Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 17/04/2007
Managed to get up to my 10,000 word count on the chapter (in fact, going slightly over by 500 words), writing the conclusion on the train down, so was able to make it to BJJ tonight. Class focused on side control, kicking off with armbar from side control. Person A traps Person B’s arm by pulling the arm into their head, then gripping their own collar. Person A’s other arm is on the opposite side, blocking Person B from pulling guard. Next, Person A moves round until Person B’s head is between their knees, pushing Person B’s free arm to the ground as they do so. Using the grip on their arm, Person A then moves Person B onto their side, still holding the other arm, placing one shin into Person B’s back – the other leg will already be around their head. Person A then leans backwards for the armbar, removing their grip from the other arm once they have the armbar in position (in case Person A needs to adjust their hold on Person B’s wrist for the sub).
Sparring was unsurprisingly from side control, and I found that I’m having trouble keeping my weight down. I’m remembering to go up on my toes, but I’m still leaving too much space – Radek in particular kept spinning around and getting guard. I also forgot to switch base, which meant I had little force when I attempted to push their arm away in order to try for mount. When I then remembered to switch base against Radek, he was able to knock me off-balance – so, that’s something else I’ll have to keep in mind. Radek seemed very quick, though I don’t want to get distracted into trying to do techniques faster rather than more accurately.
I did at least manage to get mount on Tas, having been unable to extricate myself from his half-guard the first time round. On my second opportunity, I quickly whipped out my leg and went into mount, though I think Tas was kinda knackered from sparring a bunch of people in a row, which no doubt made things easier for me.
With Ramis, who I haven’t sparred for a long time, I got a chance to try out the rear naked choke defence Oli showed me on the 29th March. I turned my head in the correct direction and raised my hips up, but mixed up my priorities – I should have been concentrating on securing the arm going behind my head before anything else. Eventually, Ramis got the choke, but I’m pleased that I did at least manage to work a defence. Oli was watching, so was able to point out where I went wrong.
Ben mentioned a useful method of keeping your weight down in side control his sparring partner showed him. If I understood correctly, you put your chest on their chest and ribs (so one pectoral on one of theirs while the other presses below), pushing down with your hips and sprawled out on your toes. I’ve been doing the sprawling part, but not positioning my chest correctly. If we do side control again, I’ll try to improve my weight distribution. In addition I want to concentrate on specific techniques, so that I have something to aim for – I think going for mount is probably my best bet at the moment. Trying for Americana’s might be worth a go too, although due to the way specific sparring works, I have been getting the feeling it’s a “ready, set, go” kinda situation with that sub. Nevertheless, something to keep in mind if the opportunity presents itself.
I was hoping to try to work scarf hold escapes, almost finding myself in that position against Ramis, but he was moving round too quickly, meaning that I was simply swivelling around after him with a grip on his leg. This is what eventually led to the rear naked choke position, so ideally I could avoid that. Definitely need a better plan than “cling desperately onto the leg and spin”!
My May holiday isn’t far off now: I should be able to get in another four (unless I get the third stripe before then, but not sure if that’s likely to happen before May), after which I’m paused for a month. Next session after that will be 6th June, but I’m hoping to get in some other training in the meantime. I’m away from the 4th until the 18th, so will probably try for MMA during the rest of May. Chris mentioned that London Shootfighters is apparently a mere £3 a class, which would be awesome if correct (though I think he may have been referring to the members price for weights: a normal non-member class is more like £9, as far as I'm aware). On the other hand, I’ve heard it’s a pretty hardcore class, and I’m far from a hardcore person – still, we’ll see. Worth trying at least once, even if I leave the lesson bruised, limp and bathed in sweat.
BJJGrrl: BJJ for Women
jnp's Grappling Principles
17 April 2007