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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

03 March 2007

03/03/2007 - BJJ

Class #35

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 03/03/2007

Jude ran pretty much the same session as he did on Wednesday, with the exception that I think he replaced the scissor sweep on the knee with extra sparring time. I’m very glad we got to run through those sweeps again, as I didn’t feel I’d drilled them enough last lesson. Seeing them for a second time also meant I could observe different parts of the demonstration – e.g., I could concentrate on what Jude was doing with his legs.

An important point I’d not noticed earlier on the sit-up sweep is shrimping out before you raise up with the arm. I also realise that my reluctance to open my guard hampers me in executing the technique, as once you’ve got the arm, you need to open the guard and post your leg. Before class, I had decided I wanted to work on getting a high guard, keeping my training partner close to me. This would also help me drill in the necessity of using leg strength rather than arms.

Like before, Jude followed this up with the kimura , after which sparring began. Fortunately it was guard passing, training with one person rather than the ‘king of the hill’ line-up or weight groups. As has often been the case since I joined, I worked with Dominique. As against Nathan, I had success with the sit-up sweep, although I still need to improve the leg-based part of the technique. I found it less of a strain when rolling Dominique over, but I imagine that’s more to do with her weighing less than Nathan rather than my technique getting better.

I’d also like to work the kimura into that sweep more, which I was doing with Nathan but I don’t think did quite so much with Dominique today. The elevator sweep is something else I wanted to try, and that did eventually result in a sweep, but rather sloppy. In addition, I almost got a sweep but I’m not quite sure how – I had one leg hooked with my arm when Dominique stood up, and then all of a sudden she was falling towards me (although she managed to recover her position: I don’t think I’ve ever managed to fully sweep someone when they’re stood up, as I normally need to bring them back down first).

Given that I’m in class to learn rather than ‘win’, I stopped going for the sit-up after getting it a few times, instead trying for a triangle. I got my legs up into position, but Dominique was able to push through and go into side control (or something like that – she still had one arm under my leg). This is when Jude, who’d been standing in front of us, gave me some very handy advice. If I understood him correctly, the reason I was failing miserably on the triangle is because I wasn’t pushing against her hip with my foot first, making space for my triangle attempt. He showed me the difference if you just get your legs up and trapping their arm: if your partner turns to the other side and pushes forward, they can escape, which is what Dominique did. If I instead had put my foot in the way and against her hip, I could have moved on to raise my hips and secure the triangle.

Something slightly weird happened during a particular pass attempt of mine, when Dominique managed to grab both of my trousers legs mid-pass. That meant I had my right leg part of the way through, but still firmly in her grip. Probably what I should have done is go for a collar choke, as that should mean she’d have to free her arms, but as it was I managed to force my way into full mount. However, might not have been able to do that is I was against somebody bigger.

Passing went well, as with yesterday the pass using my shin to trap their leg worked best. I think I’m doing better at stopping people regaining their closed guard after opening it, but there are still a number of areas I need to work on. This was emphasised in my next spar, against the bigger and stronger Tam. I got into position on his leg a number of times, but he was able to stop me passing, at least initially. One thing I could try in that situation is this solution I saw in an Abhaya vid – forgot about it for most of the spar, then applied a scrappy version which resulted in getting a scarf hold on Tam.

Tam gave me a useful tip, which was that my head was too low when I attempted the pass, which enabled him to resist. Must remember to keep posture, as I have a bad habit of burying my head into the person on the bottom, or otherwise lean forward too much. I’m not sure if I managed to sweep Tam when he was in my guard, although I do recall trapping him in half-guard for a while. This time I did try to push his knee to regain guard, but didn’t manage to get it, so with a bit of wriggling Tam got through.

By this point I was seriously knackered. I was smothered in sweat, panting heavily and lost all strength in my arms. I was in position to get the armbar from guard just as time ran out, although Tam may well have escaped – I didn’t have his thumb to the ceiling yet. Still, was relieved when the beeper went, ready to go cool down. However, turned out there was to be a third spar – I fully expected to be forced to just lie there by my crappy cardio.

Fortunately for me, I had more energy remaining than I’d thought. I stayed on top against Anthony (a new guy, although he did six months at a now defunct Carlson Gracie place in Clapham a few years ago), managing to pass him each time. As before, the shin on his leg pass brought me success, although at one point he had my stuck in a half guard. If he hadn’t been so tired, might have managed to recover full guard, but due to his fatigue I was able to move through into mount.

Dominique sounded a bit down towards the end of our spar, feeling that she’d not done as well as she’d like (though that was before she countered my triangle and got the pass). Made me think that its worth keeping in mind if you’re feeling good about your sparring, could well mean your partner is feeling shitty about theirs. If at all possible, I’d like to make sparring with me a positive experience for training partners in class, which is why when I’m having repeated success, I’ll try to move on to something else. Means I get to work a greater variety of techniques, and hopefully reduces to possibility of my partner becoming bored or frustrated. Of course, that’s an rare position to be in: I’ll have to hope that when I move to the advanced class and get smashed every session, my partners will feel the same way.

My passing needs to be more proactive: on top I’m still finding myself in defensive mode for too long. Nevertheless, motivating to hear Jude say ‘good work’ to me at the end of class (which is when everyone shake’s everyone else’s hand). Then again, I felt utterly destroyed at the end of class, so maybe he just meant ‘well done for not collapsing into a puddle of your own sweat’.

I had to have a long sit down before getting changed and heading off to Birmingham, which in turn meant I could have a chat with Anthony. It makes a nice change from the usual mad rush on Wednesdays and Thursdays to reach Amersham sufficiently early that I can get some sleep.

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