Italo who makes me look foolish, everything I did just seemed wrong and I fell into his traps constantly. But when you dont have a hope of winning, you just let go and enjoy it.
Italo then gets his next class warmed up and gives them some drills to do. I thought he was gonna just give me the gi variations but instead pretty much gave me a private lesson!. First we covered loop chokes, which Ive been wanting to get right for a while now. We also did a variation which broke down their posture and pulled them into the choke, while also setting up a triangle if they escaped or defended. Brillaint.
We did this from a sitting position, think sparring from knee's. You want to be sitting at a slight angle to them. Grip the opposite collar to the gripping hand, around the collar bone. Put one foot (the same side foot as your gripping hand)in their hip, other leg is crossed underneath. Using the collar grip you pull down to break their posture, aiming to pull them into the gap created by sitting at an angle to them. Lift the gripping hand elbow up to the ceiling, so the forearm runs the underside of their jaw. Swim your other hand over the opposite side of their head and dive the hand through the crook of your elbow, so that forearm rests on the back of their neck. Lift your foot (the one that was in their hip) and hook it round the top of their shoulder - this stops them trying to move the other way to get out the choke. Lift your gripping hands elbow further up to finish the choke. If they roll, roll with them into mount you can still finish it.
In the other variation they are simply being stubborn and keeping good posture, the only difference is the setup. Same grip on the collar but other hand holds the sleeve (the one on the same side as the collar your gripping) and the foot that wasnt on their hips goes onto their knee. Then simply pull the sleeve and kick back their knee to completely destroy their posture and pull them into the space.
This choke works from almost anywhere. Recently being seeing Ollie Geddes do it alot from half guard:
Now with handy annotations!!
Talking of Ollie, fellow blogger Seymour (meerkatsu) just interviewed on the fightworks podcast website: Here
Italo then gave his guys some more stuff to work on and then asked if there was anything I wanted to do?. Top halfguard has been on my mind after Brighton, Im just not great at passing it. I end up hunting submissions instead. Italo seemed to know alot about this position though and he went through abit of theory while teaching me 2 passes I didnt know. The first Ive had done to me but never quite got the mechanics down till now. The second is brutally basic and effective.
Damn youtube let me down again, 1st pass:
Get the underhook!. Get a grip on his knee that is up. Put your shoulder to the mat so your pelvis is facing the ceiling. Bring your trapped leg up and walk it towards your opponent so it makes a right angle, this makes it very hard for them to lock it over your knee. With the knee grip slide their locking legs down towards your ankle. Hop over their body and using leverage from your other leg sliiiiide the trapped leg out so you end up in side control. If you dont have the underhook your back will get taken.
Put your hands on their biceps and flatten them out. Put your forehead into their solar plexus. Then bring your hands back and around their legs locking with an S grip underneath their legs. Straighten one leg out, bring the other leg slightly back and then explode backwards to open their legs. Keep their hips and legs pinned, walk your previously trapped leg to the side of your free leg, walk up into side control.
Then just for abit of fun showed me a very cool counter to the basic butterly guard sweep. As they pull you in, swim your hand under to get the underhook and grab their belt. As they start lifting you up in the air, post your other leg out and your forehead onto the mat. Then you do a handstand! hold for a few seconds so their leg drops and then simply slide over into side control.
Me and Italo then had another spar, I immediately tried to jump him with the loop choke which he found funny. He let me put him in more bad positions this time and we had a nice fluid roll, I still got nailed obviously. At one point he gets me with a wrist lock whilst I try push him off while under side control, without using his hands or legs!
Overall I really loved it, learnt some new stuff, met some cool new people, had fun and ticked off another gym. Was also my first roll with a blackbelt.