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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

01 March 2007

01/03/2007 - BJJ

Class #34


Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 01/03/2007

I didn’t get the chance to drill the scissor and sit-up as I’d hoped today, but instead I was surprised to see Felipe go through the exact same sweep I’d unsuccessfully tried on Dominique yesterday. Not sure what it’s called, but I’ll refer to it as the standing guard sweep. When Person A stands up to pass, Person B hooks an arm around Person A’s leg, gripping their own collar (an important detail I missed yesterday). They then push up off their other arm, drive their hips into their opponent and attempt to knock Person A to the ground. Here's the Paulo Guillobel video I saw a few days ago, which starts with the same technique.



It seems a difficult sweep to get, as in drilling the person standing generally had to let their partner knock them down rather than being forced to do so through technique. Then again, when drilling you’re expecting it, so I assume this sweep is one that needs the right timing, such as when your opponent is just about to pass and perhaps has their feet close together, or has overbalanced for some reason. That’s just conjecture on my part, though.

I preferred the follow up, an armbar from standing guard. When Person A successfully resists the sweep attempt, Person B grabs their arm (which would normally be gripping Person B’s collar in preparation for a pass). Pulling down and across, Person B walks their guard up high on Person A’s back. At the same time, they need to keep their hips raised so Person A can’t pull out the arm, and also maintain their grip on Person A’s leg, in order to improve control. Once Person B has achieved a sufficiently high guard, they swivel and bring the leg round, staying tight on Person A’s back, then go for the armbar.

Chris reminded me once again how good a training partner he is, constantly providing useful tips. He also always provides the right level of resistant to pick up my mistakes: in this case, I kept forgetting to keep my hips raised up, meaning he could pull his arm out. If I was with somebody who ignored my mistake, then I’d end up using sloppy technique in sparring and have no chance of getting the sub (presuming I found myself in position to go for it).

Sparring went pretty well for me today, as IIRC, I managed to sweep or pass consistently. However, my technique was a bit crappy, and I get the impression that there was probably some simple counter to what I was doing, especially as I wasn’t doing the motion right. Sparring was initially split into weight groups, which I definitely prefer to king of the hill, with my first spar turning out to be a long one. I was with a guy called Jonathan I’ve not sparred before, who was making all the attacks at first. With a bit of wriggling and pushing I was able to resist his attempts at collar chokes and sit-up sweeps, but not able to do much more than that. When I finally picked my moment to stand up, he unsurprisingly went for the sweeps we’d just been shown. However, I had little trouble maintaining my base, and eventually got control of his leg, trapped it with my shin and passed to side control. Getting the pass is always nice, but I really need to stop getting stuck in these long wars of attrition and be more proactive. That old fear of standing up is still lingering, so looks like I have a bit more work to do before I can overcome it after all.

I had to sit out for a bit before my next spar, as my left foot had completely cramped up. Once that relented, I had a similar roll against Anne, although this time I stood up sooner. With Del, I managed to turn him over from underneath - I think from a failed kimura attempt, but not sure. Whichever, I ended up in a sort of side control (he was turned to his side with an arm round my neck), but as Del is one of the more aggressively competitive members of class, he wasn’t keen to stop. However, as its specific sparring, getting on top from having been on the bottom signalled the end point.

Sparring then switched to just working with one person, which for me turned out to be Nathan, who I’ve sparred a number of times now. I had a chance to work my open guard as he tried to pass, seeing how my control was if I had one leg in, or both legs around his inner thighs. Seemed to function ok, but on the other hand we were both pretty knackered, so he may have been able to easily clear my legs if he’d been fresher. I found success in keeping him close with my legs, then going for a kimura on his arm. I didn’t get the kimura, but I did keep ending up with a solid grip on his arm. Coupled with my firm lock around his back, this meant I had enough control that I could execute a sit-up sweep, albeit poorly. The reason it was especially poor is because I was exerting a lot of effort to put him on his back – I’m definitely missing a step of the sweep, possibly not isolating his supporting leg enough. I swept like this several times in the course of our spar, but my technique was crappy, so needs plenty of work.

Success in passing, as before, mainly came from trapping a leg with me knee. I need to improve my ability to force the guard open, because at the moment I’m normally getting the pass when they choose to relax their guard. While that works too, I’d rather be using good technique on my part as opposed to waiting for them to make a mistake.

My cardio sucks arse, as I was completely knackered during sparring. I’m clearly going have to really improve before I have a hope of making it through an advanced class, as at present I’ll simply drown in my own sweat. Another thing that annoyed me, totally unrelated to class, is that I’ve missed the train I wanted to get twice now. Need to start taking the bus instead of walking to the station!

Still, can’t pretend it isn’t satisfying to get lots of passes and sweeps in sparring, even if the technique wasn’t anywhere near as polished as I’d like. Something else that pleases me is a confirmation of the rumour I heard about RGA moving to a new location. Felipe was talking about going to a bigger venue next year, when we’d be able to have more classes due to a split level mat, with two running concurrently. If I understood him correctly, the plan is to have beginner (up to third stripe white), intermediate (third stripe white and blues) and advanced (senior blues and up), which sounds promising.

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