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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

10 January 2007

10/01/2007 - BJJ

Class #19

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 10/01/2007

I wimped out of ZSK yesterday, deciding to give myself another day to shake off the cold (Paddy confirmed he’d be there to take the first part of class, so no worries there). Seemed to work, as I felt ok for tonight’s BJJ class. After the warm-up, which wasn’t quite so intense as usual for Jude, we went through ten hip throws each, but only on the left side (presumably because Jude reckoned most people neglect that in favour of the right). As normal, I was with someone a fair bit heavier than myself, which helps me concentrate more on technique, as I’ve got no chance of throwing just with strength.

Jude moved on to a ‘self-defence’ drill, starting from the same manoeuvre Luciano showed us last week. Self defence isn’t something that especially interests me, as I treat BJJ purely as a sport, but Jude did say something useful about grips. When holding a sleeve, dig in your thumb and push through, aiming for a tight grip with the fingers. This should mean that the other person’s gi is pressed firmly against their arm, which provides you with much better control.

That was followed by an escape from scarf hold. Person B shrimps to the side to free their elbow from Person A’s grip, then sits up slightly, lightly gripping their own hand. This then enables Person B to bring their leg over Person A’s head, wrapping their other leg in front, then driving through to put Person A on their side. Person B then readjusts their legs, moving over Person A into mount.

My training partner Owen gave me a tip on bringing my leg right down to the floor, pressing my foot into the other person’s hip, which provides better control. At this point, Person A still has a hold on Person B’s head. To break it, Person B pushes their wrist into Person A’s throat, pushing with their other hand for additional force, then moves forward with their upper body. This breaks the grip, whereupon Person B grabs Person A’s arm, securing it for an armbar, stepping over with their far leg to swing down to a submission.

I can't see a video showing specifically that escape, so I'll post up this one by Rowan Cunningham. He demonstrates a bizarre looking armbar from this position, which even if it fails could get you their back.

The closest I can see to the escape we learned is this krav maga thingy (minus the stomp: we're grapplers, after all :p) - hopefully it at least gives you an idea of what I was trying to describe.

We must have spent a fair bit of time on those drills, as there wasn’t much time left for sparring. However, everyone was able to get in three minutes on top and on bottom. I was with Owen, a third stripe who also had prior experience, apparently. He dominated me from both positions, though I did at least manage to escape once – I’m not sure if that’s because he over-committed to an armbar attempt leaving me space, or if it was due to my technique, but still pleasing.

As always, I attempted scissor and sit-up sweeps along with the two passes I’ve learned before, none of which I managed successfully. I’m not sure what I did wrong with the sit-up sweep, as I had one side isolated and came up on the elbow, so I assume Owen must have realised what I was doing and adjusted his base accordingly. Could also have been the weight difference. With the scissor sweep, Owen was getting his arm in the way of the leg I was trying to press against his stomach, leaving me in open guard with no leverage. That also prevented me from going for the follow-up armbar, as I couldn’t kick my leg through. I also couldn’t get the flower sweep, going too slow and not dragging Owen off-balance – he was easily able to sit back and trap my arm under his leg.

My passing was equally poor, though I remembered to keep my grip lower for the tailbone pass and tried to dig my elbows in. At one point I almost had the space to put my knee in between, then shifted for double underhooks. However, again Owen could see what I was going for and got his legs into my arms. I wasn’t able to get my elbows in tight, so once again that’s something I need to work on. I tried to stand up more often and pull Owen off balance, but to no avail. Nevertheless, I’m glad I didn’t just end up in a stalemate as has happened so often before, though that’s largely due to Owen trying numerous different techniques on me, necessitating movement on my part.

Annoyingly, I wasn’t quick enough to ask for specific advice on what I did wrong when the sparring was over, so next time I must remember to inquire during sparring, in the pause as we restart. Should be training again tomorrow, then hopefully get my gf down to MMA on Saturday. Will have to wait and see...

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