Never Never Never Accept a Bad Position
Sometimes, when your opponent is very close to passing your guard, the temptation to give up and let him have his position is strong. “He’s almost got it, anyway,” says the voice of resignation as your opponent moves towards a dominant position, “I might as well just start working from there . . . . ” That voice is the enemy.
While the temptation is real, there are some big problems with that kind of defeatist thinking:
- You must avoid ingraining failures of will into your habits.
- In competition, your opponent doesn’t get points for nearly consolidating a dominant position – only for fully locking it up.
- Especially against larger opponents, accepting an inferior position may be an irreversible mistake (c.f. Coach Dan Faggella’s insights on the topic).
- Finally – and most relevant here – sometimes the most opportune time to strike is when your opponent has almost finished his move.
Video: Whirl Back to Guard Instead of Being Flattened
In the clip below, Coach/Competitor Josh Labossiere of Black Diamond MMA teaches both the theory and the mechanics involved in making progress when your guard is almost passed.
The idea, as you can see, is that your opponent has very nearly finished working to top side control. This is far from an ideal situation for you, but you can probably see how there’s a world of difference between working your escape immediately and waiting until your back’s totally flat on the mat.
BDMMA Technique Breakdown: Working Back to Guard
As Coach Josh explains, the goal is to get your opponent back to guard, where you have one leg on either side of him – ideally with your ankles locked behind his back. It’s perhaps more typical to try to force your knee (in this case Josh’s right) underneath your opponent, but we’ll be working, instead, on passing the leg over his head.
- Push you opponent away.
- You’ll need a little space to get your leg free.
- With your top-side arm (note: you don’t even have one of those if you’re already flat on your back), push your opponent’s head down towards your feet.
- Roll onto your bottom shoulder.
- If you’re posted on your hand or elbow, drop your shoulder to the mat, instead
- This will help to give you both the rotational energy and the clearance you need to execute the move.
- Kick your top leg up and over your opponent’s head.
- Swing your top-side leg up towards you, over your opponent’s head, and down to his opposite side.
- Especially in training, be careful not to crack your partner’s head.
- As much as possible, stomp your leg to the mat on the other side, rather than just letting it drop.
Aim for a Triangle Choke; Avoid Falling into Another Pass
One potential pitfall with this method is that you can inadvertently set up your opponent for a double under pass.
If, when your swinging leg lands, your opponent still has both of his arms under your thighs (as in the pic at left), he’s in a good position to pass you again.
Make no mistake, this is still a better position than the bottom side control you just escaped. But we can do better. You’re still reasonably close to a triangle choke, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t try to finish it.
As you know, the triangle demands that you have your opponent’s neck and exactly one of his arms trapped between your legs. If you’ve landed in that double-under-pass position, you can pull one of your opponent’s arms through your legs, as Coach Josh demonstrates at right.
Lock up a gable grip under the target arm. You want the upper arm (Josh’s right, in the picture) to reach diagonally across you and grind into your opponent’s face. Pull up with your arms as you kick down with your thigh. This should yank your opponent’s arm to the inside of your legs, at which point you can sink your triangle.