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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

12 November 2006

11/11/2006 - BJJ

Class #3

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza & Jude Samuel, London, UK – 11/11/2006

Once again, I’m glad my father drilled punctuality into me from a young age, as it means I tend to leave loads of time when heading anywhere. The line from Amersham to Marylebone was down, so I had to get to Beaconsfield instead. Fortunately, I’d left at about 11:20, so that gave me loads of time to make it to Marylebone. Next thing that went wrong is that the Edgware Road entrance I used last time is closed on Saturdays: again, I was lucky, as the main entrance isn’t too far off, round the corner.

Eventually made it to class with about 30 mins to spare, the very loud kids session in progress. Presumably due to said loud kids, that class ran over, so the adult beginners started (I think) about 10 minutes late. Not that this mattered, as I was totally knackered by the end of the session as usual: could be that a few extra minutes were added on, but I forgot to check (yeah, I’m the kind of person that would want to know). Saw Dominique as I came in, who was there to bring her kids to class, but told me she wasn’t training herself today. There is a club competition on Sunday, so she’s saving her strength for that: bit soon for me after only one week of training, so I won’t be going tomorrow. Not to mention there’s a guinea pig to feed back in Brum!

Warm-up went as normal, going back to breakfalls and shrimping rather than throws, although that same old hip throw came up next. However, good thing that it did, as I clearly still need a lot of work on it. For the first time in drilling, I was paired up with a guy considerably bigger than me, called Diagul (if I heard him correctly, having asked for the spelling: apparently, its pronounced ‘Jergal’). He’d been coming for about a month, I think – not sure if English is his first language, judging by the accent, which may explain the lack of conversation. Nevertheless, seemed a nice enough guy, though I had real trouble throwing him. Kept on simply pulling him in front of me rather than getting him over my hip. I improved slightly later on, but still only getting one of his legs off the ground. Bleh.

As with the previous two lessons, the next drill was sweeping from the closed guard against a standing pass attempt (like this), then following through with the basic standing pass itself. This time, Felipe demonstrated the standing pass I’d been initially shown by Olly, in which you reach back with your arm and take one leg rather than two, then maintaining downwards pressure, sprawl and circle round until you can quickly push round the leg past your head, making sure to leave as little space as possible, finishing in side control. Another useful tip was to pull your arm right back, still gripping the gi, in order to avoid the triangle. I found this much easier than the two-leg version from Wednesday and Thursday. In fact, so much easier that I had the small victory of finally passing someone’s guard, though Diagul otherwise dominated me from both his guard and on top.

Switching partners, I then found myself against the slightly less heavily built but taller Milos, who I presume has been doing it a little longer as he had one stripe. I got absolutely nowhere with him, but as soon as I asked him for a tip on resisting the collar choke – which I still keep finding myself in – he went into teacher mode and gave me lots of good advice. First he said I should grip both collars in one hand. He also noted that I need to defend my neck more carefully (though I may have misunderstood him on this: think he said by putting my hands nearer my neck, but not sure). Keeping good posture was another pointer, which should aid me in resisting those collar chokes. He also coached me through a pass, and kept talking throughout. I had a go at landing a triangle, but stopped once I realised I was getting nowhere and simply wasting energy, using strength rather than technique. Think Milos would have preferred if I’d continued straining, but I’ve no desire to let pride stop me getting something more useful out of rolling.

Finally I rolled with a woman called Katie, who gave me another new experience in that she was the first person I’d sparred who had less experience than me (albeit only slightly: this was her first lesson and my third). I passed her guard easily the first few times, so the fourth time, decided that was getting rather repetitive and not especially helpful for her, so simply tried to resist her sweep instead (which she got). Despite being a beginner, she was able to give me some tips on the collar choke and sweeping, so clearly she was paying close attention that class and during her intro session. Felipe must have gone at some point, as another black belt had taken over (Jude Samuel, I’m guessing, but maybe not). He came up to Katie and I and talked her through a collar choke, which made her a bit harder to pass: at one point, I had her leg squashed against her face while she was still holding onto my collar. I couldn’t break her grip, so we let go and started over. Also managed to land a sloppy triangle, but I think she only eventually tapped due to discomfort rather than getting choke.

Next time I’ll be training will be on Thursday, due to aforementioned Warwick Open Day. Tonight, I’m off to an uni friend’s birthday party, so typing this up at my sister’s, who very handily lives in London and often lets me stay round. I’m all mapped up, so time for the drinking, which appropriately is at a Brazilian bar.

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