Thread: Some advice for beginners
2/09/2006 12:02pm, #1
Some advice for beginners
I was reading another forum today and came across a noob's "im small how du i beat biggr guyz k thx" thread and asked if he should copy Marcelo Garcia. For some reason, probably because I had been working in Illustrutor for a couple hours drawing a smoking chimpanze, I wrote a reply.
And it turned out pretty awesome. So I'm sharing it here.
So you're small. What you lack in size or strength you'll have to make up for with efficiency of movement and technical skill. This should be how anyone trains who wants to really improve, but the point gets driven home to smaller guys sooner since they don't have bulk and power to fall back on. It can be a big shock to heavy weights when they realize this late in the game by finally getting crushed by someone even bigger than they are.
You're not going to get anywhere in the long run with just some tricks. They are fun to learn and it's always nice to have them up your sleeve, but they are really just passing amusements.
What you really need are solid fundamentals and strategy, which will only come about from a lot of mat time and a very critical analysis of your performance.
Since Marcelo has done well with taking the back and leglocks, maybe they are what you need to beat a bigger guy. But then again, maybe not. I don't know since I don't know your game or your body type. If those have been working for little guys and you want to try them out, go for it. It's a safe bet. I think taking the back is always a good idea regardless of who you're fighting. But I don't like leglocks since a bigger guy can step through them more easily. But maybe I just suck at leg locks. Maybe you'll do better. Or not.
I'm rambling, so what am I getting at? That what works for Marcelo may or may not work for me and you, or what works for me may not work for you, and what works for you may not work for me. So what do we do?
Find what works best for YOU.
This is only going to come about from serious training, trial and error and thinking about how to improve your performance.
Recommendations, advice, tips and all that will help. But it really comes for you putting in the mat time and developing yourself as an athlete.
So what do you actually DO to realize your goals?
Train more. Train a lot. Train everyday. Train twice a day.
Work on core body movements, e.g. shrimping to escape side control and mount, moving your hips and circling your legs to maintain guard and stop passes, moving your hips to take the back, etc. It's all in the hips.
In line with the last one, work on your escapes. The only way you're going to have any offense against a big guy is if you've got good defenses. Side control escapes are particularly important, and I consider them to be important to a good guard (since you're never going to have a good guard when you're always under side control).
Think about your posture at all times: passing guard is the first that comes to mind, but don't forget where to put your head and hands when you've got half guard, are escaping side control, mount, knee-on-belly or rear mount, when you're turtled, etc. Hell, even when you have CLOSED guard, with how popular the arm-behind-the-back pass seems to be getting. There are safer and more secure ways to hold your hands, head, etc. in any position. Learn these and put them in practice and you'll find yourself freer to escape and attack with less risk of submission or counter.
DRILL DRILL DRILL. I think this is most important. This is where you put all the theories into practice and pound them out until they work (or drop them if they don't). I recommend starting with static reps, but working up to isolated drilling/sparring.
Let's say you're working on side control escapes. Warm up with some shrimping to get your hips moving. Then get your partner and put in static reps of a particular side control escape, making sure to get all the details perfect (hand position, head position, hips, sequence of actions, etc.).
Then do positional sparring, starting under side control. Your goal is to escape (return to guard or reverse positions). Their goal is to maintain side control, improve their position (take mount, knee-on-belly or rear mount) or submit you. Restart when either one meets their goal.
Start at about 10%, and as you succeed, you both start upping the intensity (resistance, pressure, aggression, etc.). Work up through 25%, 50%, 75% until you're at 100%.
Do several rounds (maybe half-rounds) of this, switching top and bottom.
In these drills, there is cooperation between you and your training partner even though it's "sparring". The point is not to simply kill the guy on bottom but to help him start at a lower level of resistance and build it progressively until he can perform at 100%. It's also a lot safer than going straight to balls out sparring, and it is smarter for improving specific skills.
