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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

14 December 2006

14/12/06 - BJJ

Class #13

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK – 14/12/2006

Unusual warm-up today, as Felipe went straight into drilling throws. First we did 10 hip throws, then 10 head throws, after which Felipe showed us the counter. This was basically to step to the side and then throw the other person – if they were going for a hip throw, you’d already have your arm in position for the head throw and vice versa. At least I think so: I’m especially terrible at throws.

Something else I proved to be very bad as was side control. Felipe demonstrated how to counter side control, which I found very complex – understanding moves from the guard seemed somehow easier. Person B bridges, then shrimps out, gripping the far side of Person A’s gi as they transition to go for Person A’s legs. Raising their far leg, Person B grabs round the back of Person A’s near leg, putting their own head on the far side. Driving forward with the legs and pushing towards the near side with their head, Person B moves into side control. Not sure if ‘near’ and ‘far’ are better than ‘left’ and ‘right’, but I’ll see if that helps me remember it more easily.

Next was getting the armbar from side control. Person A locks up Person B’s far arm, wrapping both their arms round, keeping their hips down (as my training partner, Dan, kept reminding me, because I wasn’t keeping my weight on him enough). Grabbing the near side of Person B’s gi down by their hips, Person A moves round to the near side until they're in a north-south position (which is the one where you’re facing up and they’re facing down, if I’ve got the terminology right on that). Person A then raises Person B’s near shoulder, in order to step their far leg over Person B’s neck, leaving their near leg underneath. This sets up the armbar, on which I kept forgetting to pinch my knees together, raising the hips to finish (A Korean instructor shows a vaguely similar method here, embedded below) . Ben mentioned a potentially easier armbar from side control, where you reach round for the near arm instead, lifting up for the armbar: will have to give that a go next time.

Felipe finished up class with a variation on specific sparring I last did a while ago, where everyone lines up against one wall, the first twelve getting ready to spar while the rest of class waits. As soon as someone wins (so the top person getting mount/submitting or the bottom person escaping), whoever is at the back of the line replaces the loser.

Needless to say, I found myself at the back of the line rather often. This did at least give me the opportunity to get someone’s name I hadn’t spoken to before – a big guy with a goatee (or was it just a moustache?) called Gary.

I completely forgot the two drills we’d just done and tensed up, unsure what to do from on top or on the bottom. I attempted an americana from the side control at one point on Jan, but didn’t get it, eventually being swept. From the bottom I was tending to get mounted. A third-stripe white, Will, was going fairly light, and remained relaxed as I switched to the opposite side control. That meant I was basically in the north-south position, wondering what I supposed to do next. I think Will was waiting to see if I’d do anything, then got bored and swept me. With Michael, an Australian guy (or perhaps Kiwi? Not too good with accents), I focused so much on resisting his americana attempt that I didn’t think to defend against mount, which he got easily.

Side control is clearly something I’ll have to do a lot of work on to improve, though I suppose this is the first time I’ve spent a whole class doing it. It might help when we’re doing the normal specific sparring, as then I’ll get the chance to try out escapes and the like continuously.

Next session will either be Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when my gf leaves to see her parents for christmas. Unfortunately the Academy is closing from 23rd December to 3rd January, which means I’ll miss out on a week and a bit of training. Hopefully I can get in four classes the preceding week to make up for it, but we’ll see.

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