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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

07 December 2006

07/12/06 - BJJ

Class #11

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK – 07/12/2006

Came out of the session feeling great today: had some success in sparring, chatted to a guy I hadn’t talked to before (Mike, a big South African), and might have managed to recruit another Brighton Throwdown attendee.

Lesson started by working on the double-leg takedown again, although we only got to the lifting stage. After that, Felipe went through the counter, which was fairly simple. Person A sprawls as Person B shoots for the right leg. At the same time, Person A thrusts their right arm under Person B’s neck and their left arm around underneath Person B’s right armpit (underhook?), gripping hands together. Pushing down and sprawling back, Person A drives Person B to their knees. Felipe then added on moving round Person B, switching to a deep grip on each collar with both hands, going underneath Person B’s armpits again (double underhooks? Or is that something else?). Once that’s secured, Person A does a shoulder roll over the top of Person B, ending up with Person B on their back atop Person A. Person A then shifts grips again for the rear naked choke/mata leo.

John and I occasionally overbalanced, meaning that Person B shifted to the side, making the RNC choke more difficult. I also made a mistake with my arm positioning, grabbing my elbow sleeve rather than bicep – as Felipe explained, this made it much easier for Person B to grab my arm and pull it downwards.

Then it was time for specific sparring, from a position I’ve not experienced before. Person B started on all fours curled up (turtling?), while Person A got into the same position as the sprawl from before. The aim was for Person A to get Person B’s back, while Person B had to escape (which could be moving into guard, reversing, etc). It was mostly a stalemate between John and I, though I think he might have slightly got the better of it – I think I got his back once, but not sure. Oli gave me some useful tips about being on top, mainly that I need to keep my legs right back out of the way. At one point I attempted to go for the back while John still had hold of one of my legs, which prompted the comment.

Next up was another guy with roughly the same experience level as me, who I think was either an Aussie or Kiwi, called Paul. He very swiftly took my back the first time, after which it became pretty equal. I managed to get to guard a couple of times, and also ended up in mount later on. However, I’m sure that was just because we were both noobs – we got to a very weird position in which I had my right arm behind my head gripping Paul’s collar, while he was trying to get my back. The first time that happened, I was able to twist round into side control and then mount, but the second time Paul got the better of me. I tried gripping his belt, which John had used against me, which appeared relatively effective in stopping Paul spinning and taking my back as easily as he managed the first time. Not much use for no-gi, of course, and I’m not certain if its an acceptable thing to do in sparring: is the belt off-limits for grips like that, or can you basically yank away as much as you want? Will have to double check, as I don’t want to get into bad habits, even if I only tried it briefly.

Finally, I sparred Indra, although this time one person started in mount. I wasn’t overly active in mount, just trying to hold my position – I probably should have tried to move up into a higher mount and go for a submission. I took the opportunity to try and see how to work my hooks from mount, and also seeing if pressure on Indra’s neck would enable me to re-establish position. That worked a couple of times, but she eventually managed to sweep me after a prolonged stalemate. I did much better when mounted, which surprised me: last time I got stuck in mount (which would have been way back in my last MMA class in what used to be HSD in Harrow) I was helpless. This time, I remembered to keep my elbows in, and tried to upa at every opportunity. I got the sweep where you grab their arm and sit up to the side once or twice, but mainly managed to push round into Indra’s guard each time she went for the armbar from mount. I’m sure there were some mitigating circumstances – could be she doesn’t work that sub often, perhaps she was tired from the previous spar, maybe she was going light – but it still made me happy to manage to repeatedly escape. When Indra asked Felipe to come over to work out what she was doing wrong, I think he established the problem was that Indra wasn’t putting her arm down in order to swivel for the armbar, and also didn’t slow down and re-establish mount position when overbalanced. Not sure, though.

I had a chat with Oli after the session, who said he probably can’t make the TD, so as Indra was standing there at the time, I took the opportunity to ask if she would be up for it. Indra seemed keen, so I gave her the details for the Throwdown thread and my email: hopefully she can make it. Also inquired about rash guards, as I’ve been getting rashes on my upper arms. I could just toughen up, but I quite like the idea of a plain rash guard – would be useful for other sports too, as I hate getting sweaty. In the changing rooms, Gary mentioned that he’d been going along to the Farringdon class held at Vie Gym (which partly explains why he swept and passed me with such ease last time we sparred. Apparently, they drilled sweeps continuously for most of the class when he went, and there were only four people there, so got close attention from seniors). Definitely sounds worth checking out, so I might give it a go when I’ve got a week or two off work round Christmas.

Looking forward to the Brighton TD, which should hopefully have a good BJJ attendance. Also always enjoy putting faces to names, not to mention drinking with said faces!

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