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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

08 March 2007

08/03/2007 - BJJ

Class #36

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 08/03/2007

British public transport is wank. I left loads of time to get to BJJ yesterday, but ended up having to change trains four times (three at the same damn station), only arriving in London at 7pm, far too late for BJJ. it transpires that a train has caught fire (seriously, WTF?) further down the line. The most bloody annoying part of it is that the twat who initially told us to change really didn’t need to, as there were bus replacements on that line for one fucking stop, whereas the line we got changed onto was completely buggered. AARRRRGGGH!!!

Anyway, bitching over. Training tonight was surprisingly short on techniques. Felipe began with a trip: grab a collar and an elbow, step to one side, bring the leg past, swing back and drop them to the ground. I was paired up with Chris again, who commented that I needed to use my hip to lock the leg as I pushed through. Was difficult to get it into one smooth motion, and I also could do with a little improvement on my side breakfall – was putting my elbow into it too much.

We then moved onto escape from mount. Person B straightens out one leg, then drives their elbow into Person A’s knee on the same side, pushing it outwards. Using that space to shrimp out, Person B brings their knee up and past, then gripping on an arm to prevent Person A readjusting, Person B shrimps out on the other side. This process of shrimping repeats until Person B has both legs through in order to regain mount. Important thing to note here is that Person B must keep their elbows tight into Person A’s knees, preventing them from moving up to a high mount.

Last technique of class was the similar escape from side control. The same principle of shrimping applied here too. Person B makes space with their forearms, then shrimps out away from Person A’s knees. Using that room, Person B aims to get a knee across, using the other foot to trap Person A’s leg and stop them simply moving back round into side control. As before, Person B then shrimps until they can get back to closed guard.

Sparring was ‘winner stays on’, as there were far too many people in class to do my preferred method of just sparring your training partner. I found myself repeatedly sparring the same three people: Ben, Vince and Chris. Ben repeatedly went for the armbar when on top, and I had trouble preventing him going for it. I think this is because he wasn’t leaning forward much, so I couldn’t get a good grip on his arm. I was able to resist the arm bar and come up to stack him, but the first time this happened I ended up rolling right over his head and off the mat. Fortunately I could see it coming, so didn’t land too awkwardly. Next time, I again managed to stop the armbar, but then got caught in a triangle. I think there I was too concerned with stopping his legs, so reached an arm back, which in retrospect was extremely stupid. I at least wasn’t far off getting the escape, but didn’t stay focused on Ben’s attack.

As I’ve mentioned before, this made me really want to find somebody to drill the armbar escape (immediately grab my other bicep with the arm that’s being isolated, stack them, gradually jerk out the arm, stay tight to the leg and push round for side control), over and over for a good long time. Hopefully they’ll be somebody who fancies it at the throwdown, or perhaps I can convince my gf – after all, shouldn’t cause her any pain.

Vince proved to be very good at getting back to guard – I don’t think anyone managed to stop him the entire roll. I should have asked him what I was doing wrong, so must remember if I end up rolling with him again next time. I think that at the moment, I’m tending to simply lean down and grab hold when in mount, which only serves to make it easier for them to upa me over. I did try staying upright and putting a hand in the collar, but that again merely led to an easy sweep. Position before submission!

I managed to get guard on Chris once, but had some trouble escaping his side control, which kept ending up as a scarf hold. This brought home to me the importance of trapping that leg with the side control escape, as otherwise he could simply transition to an equally dominant position. I wasn’t able to get any submissions on him from the top, though tried the Americana a few times. However, he had no problems pulling his arm out – again, I didn’t set it up, merely flailing at his wrist rather than isolating an arm first.

So, things to work on: aim for high mount by moving my knees up into the armpits, maintain posture so they can’t sweep me so easily, set up the submission before going for it and try to stay tighter with my mount. Leaning forward and grabbing them means I can sometimes maintain the mount for a little while, but doesn’t give me any submission options and opens me up for a sweep.

Also paused my direct debit for May (simple enough: let Pippa know at least a month in advance, and she’ll give you a form, where you note down your name, length of the pause and the reason, which in my case was “holiday from 1st May to end of the month”. That’s not the length of the holiday, but easiest way to pause), due to my holiday in Barbados and Dominica. It will be annoying to miss out on training, especially as the holiday is only 2 and a bit weeks long, but on the other hand I can go do some MMA instead. Perhaps F’s Freestyle or HSD Combat, but will have to see what looks appealing. If anyone has some recommendations on places in London I can easily drop into to try out a lesson (it definitely won’t be long-term, as I’m merely looking for a stop-gap until my BJJ restarts), please put up a comment.

Not spending the £90 that month will also mean I can at last book myself a private lesson, which should be awesome. Loads of things I want to improve, but I think I’ll probably focus on guard passing, sweeps, escaping mount and mount submissions, depending on how much time I end up having. Mount is perhaps more pressing, as I reckon I’m weaker in that position that in guard. Of course, as a beginner I’m weak in all positions, so it’s a matter of crap and really crap.

I’m off to Spain on Saturday, which means that as I’m getting back on Tuesday and therefore its not worth going back to Birmingham, I should be able to make an extra lesson. Very handy, as it will make up for the lesson missed due to shitty trains yesterday.

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