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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 February 2007

01/02/2007 - BJJ

Class #27

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK -01/02/2007

Today I had a chance to work kimura and Americana from side control, both of which I’ve failed miserably to ever get in sparring. It was also useful to get some general tips on side control, as when I’ve rolled from that position before, I’ve been at a loss what to do (except try and get mount).

For the Americana (if I’m getting it the right way round), Person A starts on top in side control, right arm underneath Person B’s arm, the other arm pressed against Person B’s head. Previously, I had thought that the idea in side control was to push a knee up against your opponent, but it would appear that its better to go up on your toes, as that pushes your weight down on top of them. Person A switches their base (so brings their right leg over their left, basing out with their right, knee raised). When doing this, you need to be careful not to let up the pressure of your weight, such as by leaning too far towards Person B’s head. Immediately after you’ve switched base and grabbed their wrist, return to the previous position. This will leave Person A with one arm still underneath Person B’s arm, with all of their bodyweight against Person B’s other arm. So, when Person A pushes it down, their other arm is already in position to grab their own wrist for the Americana. Here are a bunch of variations on the 'bent armlock' position (i.e., Americana and kimura) from side control, thanks to trusty ol YouTube.

For the kimura, it’s the other way round – their hand points down instead of up. The set-up Felipe showed us was if Person B managed to loop their hand round your neck while in side control, as opposed to having both arms beneath you. This was a slightly more awkward position, as this time when you switched base, you had to reach behind your own head to grab their wrist and push it down. I also found that I kept grabbing the wrong side of their wrist, so had to readjust my grasp in order to facilitate the kimura. Here's a vid of a rather different set-up, from Gustavo Machado's site.

Sparring was ‘winner-stays-on’ with everyone else in a line. I had no success at all underneath, my first spar (against a fairly stocky blond guy with a beard and long hair called James) ending with him easily pulling guard. I fared better against Newton, but kept going through the same process. I would drive an arm into his neck, keeping a knee up, then trying to shift round to get guard. He would go for an Americana, I would keep moving round or resist some other way (straighten out my arm, hold his collar), ending up with him bringing his legs round and me on my side. Each time I attempted to push his legs or move underneath him, but found myself returning to that same position. Eventually, while I could possibly have resisted for a fourth (fifth?) time, I relaxed as he went for the Americana (not that I ‘let’ him get it, as no doubt he could have forced his way through – I was especially knackered from being crushed, as he is considerably heavier).

Against the American guy, Jeff, I got caught in some bizarre choke, which I initially thought was a clock choke using my gi – I probably would have had to tap if he hadn’t ended up in mount while I was resisting. Turns out he was actually choking me by feeding a gi through my arm, if I understood him correctly – sounded like something Yrkoon9 mention a while back in his log. Huey was about to shift round over me when time expired: at first I thought he was going for the same thing as Jeff, but guess I’ll never know.

Generally speaking, I had trouble getting space to shrimp out and get into guard. I occasionally got half-guard, or a vague hold on a leg, but couldn’t work out how to sweep from there. Certainly much tougher than the last time we did side control sparring, where I was at least managing to get back to guard a few times. I also not sure if I’m getting the fine line between being pigheaded and working my resistance right – couple of times, especially against Newton, where I thought he was close to getting the submission on, so I could have tapped, but then I also thought I had a reasonable chance to escape.

I only went on top twice, one of which was the aforementioned brief spar against James. The second time was with Gary, who to my surprise I managed to get an Americana just as we’d drilled in class. I’m not sure how much he was resisting – seemed to go fairly smoothly – so perhaps he was tired from a previous spar. Still, was good to have at least that small bit of success.

I think I need to be more careful about where I’m putting my arms under side control. Whereas I should have been manoeuvring them to my opponent’s chest so I could push up and shrimp for guard, I was tending to slip an arm under their neck or even around their shoulder, which didn’t achieve anything except give them an opportunity for the Americana. I managed to be proactive on top, but then didn’t have much chance to work this as I spent most of rolling on the bottom.

I’m not going to make the Carlinhos seminar this time round, my option instead being some quality cheese at a university 80s night, replete with a Wham tribute band!

Well, I’m excited about it anyway. Hooray for George Michael! Or in this case, George Michael-a-like.

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