Lessons from BJJ Finnish Open 2011

All the streaming from Finnish Open 2011 can be watched at: www.bjj.tv

I did not compete this year but we did a lot of preparations with my friend Toni who was competing at blue belts under 76kg. He had a good gameplan but ended up losing the first match by points, 6-4 (2 sweeps each and a takedown for the opponent).

With Toni’s permission I review some parts of the fight..

Right of the bat, the gameplan was to pull guard and Toni did. The problem was so did his opponent at the same moment. Toni went on top. He had a decent posture but the opponent was able to spin under and grab the far leg for sweep. On top of giving up 2 points, Toni ended up in a poor guard position on the bottom. Opponent tried to pass but Toni’s guard retention was top notch. In a minute, he was able to get to butterfly guard and execute a Marcelo Garcua style hook sweep with a collar grip.

Next Toni had a very good cross pass attempt, but once his legs were free to opponent was able to force himself to his knees and they finally ended up standing. Toni then starts looking for a good guard pull, but the opponent is able to catch a single leg takedown. I guess many of us do this mistake (I know I have) for waiting to long to pull guard and execute our game plan. Fortunately Toni felt to a good guard position and sweep the opponent quickly from x-guard.

Next the opponent went for a triangle/armbar setup but Toni showed good defense and postured out. A good detail was how he used his knee to push the opponent further away while posturing out. Toni went for another cross pass attempt and threatens with a collar choke. The opponent is able to rock his base while both arms are in and roll to a single leg. The rest of the match is spent in guard position.

What to take from this?
We saw a good amount of single leg sweeps and takedowns at Finnish Open 2011,also in Toni’s match. Single legs are often not forced and driven until the end in rolling because this is often not considered “technical” or good rolling etiquette. However, they often are a decisive factor in competition.

It is incredible how we were honing the exact things that cost him the points just this week, single leg sprawling (distance control) & defense and of course deep half guard defense. I guess we should do these more often.

The second thing is that we were once again reminded that conditioning is everything. Even Toni felt I bit gassed during the last minute of his match. I forced myself to run 60 floors up and down tonight. Yeah!

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