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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

17 November 2006

16/11/06 - BJJ

Class #4

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK – 16/11/2006

On Tuesday, I discovered some Fightworks podcasts linked by the Gracie Barra UK site related to the UK scene: this interesting interview with Jude Samuel (also talks about Europe in general), along with this earlier interview by Jude with Roger Gracie. Fitted in nicely, having been taught by Jude last session.

Moving ahead to Thursday, seems the Hammersmith & City line never runs on time: was late yet again today, but due to leaving work ridiculously early as usual, didn’t cause me any problems.

The one change to the warm-up today was a drill for pairs, in which Person A grabbed the back of Person B’s belt, who then ran up the room, dragging Person A (who was attempting to hold a firm base) behind them. I worked this with a guy I hadn’t met before, Dava (sp?), who had been to a couple more lessons than me. Then it was back to closed guard, but this time, Person A didn’t stand up. Instead, it was time to learn the triangle, for which I was paired up with another new training partner, John (like me, he was attending his fourth lesson).

Person A attempts to pass Person B’s guard. Person B raises their right leg, pushing their left leg off Person A’s hip, tightening it behind Person A’s neck, securing with their right leg. Next, Person B pulled down on their right shin (not the heel, ankle or foot: Felipe said that was a bad habit to get into, which could be harmful) and Person A’s head as necessary, squeezing for the triangle.

Felipe then showed us a variation in which Person B forces the triangle on Person A. First, Person B grabs Person A’s left arm and right collar, pulling down on the right collar while pushing back on the left arm, shifting their grip to the left arm and twisting their upper body to the right. The legs then came up again as Person A’s left arm was pulled across their body and under the neck, whereupon Person B could secure the triangle. Here's a vid of how Dean Lister does it, from a more MMA perspective.

As always, class finished with specific sparring. At first, I thought it was going to be the same as last week, with Person A going for a standing pass while Person B attempted a sweep. However, this lesson Person A was not allowed to stand: at most, they could lift one leg or sprawl. That made things much more difficult, at least for me. I’ve been shown a pass from that position before, way back when I popped down to Elite in 2004. From what I remember, the idea was to stay low, push down on the knee and slip past the guard, but I had no luck at all last time. 2006 wasn’t to prove much better, as I generally ended up straining against a leg, or got caught in a submission.

I managed to pass John’s guard once, shifting round to side control, and he managed the same on me – all in all, I think we were fairly even, unsurprising given that we’d both been doing BJJ for a similar length of time. I found it tougher with my next partner, Dava, who went to work on my neck. Several of my attempts to go for a triangle ended up with him twisting me over whilst crushing down onto my neck, the pain loosening any vague grip I might have achieved, then either getting mount or side control on me. I did manage to pass him once, though I’m not sure whether that was due to something I did or a mistake on his part.

Bullshido came to the rescue when I found myself in a triangle, as I remembered one of Aesopian’s pics, in which he spoke about a triangle escape achieved by grabbing the knee, rolling it to the ground, then pushing through. This just about worked for me: I didn’t exactly burst through Dava’s legs, but I did at least successfully resist the triangle and eventually escape. Can’t remember if that was when I managed to pass, but either way, Aeso definitely helped me out.

My final roll was with a significantly bigger guy, Simon, who had a lot more weight to use against me. I was ok when on top, working my through his attempts to elevate me (at least I think that was what he was trying to do, as he kept pushing to get his knee underneath me). Again, I managed to pass his guard once. With Simon on top, I fared much worse. I can’t even blame the weight difference, as he got me with a collar choke (my gi was loose, so he grabbed the left collar and used it to get the sub) and then later with an Americana (or is it called a kimura? Figure-4? Must get that terminology right).

In general, I think I probably should have tapped sooner in sparring today, although I don’t feel I’ve strayed too far from my initial determination to treat rolling as a learning exercise rather than a deadly serious competition. At least not yet: will have to be careful I don’t lose my focus on learning. I’m defending the collar chokes a bit better, but still getting caught in them. Wearing a gi takes some getting used to, especially keeping it tight so I don’t leave so much space for people to take advantage of.

Walking back to Westbourne Park, I chatted with Ben as usual, along with a Norwegian guy called Jan. Kay met us at the station, after we’d tried to tempt Jan onto Bullshido. Although he’d need to be careful, considering Jan has _ing _un in his background…

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