When I started this site, it was primarily with gear reviews in mind, although I did subsequently thought about including my training reflections. However, I had held back thus far to keep the site focused. Till now.
Last evening, I had the pleasure of rolling and learning from one of my idols, Shinya Aoki. Despite his bad boy rep, he’s really a friendly and down to earth chap in real life, not to mention a good instructor that pays attention to all the little details.
The last time I attended his seminar, I picked up the nuances of the d’arce choke and a little of the guillotine, though I’m not too good with some of the variations. More importantly, I started to adopt a ruthlessness to chokes that I sort of picked up based on Aoki’s approach.
Last night though, I had another relevation. Flow. We all know how important it is to flow from one technique to another, but it’s easier said than done.
In the midst of tapping out multiple times to Aoki’s chokes, my oxygen deprived brain managed to realise I was being sent to lala land by almost the same chokes, but from different positions that I ended up in during my escape attempts. The key lay in how he adapted to my movements and either adjusted the choke accordingly or simply swept me with the choke still locked in. In essence, he flowed from position to position with the same choke.
This was huge to me, as I had recently added the guillotine to my game and is now my go-to submission. I actively hunt for it from every top position and find it super effective for passing half-guard to mount. Now I’m starting to realise that mastering the guillotine goes beyond knowing the right angle to crank from, but the whole host of transitions that can happen with the choke still locked in, and of course, the finish.
My game is heavily submission based, I prefer to attack for subs whenever I can instead of improving position. That usually left me with only two options when I had a choke hold that couldn’t finish. Either I continued to crank and burn out my limbs, or I released the hold and transition to something else. Now I’m determined to work on the third – sweeping or improving position with the same hold.
It’s a mindset approach really. I’m terrible at recalling specific techniques, so most times I rely on broad principles to guide me. E.g. crush carotid arteries – blood choke, crank arm at 90 degrees – shoulder lock, trap posting arm and leg – sweep. I don’t really care what method I use to get there, as long as I get there.
So now, I’ll probably be broadening my perspective to include things like chokehold on head – no base on one side – possible sweep or finish.