Notes on training with the famous Leo Kirby
Here are my notes on what Leo Kirby, a purple belt at ATT Hollywood, showed me when we met up this weekend to train. This was some awesome material, especially his guard passes and how they tie together.
Leaping pass over butterfly guard
- Pummel for underhooks and drive head into their chest to flatten them out.
- Lock down their hips and squash their hooks, bring elbows to knees, face in belly.
- You elbows and hands go on the mat. You don't have to grab their feet.
- Head goes to the mat on the left side of their body.
- Jump up with just your left leg first. This gives you the height of the leap. If you jump up with the both or just the right first, they can shove your back and block the pass before you're high enough to clear the hooks.
- With your left leg in the air, follow through by jumping up with the right leg, aiming to land on the right side.
- You'll probably land on their near knee-shin (as they try to return to guard), so be ready to shove it out with right hand.
- Land in side control.
Reverse scarf passing of half guard
- In butterfly guard.
- Bring your right knee between their hooks, so their right hook is between both your knees.
- Underhook their right leg like a stacking pass. Stay tight to their hips.
- Left hand holds their knee so they can return to closed guard.
- Right foot circles up and to your left, bringing your shin down on their right shin.
- Left hand pushes their knee out as your hips drop and you drive though. This clears their leg and puts you in side control
If while you're turned and trying to push their arms up, you feel that they kept their elbows in and are pushing on your back, you can try to get a quick pass by switching your hips back and sliding your knee out in one motion, like a cross knee pass.
- They have half guard on your right leg.
- Triangle your legs tightly lock their hips and kill their butterfly hook.
- Stay low to their hips, arms in tight, head down.
- When they try to underhook your right arm, swim under with your left. Stretch your left arm high to force their arm up. As you put your left arm in place, you turn to face their legs like reverse scarf hold. Keep your head low to avoid crossfacing.
- Once their far arm is shoved high enough, scoot your hips up to force their near arm up.
- Both of their arms will be pushed up by their head when this is done right.
- Left hand comes to their ribs to monitor them but your left elbow stays high under their armpit.
- Walk your foot up to their butt so your shin is vertical.
- Keep scooting up and trying to pull your leg out.
- Bring your left knee up and wedge it on their hips if you can get they high.
- If they are unsure what to do they may open up enough for you to pull your leg out.
- If they hold on for dear life, you can grab your own gi pants and jerk your leg out.
- If they bridge really hard and try to roll you, they also let you free your leg, so you need to quickly plant it behind yourself for base, then throw it back and hook at their far knee, using it to pull yourself into mount (opposed to planting it on the mat).
Getting a feel for this position will take some time as you learn to defend being bridged over and feeling when you can pull your leg free.
For lack of a better name: One-legged x-guard
Entering x-guard from half guard
- You're on your back with some sort of open guard.
- They are staying away to keep you from underhooking their leg and getting to x-guard.
- Overhook their right leg with your right arm. This can be loosely, or tightly with their foot in your armpit.
- Kick your left leg between their legs...
- ...then bring it all the way around and step on their hip. Toes out.
- Your right foot comes to the hip too, or hooks under the thigh of the trapped leg.
- Squeeze your knees really tight.
- Put your right hand on their free knee to keep them away since they'll be trying to come to you to defend the preceived ankle lock threat.
- Straighten your body and push on their hip with your hook to make them fall back.
- You can also grab their free ankle so they can't step back.
Near Hand X-guard Sweep
- You have half guard on their right leg.
- Underhook their left leg with your right arm. You'll probably only get your hand under their knee, but ideally (and never in practice) you'll go for getting their leg immediately on your shoulder.
- Your left hand is by your head to defend the crossface.
- When they go to crossface, duck your head and swim under, shoving their armpit to keep some space.
- Hip into them hard, like you want to come between their legs, as you traffic cop their chest away and come deeper under their underhooked leg.
- Wrap your right leg all the way around their left leg so you're stepping on their near hip, as in one-legged x-guard.
- Push them away as you bring your left foot up to their hip too. Squeeze your knees tightly and hold their leg tightly to keep them from pulling out.
- They'll likely stand and try to turn into you. Your left hand goes to their knee to keep them away.
- You right leg can come off their hip and hook under their far leg for the start of x-guard. Keep a tight grip on their leg and keep stepping on their hip as you make this transition.
