Marcelo Garcia Seminar Notes - Rockwall, TX 7/28/07
Marcelo Garcia Seminar Notes
These notes are from Day 1 of the seminar, which was set up for gi grappling. The second day of the seminar features no-gi techniques, and my notes from there will be posted later.
Some of Aesopian’s notes from Marcelo Garcia’s seminar at the St. Augustine Combat Club are reprinted here, because some of the techniques Marcelo went over were identical between both seminars. Aesopian’s contributions are cited wherever applicable.
1. Arm grab & control from on your back
*note – almost every move from the seminar starts from this grip
From standing position, grab your opponent’s same side arm. Grab across with your other hand and establish a joystick grip on their sleeve. Transition your sleeve-gripping hand across to the other side of their arm (your hand and theirs will be back-to-back, now, relatively) and deepen the wrist grip.
Push your leg (same side as the arm you're controlling) onto their hip and sit down, as close to one motion as possible. If they use their free hand to grab your pants and try to pass, use the other leg to break it by pushing off either their free-arm shoulder or upper ribs, depending on which leg you have on their hip. The idea here is to quickly switch which leg you’re applying pressure with, so they can’t pass or establish a better position.
A modification to this move has you pull them into yourself and sit back, rather than step forward to put the foot on the hip. This is more effective to pull them to the ground, and leads to you getting an open guard with wrist control and your feet on their hips.
2. Breaking the collar grip
If they follow you down when you sit back and manage to grab your lapel with the wrist you’re controlling, put your feet on their hips, lock your arms around their forearm similar to an ankle lock (top hand has the joystick grip on the sleeve, bottom hand slides under their forearm and grabs your own wrist), and strip them off. Make sure to sit up toward them when you push their hips off, to help set up some of the next moves.
*note: this is for the thumbs-in version of a lapel grip. For fingers-in, you simply grab the top of their hand with your same-side hand and push down while pushing off their hips.
Assume you have established the Arm Control in Technique #1 by grabbing your opponent’s right wrist - your right hand will have the joystick grip on their sleeve, and your left hand has their wrist.
When you sit back with your left foot on their hip, you let go of the wrist with your left hand and reach down to grab their right ankle (around the outside) with your hand. Use the sleeve grip and your grip on their ankle to pull, while you push out with your left foot on their hip – this should stretch them out a bit and take them off balance. When you’ve pushed them out far enough, while keeping your left foot on their hip, try to snake your left knee under & behind their right knee (the one you have elevated). Your right foot will go between their legs and check the back of their left foot. Drive them back with your left foot for the takedown and follow them up accordingly to avoid a scramble.
(Marcelo made a special note that when you take them back, be sure to not let your left leg slide through to try for a mount because it opens you up for a sweep if they push back into you – the best position I found when coming up after the takedown was to come up into their open guard on my left knee, with my right knee up and ready to pass)
4. Arm Control to Butterfly Sweep
*note: some notes here are copied from Aesopian’s notes on the same move
You have established wrist control from Technique #1 and sat back to pull them down to the ground with you, with your feet on their hips in an open guard. Slide your feet in to get the Butterfly guard. Keep the joystick grip on their sleeve, but slide your other hand up (it was previously controlling their wrist) to grab their triceps. From this arm control, pull their arm across your body to the side that was grabbing the sleeve. The hand that was on their triceps shoots back and grabs their belt. Grab their belt as far to the opposite side as possible. Do not reach over their shoulder, but around their waist. Your elbow should be low on their side even though your reach is around behind them.
Let go of their sleeve and get an underhook with that hand, then pull them back into yourself to get all of their balance resting on your legs. Sweep them to the side that you’re grabbing their belt – this should be a no-brainer as this is the side they can’t post to, with their arm trapped like it is. Follow them over to establish mount.
5. Arm Control to Hook Sweep
*note: this technique was a slightly more difficult one to accomplish for me, since I’m just a white belt
*note: some notes are copied from Aesopian’s notes on the same move
If you get the arm across and grab their belt in Technique #4 and they begin to pull away from you (back off your Butterfly hook), push the arm you’ve grabbed down toward their opposite hip. Quickly duck your head down after it (as if trying to duck between their knees). You should be turned almost onto your right hip in a little ball in front of them now, with a solid grip around on their belt, a solid left Butterfly hook, and their arm trapped between you.
