This morning we began the first lesson in a 10 hour course on submission grappling/ground-fighting for martial arts cross-training. Our initial focus was on building a strong top position by learning the basic pins and how to transition through them in an effective way. We began with a series of mobility exercises on the floor, which increased their intensity until they were fully-fledged grappling specific callisthenic exercises. This was followed with a series of crawling exercises – bears, crabs, lizards and seals – which are excellent for activating the appropriate muscle groups and developing movement patterns for the top position.
We then began with side control. This basic pin remains very popular due to its effectiveness in combat sports. The person on top is completely locked in and the pin allows for the greatest surface area to block escapes. It also provides a great basis for teaching the fundamentals of pinning an opponent. The fighter learns to block the hips and shoulders, to not allow any gaps for limb escapes and to become sensitive the opponent’s movements. From here I taught a figure-of-four arm-lock, commonly referred to as an Americana or American arm-lock.
Next we moved onto the adjusted scarf-hold. For the purposes of looking at submission-only fighting, the adjusted scarf-hold uses an under-hook as opposed to a scarf-hold to protect the back. From here I suggested an arm-triangle submission as another opportunistic finishing move. We then transitioned into the north-south position and then into adjusted scarf-hold on the opposite side. This transitioned to knee-pin (knee-on-stomach), back to side control then to reverse scarf-hold then to full-mount position, opposite leg knee-pin and then back to the original side-control position. This is my basic sequence of pins.