Rolling with Ryan Hall

First post,

As I am constantly writing down details and experiences to improve my jiu jitsu, I figured I might as well do it in the form of a blog.

2 days ago I took a flight from Helsinki to Zurich Switzerland to attend a post-ADCC nogi seminar by Ryan Hall. I think it is vital to get a thorough and well explained instruction on the details of jiu jitsu and Ryan (at least based on his recent DVDs on back mount and deep half guard) seemed like the man who could provide this. Ryan lost his third match in this year's ADCC to Robson Moura with a guard pass, but overall put on a good show.

The seminar did not disappoint and I was really able to walk away with a better understanding of some positions. Everybody has been in seminars where all that is provided is a large set a techniques without sufficient explanation but Ryan's seminar felt more like a private class. He took the time to correct everybody's mistakes and was very willing to discuss the key points individually..The seminar was supposed to be 2 hours, but ended up lasting almost 4 including rolling time.

The whole seminar consisted of working on a passing sequence against sitting up guard that goes like this:
- First disrupt the sitting position by slapping his hand out of the way and putting him on his back by lifting from the heels
- As you raise the legs above the head, you switch the ankle grip, grap the same side bicep with the free arm and push your knee to the ground between his knees keeping the other leg up. (Sort of like the leg drag passing position)
- Adjust the position to 2 bicep control and push his chin with your hairline
- Get cross face with far side underhook and pass to side control with ease or get the cross face with near side underhook and utilise what I call "ankle play" to pass to mount.

The sequence itself was not the key to a good seminar but I got to work on 2 concepts that I feel often make the difference between decent and good jiu jitsu: "Ankle play" and shoulder pressure. There was also a lot of talk on training and competition philosophy which I found useful.

Many really good lightweights I've rolled with seem to have figured out the importance of constant movement and ankle play while on top. It almost feels that I am not able to establish and type of guard because I can't trap a leg to half guard due to ankle play or establish good upper body control needed for butterfly guard etc. Good examples of "ankle play" can be found at least on the passing section of Andre Galvao's "Details, concepts and game plan".


I was introduced to the concept of Roger Gracie shoulder pressure by Trumpet Dan on his youtube videos. The whole idea with this type of pressure is reaching for your opponents armpit and hooking it with 3 fingers and putting pressure and your opponents arteries with your shoulder. It also helps to reach as far as you can and to pull the opponent as much under your shoulder as possible. This type of shoulder pressure can be applied from side control, mount or top half guard.

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