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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

11 January 2007

11/01/2007 - BJJ

Class #20

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 11/01/2007

No Felipe again today, so he must still be on holiday, or perhaps just getting back into it slowly. That meant he missed the dubious pleasure of the Big Brother’s Big Mouth camera stalking around the Academy looking for potential interviewees. Olly popped his rib warming up for the advanced class, so as I came out of the changing rooms, I saw him preparing for his fifteen minutes of fame. The TV crew then looked over at Jan and I, asking if we watched Big Brother, to which we both responded with furious head-shaking: there was no way I was going in front of that camera voluntarily! Mungkorn Dam had no such qualms, doing pretty much exactly what he said he was going to do in his earlier post on Bullshido. I thought he came off as quite confident, sticking to his line of “I think Big Brother is lowest common denominator entertainment, like watching your neighbour’s through the curtains.” Also note Will's blog entry. I got to see the episode a few days later (or was it the day after?), which of course went up on YouTube immediately:

Amidst the cables and prepared answers (“I think Jade Goody is going to win” was frequently pushed by the TV crew, for some reason), there was still a BJJ class going on. After three lessons of it, the instructor let up on the ‘self defence’ drills, instead concentrating on how to escape from scarf hold. Apparently, Jude has been through three this week, not just the one I saw last night. The first variation he demonstrated was for Person B to push their trapped elbow to the floor, bringing the other arm round to grip the wrist. Instead of sitting up and wrapping the leg round, Person B grabbed Person A’s gi trouser, shifting round behind in order to get a hook in. Using this to leverage Person A round, Person B reached in over Person A’s should to get a deep grip on the collar, in preparation for a choke. Person B then rolled Person A on top of them facing up, bringing their other arm under Person A’s armpit to secure the choke on their other collar.

This was followed by the escape from last lesson (which I found much simpler, not only because I’d done it the class before), then finally a third variation. The scenario for that one was Person A managing to get both their legs and head out of reach, negating the two previous escapes. Instead, Person B brings their arms round to Person A’s far leg, clasping their hands in order to drive a knuckle into Person A’s floating rib. At the same time, Person B gets as close behind Person A as they can, slipping a leg tight into Person A’s hip. The pain from pressing the floating rib is supposed to get Person A to raise their hips, so that Person B can swing them over onto their side, taking mount then performing the same armbar as last session's escape. However, I found this difficult: despite apparently getting the knuckle into the right place, I was still straining to get my training partner over. Jan weighs about ten kilograms more than me, which seemed to make a noticeable difference. Rowan Cunningham shows the same technique here.

Jude took care to carefully demonstrate the armbar, as he said too many of us were leaving space as we flopped down for a submission. The correct way was to keep tight, using an arm for balance, meaning that Person B could drop down into an armbar but remain tight to Person A’s shoulder.

I wasn’t able to get anything on Jan during specific sparring, which I spent in guard. As usual I couldn’t find the space for a scissor sweep, and the sit-up sweep failed even more miserably than usual. As I came up, Jan anticipated it, and I ended up twisted to the side, almost getting passed in the process. Talking to him later, Jan thought I was going for an armbar, but either way, it was telegraphed. I think what I need to do is better set up the sweep, perhaps with an attempted kimura or something. “Position before submission”, or in this case, the rather less catchy “Position before…sweep”.

Next up was someone who appeared to have a reasonable bit of experience (I didn’t notice what stripe), who I think was called Huey, however that should be spelt. He had little trouble sweeping me, at one point getting a scissor (or at least that’s what he said it was when I asked later: I remember him getting a leg wrapped behind mine, which is either a variation or perhaps a different sweep). I was at least able to resist his armbar attempt, rising up and freeing my arm, though he had my arm fairly straightened out. I was confident I could get it free, as I had my other arm in position, but it was a fine line between trying out an escape and being dangerously pig-headed about not tapping (something I’m very keen to avoid, as I don’t fancy being out of training with a busted elbow). Though Huey then got me in a triangle instead, I felt I was improving on the armbar escape.

I had a second opportunity against my final partner, Jon, who has been training about as long as me. We had a bit of a struggle, until Jon attempted an armbar. I was ready for it, getting both my arms inside his legs, then escaped and moved round into side control. I fared less well trying the tailbone pass: though I remembered to dig my elbows into his inner thigh, I pulled my arms in too far and too close. This meant I effectively put myself into position for Jon to sweep me.

I’m hoping to get down to F’s Freestyle on Saturday to try out the MMA class there – will see if I can convince my gf to come down. The TV crew caused the session to run over half an hour, meaning I was a bit late for my lift. Still, will be interesting to see how much of the footage the Big Brother editors use: real shame Mungkorn's Bullshido t-shirt didn’t arrive in time for television stardom.

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