Ok we are right in the middle of discussing how to stop Leg Locks, but this last weekend's match between Florian and Shaolin keeps popping up, so I figured it might be a good idea to bring up a couple of valuable points.
It's not too often I talk about fights or matches, however several comments and questions keep surfacing about this fight.
Just Minutes after the fight took place I had students asking if I saw the fight. The answer was no, and I wasn't in a hurry to watch because I figured it was just another case of someone winning and someone losing with both sides having fans emotionally invested. What makes this interesting is that most of the comments on the news feeds are just referencing "The Choke", when there was much more that happened that lead up to the choke happening.
First it should be said that Kenny Florian is a good and knowledgeable Jiu Jitsu competitor. Moreover, he recently has done well in competition. I have never rolled with Kenny personally, but I do recall seeing some of his seminar material floating around on a bootleg DVD about 10 years ago that showed he had a solid well thought approach to Jiu Jitsu.
So what really happened??
High level Jiu Jitsu, that's what happened. Never forget anything can happen in High Level competition. There are details to be explained of course, but the simple answer is, "High Level Jiu Jitsu", where one mistake can set the tone for a bad outcome. Especially if the match has a time limit, which we will also bring up. I will go out on a limb and say if both of these competitors fought again, the outcome might be a bit different, if not, at least it would be a closer fight. Both of these competitors are talented and deserve respect.
Ok, let's talk specifics.
Those of you that get to hear my rants on a regular basis already probably recognized a certain detail at the beginning of the match. Florian was trying to lead with his hips and stay out of the range of Shaolin's guard. This is becoming more common and my prediction was that this would be a standard practice to stay out of range of your opponent's guard.
What happened next?
Sitting guard is what happened next!
Now before you think I am going to spin this discussion in to "Why you must learn sitting guard," I want to remind everyone that Sitting Guard also has its down side or "kink in the armor."
The only hint I am going to give you on that is to look at the last frame of the exchange shown below.
However, where Sitting Guard does benefit is from the Fulcrum or pivot point you create with your knee. The knee creates the sweep not the foot hook. Notice where Shaolin inserts foot to position knee against Kenny's torso. Shaolin executed the sweep with an overhooked arm which probably made the sweep easy to underestimate. Usually the overhook allows the top player to pass by creating an angle, however in this case the fulcrum created by the knee is the variable that changes everything.
The images below show the progression of the sweep.
When discussing this match, this first exchange set the tone for what would happen next. Of course we know the match ended with a clock choke, however that choke may not have ever happened if Florian didn't feel the pressure to catch up on points or attempt a sweep that wasn't ripe yet. The other key was Shaolin's continuous grip on Florian's pant leg that limited options from The De La Riva guard.
Why did Florian keep an open guard? Because he probably felt the need to create movement because he was behind on points.
That lead to the long step pass attempt, then scramble to recover guard,
then hip switch to turtle,
then came the clock choke.
Those that compete have probably recalled the feeling of being in Florian's situation. In competition a rough start can create a ripple effect.
So much can be taken from this match. Not just the conclusion.
If you ever watch a high level match and wonder why both competitors are so cautious, this match is a good example of why.
The difference between Butterfly and Sitting Guard is the placement of your knee against your opponent's torso.