Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Focus, Fortitude, and Other Effing

One thing that I definitely did not like about Wednesday's training was that I didn't get a chance to work on the Effing Series.  I did try to look for Effing pass opportunities during one roll, and that's how the opportunities are going to come up outside of drilling.  But I want to make sure I don't drift.

Roger Gracie made the point a year or so ago: you want to have a focus or a goal in mind every time you train. Most of the time, if you take the class before the Live Training session, then you probably are going to have to forget about that focus or goal for an hour or so, and try and absorb as much as you can from the lessons.  And when the Live Training comes - to say nothing of any specific training opportunity - it is always a good idea to try and incorporate some of what you learned or reviewed that day.

But this is also the time when you have to circle back to what your focus and goal is for the limited time you have (two 8-10 minutes sessions, maybe a third if we're lucky, for most of us, on average, three or four times a week). This is why it's a pretty good idea to have very general, limited goals for a stretch of a couple of months.  It can get chaotic trying to assimilate new information with every class, retain and improve upon what you learned a week or two or more ago, and still carve into muscle memory those familiar strategies and techniques that help you get from the bottom to the top.  Or finish from the bottom.  Or finish from the top.

The Effing pass gives me a unified field theory for the open guard.  But I'm not nearly as precise against the half guard as I should be given my preference for the half guard as an attack from the bottom.  I don't feel as if I'm running into a lot of especially sophisticated half guard sweeping attacks.  I'm just not taking a methodical approach to getting the pass.

At the end of the day, any one of the passes I've learned will be fine.  The trick, though, is to find something that fits as well as the Effing pass has started to fit when it comes to the open guards.  Backstep passes are very popular.  But I'll admit that as long as I'm not completely caught unawares, I feel like I've always got at least a 50/50 shot against a backstep pass.  I know that control of the inside leg, the ability to switch your hips as if to go belly down, is critical to winning that initial battle, that there's a roll to the back and a kneebar worth watching out for, as well.

What I've had the hardest time beating, though, is the "Base Switch Pass with Shin" as Saulo calls it (35-3 in Jiu-Jitsu University, which you should own.).  If I there's no space for the head, then it is easy to set up an irresistible pressure against the legs.  There's also a shin-slide, 35-6, that I remember using more frequently years ago.  It sets up a lot of pressure and is another of those half guard passes that I personally hate to defend against.

Another option, a third one to try and keep things "general" and "limited", is to bait deep half.  I don't have a lot of defenses against deep half.  But I feel as if I know a good response and can bring it faster than most deep half attacks I've had to deal with.  A lot of people are still treating the deep half like a "guard" like spider guard or closed guard or something, when it's a guard that should be as fluid as a takedown.  Arguably, deep half is an anti-guard, moreso even than the X-guard.  Arguably, deep half is a quantum guard that is both guard and sweep at the same time.

Other things, too.  But this is more than enough to get started.