Saturday lunchtime class only consisted of a bluebelt, myself and three of the very new guys.
The threesome were taken to one side to work on guard passing and some basic attacks from guard.
We were introduced to Z-guard. I'd only seen in in pictures and seeing I'm busy with plenty of other guard types which I have yet to master, I had never given it much of a second look. So we worked on the basic position and what it's control points are. It is really a subset of halfguard, and a pretty open version. The leg that's across the belly is in certain danger of leg attacks, so that's something to be mindful of.
We started learning a sweep. Say my partner is kneeling in front of me. I have Z-guard on him with my right hip on the floor, my right leg hooked behind his right knee and my left shin across his belly with me left foot on his right hip. I need to grab his left sleeve with my left hand so he can't post. I reach for his left pant leg with my right hand, so I can stop him from bracing out. Using my left hook against his right hip pushing to his left (the way I'm facing) and my right leg to pull his right leg to his right, I unbalance him to his left. This felt a bit awkward at first, and it took a few reps to get the hang of it.
Next we learned that if he braces with his left hand, we can attack with a figure four armlock. To start that, I need to grab his left wrist with my right hand to secure it. I need to shoot my left leg through (straighten it), so my knee is no longer between him and myself. At the same time, I sit up into him, to attach my left shoulder to his left shoulder and reach over with my left arm. This allows me then to fall back and as I do that, I grab my right wrist with my left for a figure four.
Then we were shown two variations of an arm drag to get to the back. One was a basic arm drag. I grab his right sleeve with my left, cup under his bicep with my right, pull and attach myself to his right shoulder and go for a seatbelt grip. The second variation is for where he has a grip with his right arm or he is leaning into me hard. I grab his right sleeve with me left hand, push him up with my right and insert my knee into the crook of his right elbow. Holding onto his sleeve, I can use my knee to push his arm away from his body. This creates a gap under his armpit. Into this gap, I push my right hand. I pull up with my right while using my shin and my left arm to elevate his right arm. Then I straighten my legs and duck under his arm to get his back. That sounds complicated, but is actually quite easy to do.
The rest of the class, we took turns from Z-guard, trying for the sweep, the armlock or one of the armdrags.
I've found myself in Z-guard a few times by accident, usually when someone was starting to pass and I gut my shin across. While I don't think I'm ready to successfully implement a Z-guard game, it gives me a few options if I'm in that position. If nothing else, I can threaten my opponent, so he will have less chance to pass my guard, and it might open something up. But I'll give it a crack, as I think the armdrag might work on some of the bigger folks, and the open guard is something I want to spend more time with anyway.