Pushing off the floor with your right foot (I seem to recall feeding it down through their knees and putting the ball of my foot on the mat), pull them back with the belt grip and lift with your left hook to roll them over you. As they flip over you, keep ahold of their belt and sleeve so they can't easily run away. While you're still laying on your back, turn your head and press it against their shoulder/chest to prevent them from turning away. Roll to your knees and come into side control.
Instead of pulling them over their center of gravity to sweep them, you’re undercutting it, is how I see this move working.
6. Arm Drag
From Technique #1 (again grabbing their right wrist), you get your opponent down and your feet on his hips, and he backs away to where all you have is a solid grip on his sleeve and wrist. Rather than scooting your butt to follow him, dig your heels into the mat and yank him back across your body at a diagonal (think like how you’d pull a big dog on a leash back). You should be able to post all the way up to the hand that has his sleeve – you’re doing it wrong if you just go up to your elbow (Marcelo made a strong point about this). This should land him face down at a diagonal to you, with your right leg beneath him and between his legs (think like a hook for back mount). Posting up to your hand puts a lot of weight down on the wrist you have sleeve control over, and is a very strong means of trapping that arm down while you work from this position – just going up to the elbow loses that element.
Reach across his back with your left hand and grab under his left armpit, pushing the weight of your chest down on his back. You can now let go of the sleeve and reach over their near shoulder to establish a seat belt grip on them (the hand that’s under their armpit grabs over the top of the hand that went over their shoulder).
*note: I’ll call this Almost-Back-Mount, for purposes of later techniques which begin here
Rock them back into yourself and you can get your second hook in. You should now have a back mount with a solid grip with your arms, ready to work for a RNC.
Some subtleties I noticed with the drag itself – there is a strong temptation to immediately throw your left leg over him and try to take the back mount. I found that keeping that foot on the floor throughout the entire drag made it much easier to post up to my hand instead of up to my elbow, and holding off on the second hook until you’ve rocked them back is pretty effective.
7. Other Issues with Establishing Back Mount
If your arm drag is too fierce (rawr!) or the opponent tries to defend by passing your first hook entirely, you’ll end up in Almost-Back-Mount with neither hook in. Essentially at this point, you’re attacking the Turtle position.
Establish the top position from Technique #6, pushing your chest into their back with a solid seat belt grip, but come up to the balls of your feet – like a sprawl with you oriented at a 90 degree angle to them. I’ll write this down as if you’re to their right side, with your right arm over their shoulder and left arm under their far side arm.
If they’re stalling in the Turtle, you’ll want to baseball slide your right knee toward the space between their near-side elbow and knee (where it would go for a hook) and rock them back towards yourself – the slide from the sprawl helps pull them toward you. Once you’ve got the knee through and rocked them back, popping your foot around them to get a hook should be feasible.
Alternatively, if they try to turn into you (rolling to their left) you’ll have to do a small hop over them and get your left knee beneath their left hip before they get rolled over. Get this in and roll them on through, over your body where you can get the right hook in and work from there.
8. Maintaining Back Mount
You have your opponent’s back with one hook in (right side) and a seat belt grip over the right shoulder, as above. One avenue of escape is to try and roll back over your unhooked side to get out of the mount and work around to a better position. If they roll like this, post your left foot on the mat with your knee behind their hip. This will stop the roll cold, and prevent the escape.
If, alternatively, they try to bridge back by planting their left foot on the floor, reach your left foot in behind their knee and lift up on the leg to stuff the bridge attempt.
Both of these, I could see being very frustrating for the back mountee.
9. Working for the Second Hook
When you rock your opponent back from Almost-Back-Mount (as in Technique #6), if they bring their left knee up high to try and prevent you getting your second hook in, this technique is used to work around that defense.
You have your right hook in on them, trying to get the left hook in. Drive the right hook as deep as you possibly can between their legs, and cross your legs around the leg they have hooked (reminiscent of a half guard). Using your legs to push and your seat belt grip to pull, stretch them back to force the leg down and open their side up for the hook. Marcelo also mentioned that it’s a good idea to hold this stretched position for a second so they’ll think you’re working something else (or just to make them uncomfortable?), then you can pop the second hook up into place relatively easily.
10. Countering the Unhook
Your opponent can try to stop the second hook by grabbing your foot with his left hand (you’ve got the seat belt grip up under this armpit). If he does this, release your seat belt grip and slide your left hand down his arm and grip over his wrist (your arm should still be under his armpit). When he has his arm extended far enough back, pull his wrist behind his back and upward, like a Kimura (or similar to how a police officer will get your hand behind your back), and drive your knee up along his side to further immobilize the arm, placing your foot on his hip for stability. From here you can work a RNC with only his one arm to resist you.
