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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

07 April 2007

07/04/2007 - BJJ

Class #49


Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Helio Perreira, London, UK - 07/04/2007

Good session for me today, as I both learned some useful tips in drilling and had a fair bit of success in sparring. Jude, Felipe and Maurição were all away, so I was taught by Helio (which sounds kind of cool, although this is the rather younger Helio Perreira, not a certain elderly gentlemen who shares his first name ). He’s one of the brown belts at RGA.

Helio went through a throw I’ve never seen before, progressing to an even more complicated way to follow it up with mount. For the throw, Person A has usual grip (holding one elbow and the opposite collar), then steps back on their right (I had a bit of trouble with the coordination, and when Helio showed me he seemed to be taking a small half-step with his other foot first: that helped with the technique, but I may have understood him incorrectly). Immediately after, Person A then wraps the same foot they stepped back with around the heel of Person B’s leading foot. At the same time, Person A pushes forward and down hard on the right collar of Person B’s gi jacket, right over their shoulder, which makes it easier to reach down and lift up the trapped foot. To finish, Person A drives forward, dropping the now unsteady Person B to the ground.

This is followed up by a move into knee on belly. Once Person B has dropped, Person A maintains their grip on Person B’s arm and collar, using that to pull them in close. Person A then puts the knee nearest Person B’s legs into Person B’s stomach, keeping a good base with a straight back and head up. The scenario we used was that Person B had managed to get a grip on Person A’s belt, stopping them pushing straight through into mount. So, instead Person A brings their other leg over Person B’s head (meaning that leg which was on the belly instead posts a foot by Person B’s head), then drops their hips into Person B, keeping tight. To move into full side control, Person A also locks up the far arm, trapping it under their elbow and gripping Person B’s belt with the hand of that same arm.

Next, you transition to mount. This begins by switching your base (bringing one leg under the other), so that you are now facing Person B’s knees, gripping their arm across your stomach, keeping your weight down. Importantly, you are also obscuring Person B’s view. If they have their arm by their side, you need to remove that – Helio’s suggestion was to use your bottom leg to hook round that arm, then swing it right back behind you, meaning that you could then move forward and get your hips to the floor, pushing back to create more space. Person B will normally have a leg crossed on top of the other to prevent mount, so one way of getting past that leg is to grab your own foot and bring it in tight, effectively putting your foot into position by hand. Helio also noted that as you come over for mount, secure your foot against their far thigh to stop them getting you into half-guard. Finally, take the mounted position, then pull yourself up on their head so that you’re sat on their chest.

All kinda complex, but my drilling partner Jerome was helpful, and Helio also came over to correct my technique, so I just about got it in the end. Another major point Helio made was correct footwork: you should always mirror the other person, meaning that in effect its like dancing (they step back with their right means that you step forward with your left, and so on). The reason is that if you don’t you’re giving space to your opponent for them to try trips and throws, like the hip throw. Gives me an idea, as my gf is keen to have another go at ballroom dancing, which I really didn’t enjoy much last time we tried it. However, if I can get something useful from it – even if its just footwork for takedowns – then that would make it appealing. Also, perhaps I could try and wrangle something like “I’ll go to the dancing class if you come with me to that MMA class down the road,” which would be awesome.

Sparring was guard passage today – next time we do side control, I need to remember to check scarf hold escapes, as I forgot to remind myself yesterday that I keep finding myself in that position when on the bottom. That’s for another lesson: this class, I managed to pass and sweep Jerome, mainly by the usual shin over the knee pass, although he almost got me in half-guard at one point. I was generally much happier about passing today, because for the first time ever I felt I had a number of options I could try, rather than just being stuck at going for either shin over knee or tailbone. The first video (Episode 1 under March: looks a whole lot flashier since I last clicked the link!) off BJ Penn’s site was useful, not so much because I was able to use that pass, but more because the principle of twisting to one side and driving your hip into your opponent’s crossed ankles seemed to help. However, I did have an unfair advantage, because while I’m small, I’m still a fully grown adult. Jerome is an orange belt from the juniors class, so no doubt will be packing on plenty of muscle and size in the coming years.

My next and final partner of today was Rohit, who last time I sparred him pretty much dominated me. I seem to have improved since then, as I managed to get both sweeps and passes, though not as crisply as I'd like. He is around 10kg heavier than me, so that's gratifying, as I have been wondering if when I get sweeps and passes against people smaller than me (of which there are very few at RGA), its more due to disparity in size rather than any skill on my part.

Again, I was able to try a wider variety of passes this time, and I was especially pleased that I had an opportunity to try the double underhook pass. Finding at one point during the spar that I could get both arms out from Rohit’s guard and around his legs, I remembered to lock up, then drag him backwards and up. This meant I could stack him, lift up his hip and go for the pass. I was a bit sloppy on the last point, as I had to struggle a bit to get round into side control, so I still need to work on staying tight and securing my position before moving round. He also almost recovered guard, so that’s something else I need to watch – I managed to get an arm in to stop his knee coming through.


I was also quite pleased with sweeps, as I got a chance to use the push sweep. I can see why Aesopian calls that the ‘stupid simple sweep’, as the basic technique is very straightforward – grab an arm and collar, get a shin into their stomach, push their knee with your foot, then roll over into mount. I didn’t do it quite right, as like with the pass, I had to scramble a bit for side control, but got round eventually. I think what I did wrong there was fail to maintain a tight grip on his arm and collar as he went over, meaning that I didn’t quite roll with him.

I went for various other techniques, like armbars and elevator sweeps, but had less success at those. However, I’m glad I was able to recover guard both times, meaning I could go for something else, though on the other hand perhaps the reason I didn’t get them was I didn’t fully commit. I continue to have a problem going for sweeps that leave me more vulnerable, especially the flower and sit-up sweep. I kept trying for the no leg flower (drilled a while back with Chris, where you grab behind the head with one hand, using the other to hold the tricep of their arm, then swivel round for the flower position and sweep), but couldn’t seem to make space to turn. I also had trouble keeping both Jerome and Rohit sufficiently tight to go for the flower.

With the sit-up, I keep finding myself in a position where I’m holding an arm, looking up at my partner who has leaned back. That’s the perfect opportunity for me to go for a sit-up, but I’m too scared to open my guard and raise up. While I feel I did take a few more risks today, I really need to follow through on that technique. Yet another sweep I want to try drilling at the Birmingham Throwdown.

Time for me to go and get a decent chunk of writing done, then I can allow myself to open the rest of my presents. Looking forward to finally having a read of Mastering Jujitsu, although I’ll leave proper reading of it until my Caribbean holiday in May. That way, even if I can’t attend classes, I can at least improve my understanding of BJJ theory.

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