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Team McVicker Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Fall Camp Day #2: Bringing the pain

Today's session was started by Brad Peplow. He discussed the woes of both being the best looking jiu-jitsu practitioner in the Midwest and being in his 40s while having to compete with younger folks of greater athletic talent. Pep explained his strategy of stifling opponents to eliminate their athletic edge, in particular using the trap and jam guard pass.
The set-up comes from the closed guard, controlling the kimono and clamping down your elbows on the thighs. Post up one leg off to an angle to the rear, controlling strongly with the same side hand — the trap. The other leg positions forward roughly 90° from the rear leg, driving forward while pushing the guard leg down — the jam. The jam knee pushes forward and rolls to the floor, pinning the leg. The arm on this side controls your opponents head while your other arm shields the trap leg. The trap leg either steps out inverting the hips briefly before reestablishing the side mount, or the trap leg can pin the leg already pinned the by the jam foot, completing the pass in a more subtle fashion.
If they attempt to open the guard preemptively and place the foot in the hip, reach your hand back and scoop the foot up setting it in the trap position. Use the other leg to set-up the jam. Using this idea we covered a drill for the trap and jam. Your partner attempts to set the foot in the hip and you pull the leg up and trap. Then switch sides allowing your partner to post in the opposite hip which you again trap and jam on this side.
Another variation came from the standing pass, with your feet on either side of their hips, pushing forward so that your opponent knees are pushed towards their face. Control their lapels and ride each time they try to bump you back, your legs flexing and bending in response to their attempts to push you backward. Then obtain cross collar grab and same side pant leg control. Drive their foot down and make them spin, drop your knee across their thigh, sliding through to pass.

Next Ultimate Fighter 12 alumnus Kyle Watson covered passing from the same side underhook half guard. Kyle first showed an escape from the mount. Setting up an L-frame with a hip bump while switching out to the hip on that side. Use your top foot to drag the leg into the half guard while pushing down your partner's leg placing them in half guard. The bottom player posts up on their elbow to create pressure to attack from the half guard. This space allows the top player to feed their arm through and grip the gi pulling them flat to the mat while shooting the free leg out to stabilize. Thus setting up the same side underhook.
From here walk the trapped leg foot to your opponents rear, use the hand on this side to free your knee by controlling their pants. They may block your knee, so rather than trying to fight through it, roll your knee laterally and perpendicularly to their pressure, placing the knee on the mat. Under hook their blocking arm and walk your fingers superiorly in an arc to obtain high under hook control. There are now three ways to pass:
Free leg cross pass
Posting on your forearms and head, pike up and drive the knee of your free leg through to the opposite side. Bring this foot through the hole between your trapped leg and your opponent's body. Drive this leg all the way through, placing you in a hurdler stretch and creating a great deal of pressure on their chest. This pressure should allow you to free your trapped foot.
Trapped leg cross pass
In this case you again post as before, pike up and drive the knee of your trapped leg though to the opposite side. Post your free leg out, creating tripod, use this foot to free your trapped foot.
Straight to mount
Create a base with your under hooks and head, slide forward placing your chest on your opponent's face, creating space between their legs and your bottom. Your free foot loops inside, posting on their hip pulling them flat and freeing the trapped leg as you transition into mount.

Finally Jack McVicker showed some gi deviltry once again:
Rear ozeki
With your opponent in four points position and you hip-to-hip, shoot your cross hand under their arm to the far side of their neck. Step up and use this hand to grab inside of the sleeve of the opposite arm, which drapes across the back of their neck. Fall to your side to finish the choke.
Rear mount arm bar
From the same position as above, obtain the cross collar control under their arm. Step your same side leg next to their shoulder and step around their body placing the shin of your opposite leg next to their head. Sit and pull them into arm bar, allowing your knee to sag out and then pop over their head.
Rear inverted cross collar choke
Your opponent starts in four points, start in north-south position obtaining cross collar neck and under arm control. Spin 90° away from the hand controlling the neck, then sit back putting your leg over their head and the opposite leg over the posterior to provide counter pressure.
Arm defense counter offense
You have obtained arm bar from mount but your opponent defends by arm triangleling the threatened arm and tucking your free hand behind the superior knee. Cross your ankles to obtain control, grab the wrist of the unthreatened arm and control sleeve with your free hand. Open your legs and pull to your hip, placing their unthreatened elbow over their sternum. Pull your attacking arm out and pin it to their chest. Switch to the S-mount attacking the opposite side. Wrap the top pinned arm and set-up the arm bar on the opposite side. Of course if they defend you can consider returning to the original side and reattacking the original arm.


Team McVicker Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Fall Camp Day #1: Atama-torisarimasu-jitsu

Atama-torisarimasu-jitsu is my bastardization of Japanese for "head removal technique". This refers both to the subject matter's content as well as its depth. Our session started with Jeff Serafin who demonstrated variations of the clock choke. The set-up starts hip-to-hip, your near knee posted while your far leg is sprawled out. Your control arm is draped over their belt and the hand attempts to control the lapel, reaching under your opponent's arm:
Digital Clock
Made famous by Andre Galvao the digital clock is set-up by your control hand grabbing cross collar and your choke hand reaching under their chin to again grab cross collar. The actual choke is performed by diving across the opposite shoulder of your opponent, forming a tripod between your head and feet. Try to get the knot of your belt on the back of the head . Then you transition your foot nearest their rear through to a new tripod position with the foot ahead of them. Begin pulling the gi collar up across the neck as you remove slack by pulling inferiorly with the other hand.
One Armed Clock
In the scenario when your opponent protects their far side, preventing the control hand from grasping the collar, instead place the elbow of this arm instead on your side of the opponent's face. Pull with the choke hand as you push your elbow backward, in other words abducting both arms.
Counter Clock
If your opponent blocks your choking hand, reverse your grips. Use your control hand to reach across their far side to achieve cross collar neck control. Your other hand achieves cross collar under arm control, not jump to the opposite side, setting up the position to go for Digital Clock.
Bench Clock
Obtain cross collar neck control, control their belt and step/jump both legs to the opposite side. Fall to your back, pull with your cross collar grip as you push with your leg.