Last edited by Dio; 7/29/2007 11:42am at .
nice, i'll be reading this tomorrow at work.
Day 2 – No-Gi Techniques
note - I'm lazy and didn't bother to check for any other Marcelo no-gi notes posted on the forums, so please forgive me if some of these techniques are already laid out somewhere else. These are all from my wife's notes & my personal memory of the seminar, but if someone else has written a more helpful version of the same technique I yield the floor to them.
1. Simple shoot for single-leg takedown
From standing clinch, widen their arms out in a quick motion (works best if you have wrist control, but one wrist and one triceps works also), drop your center and go for a single leg. Make sure your head is turned toward their center (not outside their hip) and hug the leg above the knee as tightly as you can. Marcelo grabbed his own elbows to make sure the leg grab was tight.
To take them down, stand up with the leg held tight (keeping your head in close to the hip), take a step across in front of their body and sprawl to drop your weight on the leg while your opponent is off-balance. Assuming you have grabbed your opponent’s left leg and are now holding it in front of him, you will step out to the left with your left foot, bring your right foot around behind you to turn hard to the right, and drop your weight on the leg. I liken the motion to turning and snapping a football.
2. Opponent tries to defend the single-leg
From the leg grab in Technique #1, your opponent tries to defend the takedown by pulling his leg straight out and pushing down on your head. Assume you have your opponent’s left leg as above.
Keep a grip on the leg and lift it up to chest level. At this point you’ve got their left leg high and they are facing the same direction you are, with you slightly behind them. Using your inside leg (right, in this case), extend it forward and hook-kick back against the front of their posted right leg above the knee, like a judo takedown. Be sure to follow through with the leg so it doesn’t end up trapped between their legs when they fall. From here, proceed to take a side mount.
3. Single leg to reverse bear hug
You take the single leg and your opponent is hopping on his one foot to try and keep his balance. Try to swing your opponent one way, then back the other way as he hops, using his trapped leg. Eventually your opponent will be off-balance enough to give you an opening to pass the leg and jump right to a reverse bear hug (grip around his waist from behind).
Marcelo stressed the importance of keeping your head tight to the middle of their back so they cannot reach back and get a headlock or elbow strike. He also rested his balance on the balls of his feet at a mid-range distance (not too close to be off-balance, and not too far back to be sprawling), to facilitate himself quickly shifting his body to match his opponent turning one way or the other. His preferred grip around the waist was to grip one wrist, rather than a Gable grip or other alternative.
4. Reverse bear hug to back mount – same-size or smaller opponent
This simple switch starts from the reverse bear hug in Technique #3 and helps you establish back mount. Choose which side to attack (in this case the right side) and quickly let go of the bear hug, hop upward and pass your arm over their shoulder to quickly catch a seat-belt grip (the other remains under their arm) with the lower hand gripping over the hand of the arm on their shoulder. At the same time as the arm pass, you’ll want to bring your legs up from the hop and get your hooks in.
This gets you a full back mount with both hooks and a seat-belt grip.
*note – if your opponent counters by straightening his posture up, abandon the move so you don’t lose your balance or get dropped on your back
5. Standing back mount – pulling them down
From the standing back mount in Technique #4, to take the opponent off his feet you need to plant your hook on his hip (the one on the same side as the arm you’ve got under his armpit) and use your under-arm grip to pull and twist their body back over the shoulder you’re reaching over. Your opponent should eventually lose his balance and tip back over onto his side, with you in a solid back mount on the ground with your bottom hook in (the hook that wasn’t pushing against the hip).
Marcelo seemed to really favor getting his opponent’s back by gripping over the right shoulder with his seat-belt grip and keeping his right hook in, making sure to keep his opponent on his right side. See the notes from the Gi Techniques for some of the techniques he taught from this position.
6. Reverse bear hug to back mount – opponent has hands on the mat
If you have the bear hug from behind and your opponent is bent down with his hands on the mat for stability, you can repeat the same jump to back mount as discussed in Technique #4, but you have to be tricky in order to keep from sliding right down your opponent’s body since he’s bent downward.
Begin by spreading you opponent’s base – using the strong bear hug and your chest pressing against his lower back, force your opponent forward to widen his hands out in front of him and reduce the angle he’s bent at. Be sure to plant the balls of your feet on the mat at a safe mid-range distance as discussed in Technique #3, since your opponent is bent down and can go for a knee bar if he can reach your leg. Now jump from the bear hug up to the seat-belt grip and get your hooks in as quickly as possible to stabilize.
