Overcoming The Problem of Predictability with John Danaher
As a new blue belt, I attended one of the first high profile BJJ seminars I had ever attended with the legendary Alexandre Ribeiro. Since it was over a decade ago and I was a new blue belt visiting a strange academy, the amazing techniques have long been deleted from my brain's hard drive. One key idea has survived the sands of time from that seminar and I find myself thinking about it often.
Alexandre Ribeiro was making a point about the importance of gripping one's opponent. The concept that Xandre was trying to get clear to the audience at the seminar was that our grips can sometimes tell our opponent's what our plans are and that we should be cautioned against revealing too much.
To demonstrate his concept, Xandre grabbed my lapel casually. He looked at the audience at the seminar and said, "This is the same way I would grab Roger Gracie's lapel." His point being that if he gripped Roger's lapel with too much intensity or push/pull energy, he might tip Roger Gracie on what is going to happen next. This was a powerful concept and idea that was not lost on this new blue belt.
In his new series Feet to Floor Volume 1 set to hit the BJJ Fanatics store in the next day or so, John Danaher looks to fill a huge hole in the average practitioner's BJJ game, the clear lack of knowledge and skill around the notion of taking one's opponent down to the mats.
For John Danaher, the two largest knowledge gaps in BJJ in the last few decades have been the noticeable lack of lower body submissions and the lack of understanding regarding the art of taking down an opponent. His Enter the System series addressed the leglock gap and in the last few years has revolutionized the submission game for countless athletes, instructors, and academies. He is poised to do the same with takedowns with his detailed system.
In the exclusive excerpt below "Movement As a Distraction", John Danaher looks to overcome one of the biggest issues that arises when we are trying to take our opponents down via one of his favorite takedowns for the BJJ athlete, the collar drag. It's the exact same issue that Xande spoke about so many belts ago and John Danaher is here to fix the issue. Check it out below and then we'll break it down.
The Problem of Predictability With the Collar Drag
Every contact that we make with our opponent can be useful in that it moves the action forward and allows us to employ our offensive gameplan. But every grip, foot placement, or other body adjustment can also reveal our intentions to our opponent before we have an opportunity to complete the action, therefore allowing them to make the proper defensive moves that can stall out our progress or worse yet, counter us and put us in a bad spot.
For this reason, John Danaher recommends using methods that will disguise our intention, distract the opponent from what we are truly wanting to do, and also quickly and efficiently enable us to act before the opponent has sufficient opportunity to take defensive measures.
Using Grips to Distract from Other Grips
In the example video above, John Danaher takes hold of Giancarlo Bodoni's sleeve when Giancarlo takes his strong lapel grip. This helps to minimize the control that Giancarlo has and allows him to then set up his own more powerful and controlling lapel grip.
Danaher then uses that second grip as a means of distracting from the breaking of the first grip. Now John Danaher has a sleeve and collar grip and Giancarlo is left with no grips.
Using Footwork to Prevent Regripping
And next in an effort to prevent Giancarlo from simply regripping and sending him back to square one, Danaher will change his stance putting his left foot forward. Once he has achieved this stance he unbalances Giancarlo by pulling him forward, temporarily exposing his back. This forces Giancarlo to immediately begin to square back up with him.
As Giancarlo squares up, John Danaher moves past and uses the collar drag to pull him towards the mat, while sitting to a hip and tripping Giancarlo forward onto his hands and knees. This creates an opportunity for John to come around to the back and begin setting up his offensive controls of that position.
This video can be seen as a tiny microcosm of John Danaher's upcoming system of takedowns that will be masterfully laid out in the Feet to Floor series. One of the primary reasons that takedowns are difficult to complete in live training or competition is that most of us have never addressed the fact that our grips, footwork and body placement can give predictable clues to what our intentions are.
For John Danaher, the collar drag is one of the best takedowns for practitioners to add to their arsenal because it scores very highly against John Danaher's six crucial criteria that you will soon learn about in Volume 1 of Feet to Floor. By addressing the problem of predictability by using grips, footwork, kuzushi, and body movement to keep the opponent on their heels (pun intended) and allow you to effectively take them down, you will improve your overall BJJ game exponentially.
Check out the eagerly anticipated Feet to Floor when it arrives and for now, take advantage of all of the other great instructionals from Danaher's Enter the System series or the Go Further Faster series. You can check them out in the BJJFanatics.com store. For now get yourself a copy of Go Further Faster Strangles and Turtle Breakdowns, the final installment of Go Further Faster.