My wife graciously arranged for me to have two private lessons with Damian as a gift for Valentine’s Day. She’s awesome like that. Tonight, I took the first.
I had coordinated with Ron to be the uke (aka “practice dummy”). The plan was to learn some techniques and strategies while in half guard, but from the bottom. Ron and I have talked previously, and I reiterated again at the start of the lesson….I feel like I have an idea of what I need to do, and several (or many) techniques to accomplish those goals from nearly any position….except from half guard.
Damian started off slow with two full guard recovery techniques. Right off the bat I learned two things. I’m keeping my underhook (when I can get it) too deep, and I’m not defending head control aggressively enough (or even correctly). With that combination, the guard recovery techniques that I already knew…magically started working.
One was the typical escape the hip, straight your torso, and slide your leg out. The other was inserting your outside foot as a butterfly hook and then straightening and recovering butterfly guard.
In the situation where I don’t have the underhook, I can do the same style recovery, but his underhook can be used against him. Escape the hip, pull the leg out, but instead of going to guard, put it on his hip…straighten my torso out, and slide my hand up to his elbow, and we end up in the clamp position…and either elbow lock or kimura from here.
Next up was when he “barb wires” your legs. Basically, feeding his hand and wrist between your legs to limit both your hip movement and your ability to rotate. Frame up using one hand on his collar, and the other on his barb wired wrist. Then move your high side leg up, and then over his entire body, then inserting that knee again…but this time under his barb wired arm…effectively negating it. Then you can escape as normally.
Last up was for when you don’t have the under hook, and he switches his hips to start to pass. Control his low wrist and knee, hike him up on your chest and then do a backwards somersault. I suck and doing the “ninja flip” kick that required to really do this right, so I have no confidence in this sweep working…but it’s something to work on.
All in all, a very positive night. Ron is planning on doing a lesson too, and using me as his uke. Damian indicated that he’s got more half guard stuff that he wants to show us, so it’s likely we’ll be doing that.