Wednesday, May 25, 2005

BJJ Move #1: The Closed Guard

Some of my friends are pissed off that I learned to shoot a rifle this past weekend (and by my blog postings here and here about it).

So, instead of getting snarky (-ier) than usual and posting endless NRA/CSA bumper-sticker logos, I'll start posting Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ) techniques.

I've been studying under Jason and Keith for awhile, two students of Renzo Gracie, and I've been writing down the moves, taking notes.
Plus, I've achieved, the, uh, awesome rank of blue belt.

I figure I'll write down notes from a position or a technique every day or so to keep people coming back to the blog without having to do new work!
Added bonus-- I can keep the level of machismo appropriately high without featuring lethal weapons.
I don't have the time or inclination to take pictures of all these moves, so no photos. You can probably find them with Google, anyway.

You can find a lot about the history of Brazilian Ju Jitsu here.
Basically, it's a grappling style with a focus on "groundwork" (i.e., fighting once you and/or your opponent are no longer standing).
Lots of pins, sweeps, joint locks, strangles, reversals, escapes, throws, takedowns, etc.
It's effective for unarmed fighting-- most no-holds barred fighters study some BJJ.

Though I have to say that punch-ups should only be between friends (and not really then, either).
Getting into a fight with some guy you don't know is going to get you hurt or killed by some combination of superior numbers, surprise, and weapons.
Plus, starting fights is for a------s.

Now for a lawlerly part:

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Before I describe joint locks or strangles, I'll describe a position called "the closed guard." BJJ teaches you to end fights with moves we call "submissions," moves that strangle your opponent or hyperextend one of his joints, making him "tap" or "submit" to avoid passing out or dislocating a joint.

Yes, "submission" is an even worse name than "Homeland Security" or "Operation Infinite Crusade" or whatever.

Now, you can't just walk up to someone and apply a submission. You need a lot of leverage, which usually comes from position-- often from having the ability to move around, especially with your hips, while your partner's mobility is restricted.

The Closed Guard:

In the closed guard position, you are on your back with your opponent on top of you, face to face, and your legs are wrapped around his waist with your feet are locked together behind his back.

This isn't the ideal position, but:
1) If you have to be on your back, this allows you to move your hips while restricting your opponent's ability to do the same;
2) It allows you to push him away or pull him close with your legs;
3) It lets you set up a vast number of sweeps and submissions.

If you are using a closed guard, you will not let your opponent sit up straight. Otherwise, he can "pass the guard" by breaking your feet apart in various ways and stepping over or circling around your legs.
Also, he can control his upper body and has leverage to punch you, while you can't really hit back.
So you want to hold his head close to yours-- one good way is to grab the back of his neck with your right hand, and "overhook" his right arm with your left arm, trapping it into your armpit.
Now he can still punch you a little with his left hand, but he has very little leverage and your face is safe.

There's a decent picture and good description on this page.

More moves to come.

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