Marcelo demonstrated that once his hooks are in and his grip is firmly established, he could slide slightly forward and actually roll his opponent forward over himself into a traditional back mount position, but that was presented as more of a situational thing than a specific technique. It looked like it put a lot of pressure on his partner’s neck, as well.
If the transition fails and you feel like you’re going to slide off your opponent, disengage and switch your feet back to the ground on the same side your arm is over their shoulder. This will maintain a dominant position, and make sure to keep the chest pressure on their back & shoulder.
7. Reverse bear hug to back mount – opponent is taller than you
A taller opponent can create an issue when transitioning to the back mount, because you have to cover a larger distance to get the arm over their shoulder, and will likely end up trying to use it to pull yourself up to the seat-belt grip. This creates a delay where your opponent can defend himself.
To get around this, maintain the strong reverse bear hug grip around his waist. In one motion, hop your feet up onto the top of his calves (back of his knees), with your toes pointed outward, and shove his legs forward with your feet. You’ll both plummet onto your backsides in a seated back mount with no hooks in. Be sure to keep your bear hug tight and keep yourself tight against your opponent’s back throughout the fall, or he will have an easy time turning into you. As soon as you hit the ground is the time to switch to a seat-belt grip and work your hooks in.
8. Arm drag takedown
Grab your opponent’s wrist on the same side (we’ll say left) and grab across with your other arm, just above his elbow (you’ll have both hands gripping his one arm now). Step your left leg outside of them, and your right leg between theirs, and fall backwards while at the same time pulling them down across yourself. This should land them beside you with their arm past you so you can take the back easily.
To secure the back from here, kick your free leg (left) up and swing it back down to leverage your body up, quickly reaching across their back as you come up. Let go of the wrist you had taken and reach over their shoulder to secure a seat-belt grip. Now you can work to get your second hook in for a full back mount.
9. Arm drag takedown – strong opponent resists & pulls you upward
In the situation where your arm drag takedown doesn’t bring your opponent down but instead bends him into you and he stays on his feet, he can try to pull his arm upward, away from you, to free it if he is strong. Keeping a solid grip on the arm, as soon as you feel him pull, bend your knees and pull your feet as far back to your hips as you can, and use them to quickly spring off the mat. Using your opponent’s pull to help your upward motion, quickly throw a seat-belt grip over his shoulder, and dig your hooks in. A strong grip on his triceps is important for this technique, as well as being quick to notice your opponent pulling away.
If your opponent was to pick up his gym bag and sling it over his shoulder, think of that as the motion you’d be following.
10. Arm drag takedown – opponent passes you
If you perform the arm drag as in Technique # 8 and your opponent, instead of resisting, goes with it to try and quickly scramble past you (to your right side if you grabbed his right arm), you can quickly grab his right leg as he passes and either scramble to a better position on the ground, or if he tries to get to his feet you can use that leg for a quick single leg takedown as in Technique #1.
11. Arm drag takedown – adding a trip
Again when performing the arm drag, instead of planting your foot between your opponent’s legs during the takedown, you can extend it out across his far side leg, just above the ankle, to add a trip during the takedown. This will prevent your opponent from keeping his footing and walking around when you fall back.
Marcelo definitely commanded the room, and was a very gracious and helpful teacher. He grappled with several of the attendees (myself included) and pretty much stole everyone's lunch money, regardless of their training level. I noticed he had a very strong preference for either omoplatas, or a choke from north-south position where he basically bear-hugs his opponent's head (I've heard this called a "Monson choke" by a classmate). He was incredibly smooth in setting up moves, and basically did not make mistakes of his own but instead capitalized on every one his opponent would make. He caught me in two of these chokes, as well as what felt like an omoplata but wasn't nearly as obvious because it looked more like a reverse arm bar (I know... weird).
What I took most from the seminar, I think, is both a rekindled interest in training (I've been at something of a plateau lately) and a lot more comfort with wrist control techniques, especially involving the sleeve grab and spider guard moves. Building all of his seminar moves from one or two starting points really helped solidify the base techniques that we were applying to get to the techniques he was demonstrating. He only went over one submission the entire weekend, which was a simple RNC from the positions he was teaching us, but I am finding myself with a few more opportunities to initiate submissions than I was used to before the seminar.
Since this was his first time to host a seminar in the area (I think he said in Texas, but don't recall too well), he went over what he described as his most common-use moves for when he competes, and would like to come back and share something different next time. I will definitely attend if he comes back.