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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

24 November 2006

23/11/06 - BJJ

Class #6

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK – 23/11/2006

Chatted to Kay and then Jan before the lesson started, having got there with a good 45 mins to spare. After the warm-up, it was time to partner up and practice falling back and coming up guarding. There was an odd number of people, so I got left on my own, but Felipe said that was ok as it wasn’t really necessary to have two for the exercise. I also managed to do it wrong, getting up going forwards rather than backwards, but Olly (the blue belt guy who has posted on Bullshido before) was fortunately there to correct.

Next we worked on a double leg takedown into side mount. I had trouble with this, as it was basically a throw: Person A, gripping Person B’s right collar and left arm, lifts up their own arms then pulls Person B in close. At the same time, Person A dips down under Person B’s right arm, dropping to grab the back of the knees. Shifting position with their legs. Person A crouches in front of Person B, back straight. Lifting up with the legs, Person A picks up Person B, then driving with the head, turns them to the right and drops into side control.

I’m small and weedy, so I always have trouble when it comes to picking people up: pretty much everyone is going to be heavier than I am, my partner on this occasion being Olly (not the blue belt I mentioned earlier), who had about 20kg on me. First I took too much strain on my back, as my posture was bad. Once Felipe corrected me, I still had trouble picking up and dropping – instead, I picked up and collapsed forward. Not too graceful, but at least a small improvement on my first attempts.

Then it was time for armbar from guard. Person B isolates…let’s say the left arm, grabbing the forearm with their left arm and around the elbow with their right arm, pushing Person A’s arm towards Person B’s left. Then Person B put’s their right leg up on Person A’s left knee, keeping it tight to Person A’s left shoulder. Person B pushes off with their right leg, swivelling their hips towards the right. Then Person B uses their left leg to push Person A off balance, aiming to get their left leg on Person A’s back. At the same time, Person B move’s their right leg up by Person A’s head, then secures the armbar.

I had some difficulty pushing sufficiently to get Olly off-balance – he, on the other, easily knocked me to the floor. Still, I got the position, even if he was vaguely upright. Olly proved another helpful partner, coaching me through the double-leg and also giving me advice on the armbar: as soon as people see you’re new, they’re happy to help, which is another point in the Roger Gracie Academy’s favour.

After that, Felipe handily showed us the armbar escape. As Person B attempted to shift their legs round to get the armbar on Person A’s right arm, Person A grabs their own right bicep with their left arm, then grips Person B’s left knee with their right arm. Even better if Person A can manage to get the right arm behind Person B’s left knee, but that takes quicker reactions. Once Person A has that grip, they stand up and stack Person B, gradually jerking their right arm out of Person B’s grip. Once free, Person A can press down and sprawl round, eventually passing Person B’s guard and getting side mount. Dave Camarillo shows it like this.

As usual, we then went on to specific sparring, Person A in Person B’s guard. Olly dominated me from both positions: if I was going to take something positive from the spar, it would be that I got somewhere near to reversing him a couple of times. The first one wasn’t especially near, as I tried to loop my legs round his head from behind, while attempting to slip out from his legs. Didn’t work, but it at least delayed his pass. Also tried to upa a few times, but need to practice that technique more – I managed to unbalance him, but not enough to push through and go into his guard. Finally, I got out of a few submission attempts, but it was the usual wriggling kind of thing rather than anything especially technical, so not much I can take to build on.

Felipe then lined everyone against one wall. Taking five people from the start, he told them to go out on the mat, after which another five would go into their guard. If someone was passed, swept or submitted, they went to the back of the line, whoever successfully applied their technique staying where they were. I first sparred with a tall guy called Sam (who I don’t think anyone managed to pass), who got me in a triangle. I tried the one standing guard pass that has worked for me in the past, but no luck – I get to my legs, but then normally get pulled down via my collar. Sam also grabbed me legs to stop me moving round. Finally I rolled with Olly again, where it went pretty much the same way as before.

So, clearly I need to work that standing pass, as at the moment it tends to result in me getting pulled down and collar choked. I’m probably being too slow, and no doubt my technique is bad too. The pushing their knee off my leg thing I tried last session hasn’t been too successful either, as again I’m a bit slow, so they have plenty of time to knock me off balance or grab my leg.

As with last week, next training will be on Saturday (although my gf just texted me and wants me to come up today as she's ill: hopefully she'll get better fast, but if not, then will have to try and get extra training in some other time). The skin on my knuckle still hasn’t grown back from ZSK (my own stupid fault for not wearing gloves because I was rushing), and I think I also managed to cut my lip (various splotches of blood on my gi from where I touched my mouth). Sam gave me a solid whack on the left side of my head as he ground the triangle in, so my ear is still a bit sore, as is the rear left part of my skull. Fortunately not had any major injuries so far, which I’m hoping to avoid: the judo one was really irritating!

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