You can do this for any position, and even build it around certain skills or concepts that encompass several positions. Look into the I Method that Straight Blast Gym uses for more on this kind of training. They have made really good use of this kind of isolated, progressive-resistance training.
I could go on but I think that pretty well covers it for now. All of what I recommend really applies to anyone big or small, regardless of strength, speed, flexibility, cardio, whatever. It just happens to be especially true for the smaller guys.
I hope this helps.
2/09/2006 12:08pm, #2
You should have just described how to do a reverse omoplata.
2/09/2006 12:10pm, #3
2/09/2006 12:17pm, #4
You've got all the bases covered then. Good advice on incorporating progressive resistance.
2/09/2006 12:31pm, #5
Here's the funny part: I actually do teach the reverse omoplata to white belts and make them drill it. And it really does help them a lot.
They protest trying it, and they make "Golly gee!" and "Oh my!" faces the whole time, and they don't believe me when I make them do certain steps. "I roll how? You mean I just let go of everything?" But I just make them keep going through the steps and ignoring their complaints until they can actually do drill it.
And they come back a week later and thank me for having them work on the reverse omoplata, not because they used it, but because it made them try something new and seemingly unusual, which got them to loosen up and try new things in sparring. I quote: "I normally wouldn't have done something like that, but then I thought 'Hey, it's no worse than the reverse omoplata', so I tried it and it worked."
To do the reverse omoplata you've got to be willing to use some neglected positions like the crucifix. You've got to learn to maintain this position while working with your legs (to cross the arm) which you cannot see. You've got to maintain your control while seemingly giving it all away by letting go as you go for the roll. The roll itself can be a leap of faith since some people just don't like spinning like that. Then you've got to learn to work upside down until you can roll them. Then you've got to learn to maintain the position while looking away from them. And then you've got to move your hips and stand up to submit them.
It's like if you combined the crucifix, the rolling kneebar, the omoplata, twister side control and the technical stand-up. You've got to be able to use your upper and lower body all at once while rolling and facing backwards to everything.
I don't expect everyone to make heavy use of the reverse omoplata like I do, or any of the other "gimmicks" I use, but I think people can really benefit from drilling and trying "unusual" moves that are outside their comfort zone even if they never incorporate them into their game. It at least makes them think about positions and movements in a new way and expands their understanding of the game.
2/09/2006 12:43pm, #6
Sounds like teaching a beginner clarinet player an entire Schoenberg concerto because it contains all of the skills that they'll need in the future. I honestly don't know if it's the way to go, but I think that it can be very rewarding to actually complete a first run of the damn thing.
Right now, I think I need sheer repetition more than anything else.
2/09/2006 12:48pm, #7
The reverse omoplata is no harder to actually DO than six step armbar from side control. It's trusting yourself and the technique enough to do it that's the hard part.
2/09/2006 1:36pm, #8
While that advice is great (I'll have to apply it myself, because my side control escapes are starting to suck), I just want to see the smoking chimp.Jaguar's MMA record
pre Kung Fu and BJJ: 0-0-0
post Kung Fu and BJJ: 0-0-0 (BOO YAA!!)
We're number one! All others are number two or lower.
- The Sphinx (Mystery Men)
2/09/2006 2:45pm, #9
Positional sparring is one of the more important things and one of the most overlooked things. Pummeling from knees and trying to offbalance someone may have some applicability but focusing on position and escapes is far more important.
Lately we've actually been doing this formally and regularly (instead of sporadically or in my case personally during open mat). I think it will help everyones game.
Oh yeah and good other advice too.
2/09/2006 4:11pm, #10
Sherdog's grappling forum is hilarious.
Probably the scariest thing I have ever seen is reading through threads with people's favorite or "go to" submissions and I see all these people that have probably 6 months experience or less listing heelhooks as the first thing they like to go for.
Last edited by Cassius; 2/09/2006 4:17pm at ."No. Listen to me because I know what I'm talking about here." -- Hannibal