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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

01 December 2006

30/11/06 - BJJ

Class #8

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK – 30/11/2006

Finally got this wireless thing working at my parent's house, so can geek out on the internet a little earlier. Didn’t go to ZSK due to preparing for a meeting, which went well. I did check with Paddy on the Saturday beforehand, so I assume he took the class.

After the warm-up (did wheelbarrows with Dava's friend, whose name is said 'Nemoy' but spelt something like 'Nimar', if I understood him correctly), we went through a throw similar to the reap (if that’s the right term) we did in previous lessons during in drills up and down the room, but this time picking up a leg before taking out the other. Person A, gripping Person B’s left collar and right arm, pushes forward on Person B’s left side, in order to get them to step back with their left leg. Person A then steps in and picks up Person B’s right leg, putting it by Person A’s left hip. Person A then sweeps their foot round the back of Person B’s left leg and sweeps back against the back of Person B’s left knee, knocking them to the ground. As seems to keep happening, I was left without a partner, so went in a three with John (a fellow beginner I first met back on the 16th) and his bearded housemate, Rob.

Felipe then showed us the flower sweep. Person B controls both of Person A’s arms by gripping the elbow. Person B then isolates one arm, lets say Person A’s right, pushing that arm in towards Person B’s right, keeping a firm grip. Person B then pulls on that arm while simultaneously pulling Person A forward with their legs, aiming to take them off balance. This also opens up space so that Person B can slip their right hand round behind Person A’s left knee, grabbing hold. At the same time, Person B shifts their hips to their left (so opposite direction to the hand that’s grabbing the leg). Person B shoves their right leg up against Person A’s side and pushes, simultaneously pulling on Person A’s left knee, in order to drive them to the ground, aiming to end up in full mount.

That meant it was time for specific sparring again, dividing us into threes with the loser sitting out. I was with two more experienced guys, Mohammed from Belgium (who had six months of training behind him) and a Chinese guy who I think said he name was Bryant (at least that’s what it sounded like). I was easily swept by both of them, though on a couple of occasions I did at least manage to resist their submission attempts. I’m not getting caught in the collar choke anymore, but I think I’ve now got too defensive (blue belt Olly commented I should be trying to standing pass more), simply clinging on with two hands low on the gi. I tried my usual standing pass a few times, but had no luck, so thought I’d attempt to go low instead. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue how to do so – I remembered something I saw about putting a knee into my opponent’s tailbone, but that was as far as I got.

After about four or five rolls, I found myself chatting to Felipe. I’d been wondering about the correct pronunciation of his name – something I’m generally keen to get right, given that people mispronounce my own name so frequently – and found that it is ‘Fe-leep’ rather than ‘Fe-lee-peh’. Roger Gracie uses the first one in the Fightworks podcast I linked a while back, but it was good to get confirmation (yeah, I care about stuff like that ). Apparently, it’s a Brazilian thing rather than Portuguese, as in Portugal it would be ‘Fe-lee-peh’. Having chatted about travelling around South America (apparently Felipe is keen to look around the rest of his continent), also turned out he’s a Tolkien fan, especially the linguistics.

While this extended chat meant I was slacking a bit on the sparring, I’m glad I did, as I was able to observe while Ben asked Felipe about the finer points of a guard pass. Fortunately for me, it was the very same guardbreak I had failed to remember earlier. Person A is in Person B’s closed guard. Person A grips Person B’s trousers with both hand, jamming their left knee into Person B’s tailbone, drawing back their right knee. Pushing on Person B’s hip, Person A uses the leverage of the knee on the tailbone to open up Person B’s guard, then pushing round underneath Person B’s left leg to move into side control.

This marks my eighth lesson, so effectively I’ve been going for a month (if I’m dividing it up two lessons a week). I think I’ve definitely seen some improvement, as I started out just getting collar choked all the time, so I hope by two months I’ll be able to be a bit more proactive in sparring. Annoyingly, I’m not going to be able to make the social event on the 16th December, as I’d planned to do Christmassy stuff with my girlfriend (unless there is some way I can do both. Maybe take another day off work to spend more time with her? Doubtful, but worth looking into). Hopefully the club with do some more socialising next year – will have to see. Like last week, next class will be Saturday: I’m going to a party later on, so will meet my gf after training.

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