Everyone that came to today’s class was honored to get a short seminar by BJJ black belt Mike Jen today. One of the funny things about this chance meeting (for me) is that Mike Jen’s guard passing instructional is the only BJJ instructional I’ve ever watched and payed any attention to. The one guard break I’ve been using for the past year is one I got from him, so it was really cool having him explain it in person.
Mike started the class talking about posture in the closed guard. The posture he likes to use is a little different then what is traditionally taught (wide base, back straight, head up.) He likes to:
- Arc the back in order to take pressure off of the neck, if someone’s pulling your lapels.
- Have a narrower base, getting the knees into the butt of the opponent (not too narrow though.) This is to create space between you and the opponent.
- Never let the hands cross the vertical line of your head. They should be based out well past the head.
This is the general position you want to be in when someone has a closed guard on you. Then it’s a matter of inching out of the guard by getting one knee into the butt and arching the back out, putting pressure on the ankles and eventually breaking them.
He said using this works on even those big muscular guys with no technique.
After getting the basics of his posture down we worked on looking for the “sweet spot” in various positions. Basically, he said there should be a spot where one or both of your hands dig in and just stick to an opponent (gi or no gi,) so no matter how hard he pulls he can’t collapse your posture. We tried this and it worked very well. Things to consider are, when 2 hands are on the body, make sure the weight is 50/50. So if an opponent turns you might have to reposition the hands to get even weight. Also, if you only have one hand down, you might have to lean one way or the other to counter the weight (and find the sweet spot.)
Mike was also pointed out that these are things that work for him and aren’t the only way. He stressed that it’s important to find what works for you and absorb it into your skill set. Right at the end of class he also gave us a world class tip.
World Class Tip from Mike
Why know 100s of moves if you can beat a person with one. Basically, he was saying that there’s no reason to be able to do 100s of moves. Plus, when you’re tired, your mind won’t be able to pull these moves out and will go back to your basics. He made this comment surrounding guard passing. He said why stand up and work a bunch of passes, when you can drop into a half guard position. If you work on holding half guard, you’re opponent won’t be able to get out, and will eventually make space for you to make the pass.
All in all it was a really nice class. I plan on recording the stuff he taught us tomorrow and will post it to Youtube (eventually 🙂 .)