James was out on Wednesday, so Bill ran the class. One of the recent changes in local tournament rules is that straight ankle locks are now legal for white belts. Since we have a number of white belts who intend to compete in November at the next Revolution tournament, and because Bill was running the class, we worked a setup from within guard. The leg attacks continued yesterday as we worked a kneebar from the same setup.
First, a ton of the guys from my school are down today at the two day Marcelo Garciaseminar being hosted by BJJ Olympia. While I'm very jealous, it just wasn't in the cards. So, I hope everyone has fun. I'll just mope around. ;)
At the Wednesday class, my daughter's kids class runs immediately beforehand. I was watching the kids spar and Mark, the kids instructor, asked if I wanted to help out and roll with the kids. As I'm always looking for an opportunity to pad my win column, I accepted gladly. Seriously, though, it was fun rolling with the kids. I got one match with my daughter, which was great, and one with a yellow belt who's new to the school, but has been training down in SoCal for a year or so. It was really cool to see them all working hard trying to remember their technique.
Okay. Speaking of technique, as I said before, we worked a kneebar and a straight ankle lock. As I describe them, I'm starting in my opponent's guard and will attack his left leg.
Basic Straight Ankle Lock
The first step is to open my opponent's guard and assume a combat base (my left knee up inside my opponent's legs, making it difficult for him to close his guard.
I'm going to control his left leg loosely. I have to sell this technique by making my opponent believe I'm working to pass (which, of course, I'll take if he starts defending the ankle lock).
As I drive my left knee over to the mat, pinning my opponent's right leg, I'll bring my own right leg up. At this point, my right foot is flat on the mat and I've got my opponent's left leg effectively pinned between my right arm and leg. My left knee is on the mat pinning his right leg down. He should be thinking pass.
When I'm ready, I'm going to fall back for the ankle lock. My right arm slides down his leg as I bring my right foot up into his side/diaphragm area. My left knee will slide over so I can squeeze my legs together to control his left leg, careful to hide my left foot. The positioning of my feet is critical to keep him from sitting up to defend the hold and also to keep my own legs out of danger.
I'm going to get an appropriate grip, using the blade of my right forearm somewhere between the calf and the foot.
Now, by appropriate grip, Bill said that this is largely a matter of preference. Getting a figure four grip is what a lot of guys prefer, apparently. Bill's opinion is that this makes the hold harder to get, even though it's a stronger grip. I'll play around with it. Also, as for where the right place to lock it in, that's going to take some time to figure out, as well. Too high on the calf and you're not putting any pressure on the achilles tendon. Too low, and most of the pressure is going to the top of the foot.
The Kneebar setup starts the same. The difference is that, when I'm ready to take the leg, I'm going to reach under the leg, as though I'm switching over to pass on that side, controlling the leg at the ankle (the farther up on the leg I'm controlling, the less likely he can figure four to defend and the weaker his leg is), hugging his leg to my cheek. I'll either step over with my other leg, falling to my shoulder and finishing just as I would an armbar.
A couple of details Bill mentioned about the kneebar were to, first, keep the leg hugged tight to you body, just like an armbar. Second, for both the kneebar or the straight ankle lock, fall all the way to the shoulder. Don't stop on your elbow. Third, really sell the guard pass to get the setup.