I worked with Professor Conan for all of open mat yesterday, and he was helping me to develop an effective guard-opening strategy, as well as talking about some general Jiu-Jitsu theory. I think the biggest thing I took away from it was a notion that he frequently reminds us of “Don’t move your opponent, move yourself.” I still have a tendency to try to push, pull, pry, lift, or shove my opponent into place, when I would be much better served by moving myself instead. “Don’t try to go through the mountain, go around it.” Even if you can only move in small increments, it’s usually better to inch yourself than to try to move your opponent. Strong-arming might work for people with, um, strong arms, but I do not haz, and even if it works it’s not the most efficient use of energy. Consciously I know this, but subconsciously I think I am She-Hulk! She-Hulk smash! Actually, in my case, She-Hulk gets smashed by He-Hulks on the regular.
In regard to opening a guard, Conan showed me that all I really need to do is create a little bit of space to be able to get it open. He went over several different ways that I could do that, just by moving my own body. A couple of them involved pain compliance by my opponent (such as elbows digging into thighs, or knee shoved into butt crack), but my favorite one was the “tight jeans” method, which I had completely forgotten about, even though just the other day I was talking about shimmying into tight jeans! “Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty…”