Saturday, October 20, 2012

On the line and off the line

In this blog entry I want to address the importance of hip placement and moving your hips.  I want to talk not only about the importance of moving your hips, but also about the importance of maintaining hip, head, and shoulder pressure as you move your hips and try to pass. 

The concept I'm talking about talking about works well in many situations (especially when someone has you in knee shield), so don't try to pigeonhole it.  What I'm talking about is more of a general idea of how you should condition your body to move rather than an actual step by step technique.  Also, as with everything in BJJ, this should be used on a case by case basis. 

I think the biggest mistake I made at white and blue was trying to force techniques or movements that were simply not there (either in sparring or during competitions).  I think it is important to know not only how to use a technique, but also when to use a technique. 

Finally, something else that I really want to stress in this post is the the concept of changing directions.  My instructor has several theories on this concept, but today I am focusing on changing the direction of your hips.

Don't be stubborn!  If someone is not letting you pass one way, move and go around.  Think about it.  The easiest way to pass a blockage is to go around it not through it.

Now, for example, I am in someone's half guard.  What I want to do is get my hips slightly off line with my opponent's hips, while keeping pressure on their head and upper body with my shoulder and head.  Keeping pressure on my opponents face/head is vital, because if I can't control my opponent's head they will sit up and try to sweep me or take my back.   After I move my hips slightly off line, while keeping top pressure,  I twist my hips in the direction I am trying to pass.  Here are two diagrams:

             First, I get my hips off line with my opponent's hips.  Notice the heads are touching.

               As I change the direction of my hips and then twist them, I keep top pressure

In the diagram above, my hips (represented by arrows) are moving off line, but the upper half of my body is staying on line.

Also, this is VERY IMPORTANT!  I want to try and keep my hips down as much as I possibly can.  I want my hip bone down!  That means I want my hips/butt cheek area touching my opponent's midsection/crotch area.  If I don't keep my hips down low, touching my opponent, then I am creating space for my opponent to move and escape. 

If your opponent has you in half guard knee shield and is keeping you at a distance with his/her knee, change the direction of your hips slightly.  He/she may be also pushing your head or face to maintain distance and keep you from passing.  To keep head and shoulder pressure on their head/face (this stops them from taking your back), move your head and shoulder slightly off line (keep your upper body bent at a forty five degree angle) and then back on line with their head and upper body.

Even if your opponent has  an under hook you should still be able to pass since your head and shoulder are controlling their head and keeping your opponent from moving his/her upper body.

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