I’ve been meaning to do this. I’ve wanted to do this. I have two other posts I’ve been chipping away at, but this just came to me, so it’s jumping the line.
One of the privileges of rank in our moon is the opportunity to teach. I’ve learned so much from my ranked teammates and was beyond thrilled when Coach offered me the women’s class. I’ve wanted to be a part of this since I started and jumped at the chance. I’ve limited my curriculum to self-defense grappling and basic sports Jiu Jitsu. Our class opens with conditioning work that develops fundamental movements, because shrimpin’ ain’t easy when you have no clue how to connect to the ground. We review what we did the week before, then drill new material. Depending on the day, we’ll roll for 15-30 minutes at the end of class. The guys in striking class start wandering in near the end of class and they’re always happy to let the ladies beat up on them. It’s kind of brilliant, actually.
Today’s lesson was headlock defenses from standing and top side control. One of the first things Brandon teaches is that bully headlocks are stupid and he goes over the many reasons why. The list is long and pretty craptastic for the idiot holding the headlock. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of class that I had my epiphany: A person compromises his shoulder when he applies a headlock and, the tighter he holds on, the worse it is for him. Check this out.
We started with standing headlock defense. Dumb drunk dude (portrayed by the always lovely Lindsey McCaghren) grabs you (played by the burly, if not beautiful, Brandon McCaghren) around the neck, hugs you to his hip, and tries to punch you in the face.
Excellent! You’re already close to him. Connect your backward arm to his body and overhook the inside of his elbow. (5-0 grip). Make frames and control his free hand. Step your forward foot between his feet, hump his leg, extend your rear leg as you drop to the floor – just like that side break fall we drilled at the beginning of class. Follow the flow into mount or side control. Knees wide, butt down. Control the position.
After watching the girls play different variations of footsie, I realized that this isn’t a trip. The attacker isn’t travelling. I’m compromising his base and, to that end, it’s like how Josh plays his rubber guard. He hangs his weight off his opponent’s body at an odd angle like some grippy, alien octopus, then turns his belly to the ground, relentlessly driving your nose into the mat – and it’s all angles. He’s off to the side of his opponent’s center. This sweep is exactly the same. You connect to him, then hang off his back side. When his weight passes his heels, go belly down and bring your knees to your face. It’s the easiest thing in the world. I feel like I could take down someone twice my size, if he decided to hold on to the headlock and here’s why…
…He’s given me the angle and the leverage. He’s actually compromised himself at this point.
Side bar: I’m sure there are elite wrestlers who understand the subtleties of the headlock when applied with practice, but it’s not what most folks are going to encounter. Don’t squirrel on me.
Once I connect my weight to him, and it won’t work if I don’t, all I have to do is drop the boombah! Playing footsie is gonna get me hurt. I step to the center and fall – just like we drilled in the beginning of class.
And to a person they nailed it and there was much rejoicing and gladness.
But, hey, dumb drunk dude decided this was his moment to really commit, so he holds on and tries to squeeze your wee little head off. No problem! Widen your knees, drop your @$$, and connect to him by putting your hands at the end of his jaw. Close your elbows. Connect to the floor through his head, then big posture: eyes up, chest up, shoulders packed. Pop!
Oh, look, an arm bar.
And Li found a path to the crucifix for that guy who just refuses to let go. It was bangin’.
So was the purpose of the whole blog to catalogue my lesson plan? Not at all. I don’t imagine my descriptions are all that illuminating. The point is that my understanding of movement just doubled as a result of teaching that class and I didn’t even know it until I sat down to write this.
I just realized the action of the sweep was the same as the side break fall. I drill the snot out of break falls every single class. I could have saved us a bunch of time. *facepalm*
I just realized that the sweeping action follows a similar principle to something I’ve been drilling.
I just realized that headlock is stupid because the elbow you’ve wrapped around someone’s head is way far from the body, providing a perfect lever for the shoulder.
I just realized that I’m learning twice as fast right now because I’m having to think more about the movements I’m sharing. Bonus! Ladies, thank you for making me better. Here’s hoping I crest the learning curve before next week’s class!
These four women destroyed the mats!