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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

12 April 2007

12/04/2007 - BJJ

Class #52

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 12/04/2007

As on Tuesday, Felipe went through a guard defence, then instead of moving on to the triangle, we were to simply try out a technique. Unfortunately, time run out before I got a chance to drill properly, but I did pick up some interesting tips from Chris. Going for the triangle, he pushed my head tight into the back of his knee, pushing off my hip with the other leg. Already I could feel the pressure on my throat, so that seems like a good set up – shame I didn’t get the chance to try it myself, but will see if I can give that a go at some point.

Chris was also his usual helpful self when we were working throws. When going for a double-leg lift, he pointed out that I wasn’t putting my hips in tight, leaving my bum way out behind me instead. This meant I was putting too much pressure on my back. He suggested that to get in position, I should try stepping round more as I went for the double-leg, which improved my technique. I’m still not pushing my hips forward enough as I lift, but at least it seems to be getting better.

Sparring was varied today, at least in terms of partner. I started off with Chris, who is short and powerful, with about 10kg on me. I’m finding that pass from BJ Penn’s site has been working well as a starting point, even if I’m not always getting it quite the same way he demonstrates. Having that principle of using the hip bone to dig into their ankles is definitely aiding my top game. I got the pass once on Chris, but on several other occasions, I was getting into position, grabbing him by the head and going past his legs, but he was able to come to his knees. My mistake is not keeping my weight on my partner as I pass – I keep allowing too much space, coming up and around the legs rather than driving down and slipping through.

On the bottom, I can’t remember getting any sweeps on Chris – instead, we ended up in half-guard and got stuck. I was trying to remember the half guard sweep Jude showed us yesterday, but either did it wrong or couldn’t get the position. Will have to look that over, as I’m finding myself in half-guard more and more.

The same position cropped up against Paxton. I also got the first stage of the guard defence, with a leg up and my hands on his shoulder and armpit, but I struggled to shrimp out. Eventually, I moved my leg off his head to make space, whereupon he simply dropped into side control. Paxton also had a good guard break, able to really drive his elbow into my thigh and make it difficult for me to maintain the grip with my ankles. I tried for an armbar a couple of times, but seeing it wasn’t going anywhere, simply readjusted to closed guard. I think I might have done the same thing against Chris, but can’t quite remember.

As with Chris, I had more success on top. However, on this occasion Paxton gave me the opportunity, as I ended up in a rather weird position with my arms pretty much out but he still had some kind of grip with his legs. I managed to move round by switching my base and going to scarf hold. That time, I didn’t have so much trouble keeping my weight on him, probably because I was being forced downwards by Paxton’s legs anyway.

Finally, I got the chance to spar Ben. It’s been a long time since we last rolled, as that was way back in November at my second class. So, this proved to be a useful marker of progress, as I was no longer simply getting swept in every direction. Ben was completely knackered, which obviously has an impact, but I was still glad to get the pass. Or rather, almost get the pass – I made the exact same mistake as with Chris, not keeping my weight down meaning Ben could turn and come to his knees. The BJ Penn pass helped me out again, and from what Ben said, it wasn’t just me – apparently, everybody he sparred today was trying the same technique. Wouldn’t surprise me if that was entirely due to those vids giving people the same idea.

On the bottom, I struggled to keep Ben on his knees. He eventually stood up, so I took the opportunity to try for an armbar. I couldn’t quite remember the technique, but I did get both legs round his head and hold of his arm. Unfortunately, so did he, and his grip on his arm was considerably more secure than mine. Time ran out as I was trying to go for butterfly guard to stop him passing (think he might have passed me earlier, but can’t remember).

Chris and Ben both tried to get the armbar from guard on me, which I resisted both times, then moving to try for a pass. However, I think if Ben had been less tired, he would have got the armbar – while I had a grip on his gi trousers, it was fairly loose. I also still can’t get the flower sweep, even though I was in position repeatedly today (in terms of getting a hold on the head and the triceps). Its that last step of making space and swivelling that is causing me trouble: I think my lack of speed in executing the sweep attempt is part of the problem too.

My left elbow and upper arm was sore today from the kimura yesterday, but felt ok once I got into the swing of class. I was breakfalling a bit gingerly, but apart from that didn’t really affect my ability to partake in drilling and sparring. I’ve got a few days for it to fully recover before my next session (which will either be Tuesday or Wednesday, depending how my Lowell chapter goes: I’ve got about 7,500 words and want 10,000 to submit on the 21st), so should be fully sorted by then.

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