I presented a philosophical approach to using combination or "flows" in jiu-jitsu training. I showed positional flows such as the segment which allows each person to perform part of a "match":
Kimura from guard, partner straightens arm
Inverted straight arm bar, partner drives arm across body
Arm bar from guard, partner pulls arm out
Triangle, partner bends arm backwards
Oma plata, partner rolls

Another variation is the infinite loop, where one side keeps repeating the same series:
Cross collar choke from mount, partner pushes up
Straight arm bar from mount, partner defends
Thread inferior leg between head and arm, partner sits up
Triangle, partner bends arm backwards
Oma plata, partner rolls into guard
Hip bump to mount, restart

We also discussed single position multi-submission flows such as from cross side position
Side mount Americana
Figure four cross body straight arm bar
Side mount kimura
Side mount cross collar choke
Inverted straight arm bar from side mount

I also covered the Octopus.

Our last presentation was by Jack McVicker who showed us how to use the gi wrap to set up a number of different chokes. The set-up started by framing from the guard and going to open guard. Your right foot goes inside the gi and kicks as you pull in. This should release the kimono so that you can grab it and wrap up your opponent by passing their left kimono to your left hand over their right shoulder, next to their neck. Set-up a cross collar grip with your right hand using the lapel wrap.
Cross wrap choke
Drop your left foot and your right leg across their body, placing you on the diagonal. Grab either their kimono fold, wrapped gi lapel, or the skirt from the wrapped gi.
Wrap drag
Your opponent defends by blocking the choke on the wrapped side. Use the wrap to drag your opponent forward, looking to take the back or dragging them to a supine rear mount, by grabbing the far lat or gi under the axilla.
Arm choke
Your opponent defends with their opposite hand, reach across and grab the elbow, pulling their arm across their neck. Now choke using the wrapped lapel and their crossed arm by hugging with the free hand or bring your leg over the shoulder.
Ozeki choke variation #1
Take the wrapped lapel in your left hand with that arm behind their head. Loop it under your right forearm and place the blade of your hand in their throat.
Ozeki choke variation #2
Your opponent pushes your hand over their head. Wrap the lapel around the front of their neck with your left hand, reach behind their neck with your right and grab the lapel. Cross gi grab with the left and choke.


Caring without caring, with no apologies to Bruce Lee

We generally pursue things because we enjoy them. We take classes that interest us, eventually seeking training in an area that interests us, creating some sort of satisfaction or joy. This hopefully leads to a career that we love, or at least enjoy. Whether we love or loath our classes or jobs, we will also seek enjoyment elsewhere. Seeking the company of others, of the same or opposite gender, is because they have features, mental or physical that we like, cherish, or stimulate us. The same occurs when we seek recreation, if so trivial a word can be used to describe the pursuit of martial arts. We did this because it looked interesting or appeared to be a fun way to spend time.

Then why is it that most of us who train have the haunted look of someone who just took a bite of something foul, the distraught face of the first inklings of a brewing gastrointestinal calamity, or the pained expression of a patient with a thick-fingered and ill-tempered proctologist. How can a fun activity create grimaces only replicated in a horror film? Novice students have no beatific expression let alone a smile, no phenotypic representation of fun. If you're not having fun, you cannot relax and achieve the state of using less muscle.

It is anecdotally obvious that increasing performance anxiety decreases the chance of success. If the tense jerky movements of the beginner were purely neurological in etiology then mechanical practice alone would increase performance. Yes correct practice does breed efficiency by maximizing the results from minimal muscular exertion. However the collected gym veteran, who is polished and fluid with their training companions, can easily underperform in competition or in demonstration before an unfamiliar audience. They haven't instantaneously lost any of the neurological framework of their technique and skills, but they have been burdened by the interference of psychological noise from anxiety, doubt, and fear. Fluid tactics are replaced with jerky flailing, both dangerous but only one deliberately so. The relaxed, dare we say happy, fighter has better endurance and more speed which equals more power.

Like all martial artists we seek guidance from the animal kingdom. Aside from genus felis, no animal suffers from embarrassment, they have no self-conscious psychological baggage when it comes to behavior. Animals don't care who sees them hunt, kill, scratch, or mate. Why do humans? As babes we have no compunctions about any behavior, we learn it through societal conditioning, through the ridicule of others, through praise for desired behavior. We do that which others say they enjoy, not what brings ourselves joy. While adopting all the impulses of the id is not the answer to surviving let alone succeeding in life, not caring what others think might make you happier. Yes we can learn from others, yes we can implement behaviors suggested, and yes we can grow through feedback from experts. But no we should not suffer the negativity of others, biased criticality, or discrimination based on who we are. The challenge is finding what someone says that will make you better despite your pride and what is simply hurtful prattling by negative people.

Care intensely about doing well, doing for others, and doing it to win. But don't care if you fail, they don't appreciate it, or if you lose.