Monday, January 30, 2012

Calf Slicer Submission

The UFC had another first on Saturday, the first Calf Slicer Submission. Charles Oliveira caught Eric Wisely in a four submission progression that ended with the Calf Slicer. Check out the gifs:

Another angle:

The first of the four we miss, Oliveira first attempted a heel hook, Wisely spun out of, and then, as seen in the gif, Olivera goes for the kneebar. Wisely is able to move his knee below the hips, thus defeating the kneebar submission. Olivera then goes for a toe hold. He doesn't really spend a lot of time on this submission as Wisely was able to step forward and move his foot out of position. That gave Oliveira a chance to do two things, he could go for the calf slicer, or take the back. Since Wisely's right foot was forward and his left was bent on top of Oliveira, the left leg was in a perfect position to attempt the submission. Why perfect? If Wisely was able to defend, and free his left foot, Oliveira would be in position to put in his hooks and start working chokes from the back mount. Or if Wisely was able to free AND able to hip away from Oliveira to defend the back mount, Oliveria would be able to easily move in to side control. There was no bad position consequence for Oliveira here.
So what Oliveira does is to take his left leg and put it just under Wisely's knee, directly on the biggest part of the calf. He then locks his leg down with his right leg, in to a figure four, triangle lock. Next, Oliveira grabs Wisely around the waist and pulls Wisely towards him, being careful to keep Wisely's foot in the center of his body. Most of the time the opponent will go along with this movement. They don't know that they are in danger, and just think that you are pulling them backward to take back mount. More often than not the opponent will put their hands on your hands to prevent you from moving upward and attacking their neck.
To complete the submission, Oliveira pulls Wisely all the way back while pushing his hips in to him. The pressure on the calf is tremendous. As the name implies, this submission tears the muscle apart. On top of that pressure is put on the interior ligaments and tendons of the knee. If the submission is done correctly to completion the person being submitted is looking at ACL and PCL tears, as well as extensive tissue damage to the calf muscles.

You see this submission a lot more in the gi game, as it is much easier to pull off when you can control the opponent's leg via his pants, and his waist via his belt; however, it can be done in the no-gi game as Oliveira demonstrated.

What you should take away here is not the submission itself, although that is the very cool part. You should take away the need to always be thinking ahead in your game. Oliveira did not just give up after his heel hook failed, he was thinking ahead and knew that if he missed the heel hook the kneebar would be there. He knew that if he missed the kneebar, the toe hold would be there, and he knew that if he missed the toe hold the calf slicer would be there, finally he knew that if he missed the calf slicer, the back would be there. This progression in submissions and positions allowed him to flow easily and confidently to the next submission and position. It also forced Wisely to be constantly defending until he made just one fatal mistake. This is how good Jiu Jitsu is played. Constantly setting up new positions, and flowing in to the next movement.
When you train, especially with those less experienced than you, try to practice your position flows rather than just tapping them out with whatever submission they give you. Allow them to escape and move in to your new position. Better yet, only give them one way out of the submission so that you can perfect flowing from a lower percentage submission in to a higher percentage submission. Not only will you learn to chain your submissions together, but you will learn to manipulate your opponent in to doing what YOU want them to do, in a cold calculated way, rather than simply taking advantage of whatever is there.

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