- Now bring your left foot off their hip and hook under their knee.
- You're now in x-guard.
- In x-guard.
- Stretching them out but without grip on ankle.
- They fall forward and post on the mat, too far away for you to reach their furthest hand.
- Grab their near forearm and shove it towards their chest.
- Stretch your legs straight.
- Follow them up as they roll forward.
- Spin into their guard, or land in the funky kneebar.
- In mount.
- Swim arm in.
- Drive knee up.
- Get to one foot and pin trapped arm to hip.
- Push on chest.
- Throw leg over face.
- Sit out to "armbar".
- Manually pull knee to squeeze it in place.
Leo taught me a guard that Marcelo showed at his last seminar. It's the "one-legged x-guard" from above. It's a really strong position for sweeping and has obvious leglock potential.
Marcelo taught it as what he has been doing now that people are wise to x-guard and will prevent him from underhooking their leg to avoid it. He's now also playing a guard game that's based on overhooking the leg (which is easier to do at a distance) and wrapping their trapped leg with both of his.
I'd seen Marcelo use it successfully on black belts, but thought it was just improvised, but it turns out he really does play like this on purpose. You can see a similar sweep at about 1:00 in this video.
Here's how it goes:
While playing open guard of some sort (probably sitting guard and trying to get x-guard) overhook their leg as you kick your left leg through the middle. Your right leg is hooking behind their far knee.
Wrap your left leg behind their leg and step on their near hip. Your right hand pushes on their far knee to keep it away.
Then bring your right foot to the same hip. Or you can hook under their thigh like you're doing a leglock.
This is the main position. Keep your knees pinched tightly around their leg and push on their hip with both heels.
As in x-guard, grab their far ankle as soon as you can.
To sweep, straighten your body and shove your heels into their hip to push them back. This may be enough on its own to sweep them. Holding the ankle too makes it all the stronger.
After the sweep, there is an obvious ankle lock or you can take out your feet and come to your knees.
Just tonight I used this successfully several times in a row on a blue belt with a 90 lbs. (or more) weight advantage. He tried to come down and crush into me but the power of both my feet on his hip was enough to push him off and straighten his leg. As with the ankle grab x-guard sweep, I couldn't reach his ankle at first, so I tried to sweep without it, which he countered by bringing his base closer so I could grab his foot. Then I swept again and down her went.
I ankle locked him after the sweep both times. He tried the normal leglock escape of kicking his leg through deeper, pulling my lapel, trying to sit up, etc. but because both of my feet were on his hip, none of this really worked.
Very interesting. I suppose he can counter you by pulling the inside foot across and going for his own straight ankle lock, but I hate foot wars unless I have no other outs.
Originally Posted by Aesopian
Originally Posted by The Wastrel
He actually couldn't pull my inside foot through to his own ankle lock since it was too firmly planted in his hip. I was also sitting to far up on his leg for him to get a good grip on my ankle if he did.
Noted. To avoid killing the move I'll stop discussing counters here and try it out tomorrow.
Nice work. I especially like the half-guard to x-guard technique. I'll try it tonight.
Aesop, are you a rich kid?
Thought you were unusually quiet for a week. Good to have you back and living up to your title. No, not "Shock and Awesome," I mean the "Best Poster Ever" title.
BTW, I am amazed by the openess of your academy and instructor - I presume they know about your postings and taking privates at other academies, but I thought both practices were generally discouraged in the bjj world. I did note in the training logs section of Bullshido that one great training blog has gone silent on request of some people at the blogger's academy who apparently read his training log and complained (although this might have been for personal privacy reasons - the blogger was naming training partners - and not for generic "secrecy/study only at home" reasons).
At the rate new techniques get videotaped, discussed, and countered, the evolution of competition level skills is going to be awesome over the next few years, and relative newcomers are going to have an opportunity to really shine years ahead of the pre-internet, pre-instructional dvd, pre-digitally recorded competitions era.
I have to say that the Simco "basics" DVD series I ordered a few months ago hasn't aged well at all. I shouldn't mention this since one old-hand will be all over me for it, but I got the Cesar Gracie instructional dvd set and it's great to watch an obviously thoughtful, EXPERIENCED practitioner go through basics....