Here are my notes from last month’s Carlos Machado seminar.

After running us through a warm-up, Carlos talked about the different ranges of attack and control you have from open guard, starting further out and getting closer and closer:

  1. Wrists
  2. Elbows
  3. Shoulders
  4. Hips/belt

The first techniques of the day start with wrist control since you can usually grab it right away.

Double wrist control hook sweep

Start in closed guard. Grab both sleeves at the wrist. Step on their hips and scoot back, pushing on their elbows with your knees as you cross their wrists. Since you will be sweeping to your left, cross their left hand over top of their right hand. Carlos calls this the “cuff.”

Now you are in open guard with both feet on their hips and their wrists crossed so they can’t grab you. Scoot your hips to your right, then your shoulder, switching back and forth until you have changed the angle so you are out at a diagonal to them.

Step your left foot on the inside of their right knee and kick it out as you put in your right butterfly hook and flip them. Make a little circle with your hands (like you’re turning a clown car) to add rotation into their shoulders so they tilt into the sweep. You can come up into side control or whatever you want.

Double wrist control hook sweep by switching sides

Do the same as the last technique, but when you go to sweep, they step up their right leg to post and prevent you from sweeping them.

Put your left foot back on their hip and push off as you swing your shoulders around to your right. As you swing around you can turn your hands like you’re turning your clown car to the right and recross (re-cuff) their wrists the other way (Carlos said this isn’t totally necessary but it helps.) Push with your right foot inside their knee and put your left butterfly hook in and sweep them the same way as in the last move, only to the other side. It may be even easier because they will be leaning into it after trying to prevent themselves from falling the other way.

A great detail Carlos added was that if they step their leg up to prevent the sweep but keep their shin/knee turned in tight to you, it can be hard to lift them with the butterfly hook under their knee. Instead he drops his hook down to their ankle and open it outward, then swoops it up into the sweep. The motion is like writing a cursive J. This was my favorite detail of the entire seminar and you can apply it to almost any hook sweep.

Double wrist control sweep with your feet on the hips

To illustrate the importance of changing the angle by scooting your hips and shoulders out to the side, Carlos had us do the first sweep again but this time instead of using a butterfly hook you just kept your foot on the hip. Instead of using the hook to flip them, you just push their hip over as you twist their wrists around and kick their knee out.

He also showed another way to beat them putting their knee to stop the sweep. He just took his foot and stepped on top of their knee and pushed it back down to the ground and repeated the sweep.

Engaging from knees

Carlos showed a way of engaging from the knees. He put his elbows by his sides and his hands in front of him like he is holding a tray. When they reach in to grab you, just flip your hands over like you are playing slaps and grab their sleeves, then sit into butterfly/open guard and do your sweeps.

“Shakey shakey” hook sweep with back grip

Carlos talked about imagining your opponent has a compass over their head, with arrows pointing forwards and backward and left and right. He said he wants to spin the compass a little and get them going to the “in between” angles. He also wants to put it off level, doing things like tilting their shoulders up and down or making them lean in awkward angles.

Carlos said he may be bad at making up names but that you will remember this as the “shakey shakey.”

You are sitting in butterfly guard and they are keeping their hands in, making it hard to get a good control over their wrists. Scoot in as you reach around their shoulders and grab their gi in the middle of their back, making a big wrinkle in the fabric to hold on to (Carlos joked “Who says you need their belt?”).

“Steer” left with your arms to tilt their right shoulder down as you swing your head around to their right side. Lower and squeeze in your elbows to trap their arms inside so they can’t post. Don’t fall back, but instead throw your head as though you want to fall down behind them as you kick your right hook up to sweep them.

They will base back and lean away from the sweep to not get flipped. Maintaining your momentum, swing your shoulders around in a big arc to your right and sweep them again to your right, taking them over this time.

Sit up into armdrag drill

Carlos had us do a drill where we started laying down with one butterfly hook and one foot on the hip. You use your hook to help you sit up into them as you grip their arm for an armdrag and tug it across. He had us do this quickly 10 times on each side.

The Skirmish

Carlos talked about how what he calls “the skirmish,” the grey areas between solid positions where you are both still fighting for dominance. The example he used was when they are passing your guard and you are somewhere between defending side control and still doing guard. He talked about how in these situations you may even lose the battle (like getting your guard passed), but even if you do, you should have made them pay a toll so they spent more energy than you did. Then as you put them through more of these skirmishes, they will come out further and further behind until you gain the advantage.

Open guard retention with the skirmish idea

Carlos had as do a drill where we would get double sleeve control and our partner would stand over us and start passing our guard by trying to run around. Our goal was to control their wrists and keep pushing them in or twisting their arms around or doing anything we could to keep them from grabbing what they wanted. If they got further around and came down close to us, we’d let go of one of the sleeves and grab the back of their head, using our forearm to block their shoulder and turn their head down and play with their balance. While we are doing this we are also bringing our knees and hooks in and getting back to guard. The goal isn’t really for the top guy to pass or the bottom guy to sweep, but to spend time in the skirmish, making the top guy spend more energy and effort than the bottom guy.

He repeated this drill except the bottom guy didn’t have wrist control and the top guy was almost all the way past your guard. You grabbed their shin and their knee with each hand and pushed and pulled at the same time to make their balance and movement unstable as you brought your knees back in and established some kind of guard.

Muscle memory drill

To end the seminar, Carlos had us all trot around in a big circle as he called out moves he had taught. You and your partner had to drop down and each do a rep of the move, then get up and keep jogging. He said Rigan made this up so people would get the moves in their muscle memory.

This was a great seminar and Carlos is a lot of fun to talk with so you should fly him out to teach or visit him in Dallas if you have a chance.