Thursday, November 27, 2008

Training Tip: Controlling the Opponent's Head


While waiting for the turkey to cook, I came across the following article written by one of Roger Gracie's Black Belts. It's a strategy we've discussed at length in class repeatedly, but it's one worth emphasizing again, particularly if you find someone escaping your cross-side or mount like a dull knife through hot butter.

"Controlling the head" is the focus of the following article. Remember though, that it's only one part of the equation. You must also control your opponent's hips...like Professor Luis "Limao" Heredia discussed at the training camp.

"Prevent" your opponent from escaping rather than "stopping" or "resisting." Controlling the head and hips is part of your preventative medicine. Positional dominance is criticial to submission success. Think about it. Let's discuss it more in the forum. Until then, here's the article for your reading pleasure. Then go enjoy some turkey!

Control the Opponent's Head
by Nicolas Gregoriades

The head is attached to the top of the spinal column, and can therefore be used as a lever to ‘steer’ the entire torso of an opponent in a desired direction, or stop movement in another. By twisting the head you cause your opponent great discomfort, and severely compromise the mobility of his spine. Also, as the head is the center of a person’s physical awareness because it contains the brain and many of the major sense organs, it is very easy to distract and upset the rhythm of an opponent by interfering with their head.
You may have heard the wrestler's axim, "Where the head goes, the body follows." To take it one step further, think about your opponent's line of site. Where he looks is where he is going. If you have your sparring partner in the sidemount and he is trying to turn in towards you, he will have to turn his head and look towards you. You can counter him by making him look away using your forearm or shoulder.
Figure 1: By lifting and controlling White’s head, Black has greatly reduced his opponent’s bridging ability.
Figure 2: By twisting White’s head and pinning it to the floor, Black has severely compromised the mobility of his opponent’s entire torso.

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