(Originally published February 22, 2021)
We don't say bitch or bitches in our household anymore. It's been replaced with fish or fishes.
You see, a few years ago we were playing cards. Offering up a fair bit of smack talk. And our youngest apparently had a pretty good hand. Her brother said something mouthy to her which I can't recall. But then she slammed down her winning hand with authority, looked him dead in the eye and said, "Well drop you... Fish!" (Complete with head jiggle of course.) It was so darn cute that it stuck, and we've been repeating the phrase ever since.
We're also big fans of the phrase, "Suck it, Fishes!" The phrase, "Suck it!" of course comes from our favorite family TV show. If you're a fan, I don't need to explain the connection. If not, you probably wouldn't understand.
Speaking of connections, we went over establishing connection during class tonight. Why the heck would you waste time on that, you might ask. All you've got to do is just reach out and grab the other guy, right? Well, it's not quite that simple.
Have you ever played the old king-of-the-hill style pass or sweep game? One guy sits in the middle of the mat, plays guard and tries to sweep. He's the king of the hill (or the bull in the ring... I've heard it both ways). Everyone else takes turns trying to pass his guard. If the king of the hill gets the sweep he stays in the center and remains king of the hill. If the passer passes, then he becomes the new sweeper (aka king of the hill) and the old sweeper is out.
Most folks will try to pass standing. This makes sense because it makes you more maneuverable. Standing passes also have a better track record in competition.
Generally speaking, you'll find it's easier to pass and become king of the hill than it is to sweep and remain king of the hill. Part of this is because you get tired after awhile. But the other part is it's generally easier to pass than it is to sweep. This is why we always want to be the guy on top. It's also why we work so much on our sweeps... you know... so we can become the guy on top.
We teach and practice guard passing techniques all the time. We also teach and practice sweeps all the time. But we rarely go over techniques to establish a guard while butt-scooting versus a standing opponent. It's just not that sexy I guess.
The key to butt-scooting offense
Anyhow, the key to remaining king of the hill in this case is to get good at establishing meaningful connections. No, I'm not talking about networking and relationships. I'm talking about physical connections. (Get your mind out of the gutter!)
But seriously, connections are key. Whoever establishes useful connections while denying their opponent any useful connections generally wins the exchange.
Well that sounds well and good, but how do we use that? Here are three things you can go for when you're the butt-scooting king of the hill.
A collar grip (I prefer the cross collar)
A sleeve grip
A grip on the leg
Generally speaking, at least one of these will be open for the taking... unless of course your opponent is running away from you... because they know you're a butt-scooting badass.
Say you get good at establishing the cross collar grip. From there you execute a collar drag and take the back or wind up on top of side control. You run that play successfully for awhile, but eventually folks in your gym catch on and start protecting their collar. What to do?
Well, what are they protecting their collar with? Let's say for the sake of our thought experiment that they protect their collar with their hands. Then you go ahead and grab one of their sleeves.
Once you control one sleeve, you can extend you leg on that side without worrying about it getting stuffed. You can put your foot in his hip, or establish a De La Riva hook, or a lasso on that side.
If he grabs your other leg with his free hand, you grab that sleeve with your free hand and kick to pop that grip off. Voilla! You've established two grips on him. He has no grips on you, And from there you can transition to pretty much whatever guard you want.
You run play number two successfully for awhile as well. But eventually folks catch onto that one too. So now they keep their collar and sleeves away from you by standing upright. What to do?
Now his ankle is literally ripe for the picking. You grab the ankle with one hand, push into the hip with the other, and get on top once he topples over.
Of course if you're a leg locker or an X-guard player, there are some great ways to get to the X or Single-Leg X from leg grips as well. But those are a little more difficult to describe so maybe we'll save that one for another post.
So there you have it. Three targets. Collar, sleeve, and leg.
Once I started using this game plan, my sweeping percentages went way up in pass or sweep games where you start without any connection.
Put a little time in with this concept yourself, and it won't be long before your training partners will be very wary of engaging your seated guard. The you too can say, "Fear my butt-scoot, Fishes!"
- Big Mike
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