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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

19 November 2006

18/11/06 - BJJ

Class #5

I had intended to go to a corridor reunion tonight, or alternately Rod's party at his place, but annoyingly couldn't make either. However, I could at least still make training, as that was earlier in the day at 2pm.

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Bruno Roger & Cesar Lima, London, UK – 18/11/2006

This is what I’ve found especially useful so far from the noobie-relevant threads in the DHS:

First Day Lesson
Fundamental 5
Maximizing what you get out of rolling
Protecting Yourself During Sparring
Training, Stagnation and Tapping

I’ve been saving these to my computer, but I’m always on the look-out for more good advice, of which there is plenty in the DHS. I also had a look through some of the more basic Abhaya vids Aesopian found on Google Video, especially the sweeps and passes: I hadn’t a clue what to do last time, as standing passes weren’t allowed, so decided I'd have a go at the legpin pass (or whatever its called: break their guard, put your left shin over their leg, kick your right leg behind and past you, swivel round into sidemount).

However, Felipe was in the Netherlands today, so instead two purple belts – Bruno and Cesar (I'm assuming Bruno Roger and Cesar Lima, going by the site)– took the class. Bruno went through the warm-up, with the added exercise of picking someone up and running with them (I paired up with a guy whose name was Del, I think). After the warm-up, Cesar took over and moved onto techniques.

Instead of the triangle that Felipe probably would have continued to drill from the previous lesson, Cesar showed us how to pull guard from a standing start. The first method was for Person B to simply jump on Person A and pull them down. As that was a little intimidating, Cesar focused on another method, which begins with Person B putting their right foot into Person A’s left hip, holding on to Person A’s left collar and right arm (though this ends up taking the back rather than guard, though Cesar also showed how you could get guard using this method). Person B then pulls Person A’s right arm down and to the side, while at the same time Person B shifts their hips round to the right. Person B wraps their left leg round Person A’s right leg, threading the leg through so as to also hook Person A’s left leg. Using that to knock Person A off balance and spin them forward, Person B then shifts grip to Person A’s belt and takes their back.

I was with a guy called Misja (I think: unusual name. I know there is a ‘j’ in it, but will probably have to ask him again next time I see him), who was wearing a swish black Atama gi. Despite his stripeless white belt, he seemed to have a certain amount of experience, or perhaps had simply listened closely in previous lessons. He gave me plenty of tips whilst drilling, so proved an excellent choice of partner.

The obvious next step after getting their back was to choke them out, so Cesar demonstrated a collar choke. Person B reaches round with the left arm over Person A’s left shoulder, getting a deep grip on their right collar. At the same time, Person B hooks their right arm under Person A’s right armpit, then reaches round behind Person A’s neck, secures a grip, then squeezes for the choke.

Having showed us how to pull guard (well, back mount, but it was initially about pulling guard), Cesar then ran through a single-leg takedown. If Person B goes for the left leg, they drive in with their left shoulder, reaching round with their left arm and grabbing their own right gi collar. At the same time, Person B wraps their right leg around Person A’s left leg, pushing forward to knock them down.

Cesar then added another step, as Person A will then normally reach with their left arm (apparently: at least they did for the purposes of this drill), whereupon Person B grabs it with their right arm. Switching Person A’s left arm to their own left arm (which is still underneath Person A’s left leg), Person B then reaches up with their right arm for Person A’s collar, aiming to get a deep grip. This is where the legpin pass I’d looked at earlier came in useful, as Person B then shifted their base (I think that’s the right term) by kicking round with their left leg, swivelling round into side mount.

Once we’d got that down, Cesar demonstrated the final part of the motion, where Person B (now in side mount) grabs Person A’s belt and drives their left knee into Person A’s belly, sprawling out with the right leg. Person B then brings the left leg over into full mount, gets a deep grip on Person A’s right collar with their left hand and left collar with his right hand (so Person B’s wrists are now crossed over Person A’s neck), then twisting their grip and leaning forward, pulls for the collar choke. Cesar quickly got us to drill a variation, where Person A bridges and rolls into Person B’s guard: the choke still works, you simply have to maintain your grip and pull Person A onto you.

Drilling over, it was time for sparring. I managed to do the jumping into guard with Misja once, but had little success other than that. At one point, I was stood in his open guard with a firm grip on both legs of his gi, but had no real idea what to do from there to pass. I also had an opportunity to try one of the Abhaya guard breaks, where you rise up on the right knee and straighten out your left leg at an angle in order to push Person A’s right knee down to the ground, but failed miserably. Misja eventually subbed me by effectively rear naked choking across my nose – I tapped from the pain.

Second sparring partner was a fairly new guy (2 lessons) called Nick, with whom I ended up in a stalemate. As he tried to take me down, I attempted to sprawl, sort of managed it, going for a guillotine at the same time (about the only sub I ever got to work during my brief spate of MMA lessons from 2004-2005), eventually pulling him into guard. However, I only had my right arm under and couldn’t get enough leverage from the gi, or my left arm over the top to grip my right, so Nick escaped, sitting in my closed guard. That’s where we stayed for the rest of the 3 minutes. Nick flailed with his arms sufficiently to prevent me getting any kind of grip, and I defended against his attempts to collar choke and Americana me.

Finally, I sparred Harry, who despite having been there for a few months had only made a few sessions due to breaking his nose (in _ing _un, surprisingly enough). Again, it was a stalemate, but we both had good chances. The first time round, I almost got an armbar, but messed up and Harry got his legs in the way. I suggested we reset, as we both had a firm grip and weren’t getting anywhere. Second time round, we struggled for a while until Harry got my arm into position for an Americana. I was able to resist, and passed his guard…but he still had my arm, so that wasn’t much help. I was forced to swivel into half guard to prevent the submission, where we stayed until Cesar called time. I was grabbing my own gi, my arm, my collar etc in order to prevent the sub, but perhaps I should have simply given in so we could have done something more productive. I was annoyed I couldn’t do anything from that side mount, which is probably why I got pig-headed in my resistance. Again, will have to avoid doing that in sparring, or its going to hamper my progress.

As there wasn’t a class afterwards, Cesar suggested anyone who wanted to keep going was free to carry on sparring. However, the puny muscles in my left arm were whining their objection after holding off Harry, plus my girlfriend was waiting for me in Brum, so I decided I’d wimp out and leave on time. Next training I can make will be on Thursday, as like last week I’m busy Wednesday, so will train Thursday and Saturday instead.

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