15 Jul 2012
I popped down to London Fight Factory yesterday to attend a seminar by the 'half-guard wizard' Lucas Leite.
Lucas is a top class competitor and has won numerous titles, including Mundials in 2007 at black belt and in 2005 at brown belt. He fights in the incredibly stacked division of middleweight (think Kron Gracie, Claudio Calasans, Victor Estima etc etc) and you'll see how someone of Lucas's calibre has to be both physically and mentally at the top of their game. With his devastating game, based largely around the open half guard, his game is very much something I like to aspire to. Here's my very potted summary of the event...
Lucas began the session with one and half hours of gi based techniques. He explained how he liked to get in to an open half guard position but that often his opponents would like to flatten him out. There followed a very revealing and simple method to extract oneself from the top guy shoulder pressure and manoeuvre for the underhook. Lucas then showed several options for the half guard sweep or back take dependent on how the opponent reacts. The principle counter to expect when underhooking from half guard is that the opponent slides his arm under yours - the so called 'whizzer'. Lucas showed us how to effectively deal with this.
Lucas then took the base techniques that he showed from the first few moves and showed how they could be applied when, for example, attacking an opponent who turtles up, or, another move to escape side control and even gain a better position as a result. It was all great stuff and very useful for a bottom guard player like me.
The second one and a half hours (yes a three hour seminar!) was dedicated to nogi. Lucas opened up with a demonstration of how he likes to take an opponent down while he is sitting. It involved a pretty evil sweep followed swiftly by a most effective straight achilles lock. Lucas explained how to place ones shoulder far behind your torso to effect the submission. The academy floor soon echoed to the collective cries of OUCH and the palm slapping of mass taps. It was brutal but brilliantly effective.
One of my favourite techniques involved moving into deep half guard from a butterfly guard. But the deep half was not the object of the transition, it was merely a place to work the opponent's legs into a knee-poppingly painful calf crush. It was so simple, but I don't think I have ever experienced a submission so painful. My partner Brendan and I gingerly drilled this but no matter how softly one does it, it still hurt like hell...which of course meant I loved it more!
The main meat of the nogi portion was dedicated to a selection of neck attacks. Lucas put us through a series of guillotine attacks, followed by the anaconda choke and completed with the darce. Then he combined all three attacks together, flipping his body around his opponent to show the wonderful movement he has and the angles he wanted us to learn in order to make each submission work best. Brendan and I had great fun tearing each others heads off, though I don't think anyone in the room was working the triple threat of neck attacks as smoothly as Lucas showed. Lucas admitted that it needed a lot of practice but if these three were drilled then over time he guaranteed us it would be make our nogi game so much better. I can believe him!
I'd like to thank Luiz who runs London Fight Factory for inviting both me and Callum (editor of Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine) down for the seminar and the chance to interview and photograph Lucas. A big hello and thanks also to my buddies from LFF who always make me feel so welcome.
I hear the current star World Champion 'Buchecha' might be making a visit to London soon, along with his instructor Cavaca. Seriously it doesn't get any better in BJJ world lol!