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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

20 January 2007

20/01/2007 - BJJ

Class #23

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 20/01/2007

Having done the warm-up and the ten hip throws, Jude went through the basic standing pass and counters again. Unlike last lesson, it was just the one counter this time rather than three, but still good to work them. As I was drilling with Param (not sure on the spelling: Iranian name), he gave me a very useful tip, which was to keep my legs closer together. This would serve me well later in sparring, which Jude interspersed throughout class (hasn’t done that for a while, unless its just Saturdays he likes to really knacker people out).

As I’ve been telling myself repeatedly over the course of the past couple of weeks, I had to stand up to pass. So, forced myself to do so today, and it really paid off. For the first time, I was repeatedly passing during sparring, not just the odd lucky break. The way I kept getting it on Param (though he did have fingers strapped up, which might have made it easier), who I sparred twice (I think I passed him about three or four times in total, but might be exaggerating) was to stand-up, then when he pulled me down (which happens often), I drove my forearm firmly into his neck. This seemed to help loosen up his closed guard, meaning I was able to push off one of his knees, bring my leg through than gradually work the other leg free for mount. The second time (or it might have been third), I waited until he opened up his guard going for some move or other, then raised back and grabbed hold of his trousers, keeping my elbows in as I’d been instructed before. I wasn’t able to chuck them to the side, but I did create enough room to get my knee through (which has proved a very useful lesson from Marcio at the Brighton Throwdown), then as before working the other pass. On one of the passes, he went for a triangle, but left enough space that I could get my arm into the gap, open up his guard and pass round to side control.

I’m not sure if I managed to sweep him, but I did at least manage to try a series of sweeps rather than just doing one, failing and then getting into a stalemate. At one point, seeing his was about to push my leg free, I intentionally opened my guard and got one leg underneath. I wasn’t sure what to do next from there (haven’t checked out elevator sweep things yet), so basically just tried to use it to lever him up and past me. This didn’t go quite as planned, but did leave me in position to roll him over. I can’t quite remember what I did, which is annoying, so I’ll have to concentrate more carefully next time.

So I was now feeling pretty good about myself, until I went for my third and final spar with Hamid, the new guy I mentioned earlier. As before, I stood up, grabbed the gi and drove my forearm into his neck…and was then stopped by a purple belt (Steve, I think), who told me never to drop my head forward like that when standing or to grab the gi. So although it had worked for me against Param, it would appear it’s a bad habit to get into: Steve then demonstrated by getting me to try and stand up in his guard. What I should have been doing was standing with a straight back, gripping either the belt or the trousers, looking up.

I put this into practice against Hamid, and managed to pass his guard a few times by doing the orthodox standing pass over his leg. In short, stand up, push his leg off, trap a shin with the knee, switch base and go round for side control (Rowan Cunningham demonstrates here).

However, as Hamid had been watching, he was waiting for it, so put up plenty of resistance. He also managed to pass me when we switched round, though in slightly bizarre ways. At one point, I somehow ended up behind him with a leg through, but in such as way as it was clear I couldn’t do anything else and didn’t have control of Hamid, so reckoned that counted as him passing (after checking with Oli G). Not long before the end of class, Hamid was getting close to passing my guard, but I managed to get him into half-guard. Just as I did so, my leg calf cramped up – I thought I might have to stop due to the pain, but was able to shift my grip to a sort of triangle on his leg, stretching out my left leg. Not sure what I would do if I got cramp like that in competition – still a bit sore now, so hopefully it is just cramp.

I don’t think I got any sweeps against him, but again tried switching through my usual flower, sit-up and scissor, none of which are working too well for me. So bit of a difference in sparring this time round, as normally I might manage a sweep or two, but get nowhere near passing. So things to work on are better positioning for sweeps, being careful of keeping my feet closer together when trying to pass, and avoid leaning forward when standing up, also being careful of my grip. I’m hoping I’ve made a positive move forward with passing today, but then I felt like I’d had a breakthrough on sweeps a month ago, which unfortunately hasn’t lasted.

At some point during the spar (might have been when I accidentally poked him in the mouth), Hamid bled on me. That meant I had a blood polka-dot pattern across my right shoulder. So, when the class ended with all the students shaking each other’s hand, I kept having to tell people “not mine!” Hamid made me look rather more hard core than I am.

As I’d hoped, the Just 15 tickets are now valid on any train leaving London for Birmingham after 12:00, which means I didn’t have to wander round London until 19:00 like before. Next training should be ZSK on Tuesday – there is a taster session tomorrow, but I don’t think they need me for that as all the black belts should be coming up.

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