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Brutal Cradle Sequence By Neil Melanson
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Brutal Cradle Sequence By Neil Melanson

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Is catch wrestling the secret weapon to taking your Jiu Jitsu game to the next level, giving your opponent’s in the gym and in competition no chance because you have learned the secret weapon from one of the most savage coaches in the game today?

It’s no secret that as you advance in Jiu Jitsu it becomes harder and harder to have an element surprise against well trained grappler.  Chance are they have come up through the ranks with a training curriculum similar to yours making it very difficult to surprise them, even with a series of attacks strung together.  A good grappler will know the transitions you are looking to make from each submission attempt and have a solution to the problem you are about to present before you even present it. 

This is where we have to look outside the box  explore options that are outside of the norm. This is where top coaches like Neil Melanson come in, known as the guy who does everything different, he is one of the most sought after coaches by MMA fighters on the globe because of his effective and efficient system.  Neil incorporates a brutal catch wrestling foundation into his Jiu Jitsu game in order to catch (no pun intended) the opponent off guard as well as use maximum control over his opponents.  

Let’s take a look at “The Catch Wrestling Cradle Sequence” by Neil Melanson.

The cradle is a basic wrestling tool that is made for pinning, but in Jiu Jitsu, we can use this as a foundation for executing other types of passes, submissions, etc.  The cradle is an ideal system when the opponent is balled up creating a good knee elbow shield. The first example Neil shows is starting from top half guard. The opponent on bottom is using a good knee shield pressuring into Neil attempting to keep him away.  

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Neil is going to use this knee shield to his advantage taking his top arm and going under the opponent’s top leg and grabbing the opponent’s top arm at the bicep and crook of the elbow using a palm up grip.  In order to get his arm under the opponent’s leg Neil is sitting back and pulling on the opponent’s arm enabling a reaction by the opponent which allows him to get his under hook under the opponent’s top leg.

Once in this position Neil is driving his chest into the arm of the opponent that he is controlling.  To do this, he needs to pop up to his toes. Keeping his weight on the opponent he circles to the side of the opponent and brings his left arm over the opponent’s head and looks to meet his other hand with a finger roll grip, otherwise known as a S grip.  At this point Neil has his right arm under the opponent’s top leg and his left arm warped around the opponent’s neck and has his hands locked together with a finger roll grip so the opponent’s legs and chest are being squeezed together.  

The reason behind a finger roll grip is so that when the opponent starts to try to break the grip they have no fingers to start peeling off, whereas with a gable grip, reverse gable etcetera, there are exposed fingers that can, and likely will be attacked out of desperation.  

There are cheap trick submissions from here such as popping up and putting your knee into the opponent’s throat, but Neil prefers a more technical approach.  Next, Neil is going to bunch and pass. To do that he high legs his right leg behind the opponent’s top leg essentially driving their knee to their face. Ensure your hip is tilted slightly towards the mat, otherwise you will be taking pressure off of the opponent which is the opposite of what we are trying to do.  He then backsteps his left leg and takes control of the opponent’s top leg with his left leg. If you really want to be brutal, you can work down the opponent’s leg like a lever and start to kickstand your leg towards their face. The lower you are on their leg, the lever, the more brutal it is.  

Neil now switches control of the opponent’s bottom leg by using the instep of his left foot to keep tabs on it and kickstands out with his right leg.  It’s important to keep your instep above the opponent’s knee on the bottom leg when doing this.  

From here Neil looks to remove his right hand, staying tight with his left hand and then bases his right hand by the head.  The opponent will likely be able to escape their head at this point which is ok, when they do we want to come under the opponent’s top leg with our left hand and work to grip our right hand that we just posted behind the opponent’s head.  

This position gives you tons of options including striking, back takes, leg attacks and tons of other options.  We are going to take the back. Neil pops his leg out and circles to be completely behind the opponent with his right leg as a kickstand, causing the opponent’s head and shoulder to come off of the mat slightly.  It’s important to keep your grip, and maintain pressure on the opponent during this process. He uses the kickstand to drive into the opponent causing them to sit up more and more the more he drives into them.  

Once the opponent is completely upright Neil works to slide his entire grip to the outside of the opponent’s leg that is still entangled in his grip.  He then steps over the opponent’s only free leg with his right leg. At this point Neil points his knee that is hooking the opponent’s leg to the mat causing them to both fall to that side.  He immediately crosses his feet under the thigh of the opponent’s leg that is trapped in his grip. The next step is to transition from this position to a standard seatbelt position we can attack from.  To do this, Neil squeezes until he feels the opponent resist. The moment the opponent starts to resist Neil releases his grip, and “punches” (meaning quickly and directly moves) his right hand to the opponent’s chest regrips his seatbelt grip without the opponent’s leg inside the grip and get’s his second hook inside the opponent’s top leg. 

If you are looking to control the opponent’s bottom arm, the best way to do so is by using an upward grip and driving their hand to the mat and sliding it up by their head.  Failure to do this will result in very little control and will not prevent the opponent from sitting up and getting the under hook if they so choose.

Watching Neil demonstrate techniques makes you feel sorry for his partner! This BRUTAL approach will catch most grapplers off guard. Get in there and put them on the defensive, and land a submission. The Snap Guard With Neil Melanson takes this ruthless approach and applies it to the GUARD!! 

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