Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Nick Brooks, London, UK - 25/04/2007
I was still aching a bit from yesterday’s ZSK, having not used those kicking muscles in my legs for quite some time, but soon had a chance to loosen up. Apparently, the little room by the entrance at RGA is available for rolling, or at least according to Owen. Either way, we managed to fit in a bit of sparring before class started. Being a wuss, I was pretty much ready to stop after the first roll, but Owen managed to bully me into doing a few more – he’s probably right in that as I’m going off on holiday soon, I need all the training I can get! :icon_wink
As with the last time I rolled with Owen, I found myself stuck in his open guard, one arm often jammed into my bicep or armpit. After struggling for a few minutes, Owen took pity and gave me some handy hints. First of all, get one leg to the ground: instead of gripping by the ankle, as I keep finding myself doing, go down to the inside of the knee and drive that leg to the floor. Next step is to underhook the other leg and push it in the same direction, aiming to move round into side control. Alternately, Owen advised gripping plenty of fabric by the knees, driving the legs together, which should make them easy to either push to one side or stack (IIRC). Similar to what Maurição showed us a while back, but always useful to go through again.
Jude wasn’t able to take class tonight, so we had another class with one of the purple belts, Nick. He ran us through something I haven’t done before, armbar defence counter. The first variation was if Person A managed to grab their bicep and hook a hand round the back of Person B’s knee. To stop Person A pulling free, Person B shifts their grip from the wrist they were going for to the other arm. Locking Person A’s arms in place by tightening the legs, Person B then reaches through the large gap formed near their leg, holding onto Person A’s neck or collar. Preparing the second armbar attempt, Person B moves their other hand outside of Person A’s arms, then on top of Person A’s wrist.
Keeping the other arm solid, Person B then quickly brings their leg away from Person A’s neck, pushes with the straight arm, then brings their leg back into position. The aim here is to dislodge Person A’s hand that was gripping the back of the knee, moving it in front of the leg. Finally, Person B places both hands on Person A’s wrist, raises their hips and pulls for the armbar.
The second variation was a little less complicated, and hopefully easier to understand in text. This time, Person A hasn’t been quick enough to defend the armbar by getting a hand behind the knee. However, they have managed to bring their hand around the front of the knee, gripping the trouser fabric. As before, Person B locks up with their legs to hold Person A in place, meaning they can then transfer their grip outside Person A’s arm and on top of the wrist. To remove the trouser hold, Person B brings their arm out straight in between Person A’s face and the gripping hand. Using their inner forearm, Person B scrapes Person A’s hand off their gi, pushing it right back, eventually joining their other hand on top of Person A’s wrist. Finally, Person B raises the hips and pulls back for the armbar.
That’s a fairly complicated description: Dominique and I also had some problems in drilling. I kept finding myself forgetting to come outside the arms first, or not getting the arm close enough to my chest to use the arm beneath as a fulcrum. The principle of the inner forearm to dislodge a hand looks like a useful one – will be interesting to see if that works with other grips too.
Sparring was guard passage, starting off with Dominique. She has changed her passing style from last time, so I was having a lot more trouble getting the push sweep I managed before. Instead of standing up and coming forward, she was getting a knee underneath and turning right to the side. That meant I had to readjust round to the side before I could even start trying to pull her in close. Generally I was relying on a firm grip to pull myself round, but that’s rather sloppy, so I should look into a more consistent method of readjusting.
I found that the elevator was an effective sweep to go for, or at least whatever sloppy version I’ve been attempting. Although I don’t always get it cleanly, its been forming a useful base to work off. I’ve also been trying to get my knees back if the person on top is passing, but leaving me space. That worked fairly well today, as if I couldn’t get the sweep, then I could at least recover guard.
However, I need to be aware of other options. I kept finding myself with an arm around one leg and a grip on the gi, meaning I could drag my partner downwards. If I could have grabbed an arm too, I might have been able to try some kind of sweep pulling on those two limbs. In fact, I that’s a variation of the flower sweep I should be trying: as I keep whining, that’s something I need to work.
BJ Penn’s pass continues to be my main successful technique on top, which I think I’ll include in my made-up ‘tailbone pass’ category. I wanted to work grabbing the head and keeping my weight down as I passed, for which I think I got the first part, but still not quite there on the second. Having got that pass, I wanted to also try the basic standing one too. I’m not sure I quite succeeded, but I was at least able to keep my base. Need to work on breaking the guard, and I also keep forgetting to get a firm grasp of the collar, which is pretty central to the technique. I was concentrating too much on controlling the hip, which doesn’t help me much I don’t also have a hold of the gi.
The other person I rolled with today was a new guy called Nick. He used to train six years ago, but after a year of intense training, he wasn’t able to attend classes anymore. Now he’s writing some article for a magazine about the Gracie Invitational (if I understood him correctly), so has been training himself back up in order to enter. As with Dominique, the tailbone pass and the elevator sweep were effective, as was keeping a knee into his stomach if he got close to passing. He had me in a fairly tight collar choke from the guard a few times, which resulted in a bit of a stalemate as I resisted by looking up and getting a hand to my neck. That may have been a good opportunity to see if the forearm would have been able to dislodge the hold, but I didn’t think to try it. Removing grips is definitely something else I want to work, which is getting to be part of a rather long list!
Tomorrow is my last lesson for a month. Will be painful to miss out on all that training, but probably healthy for my writing, not to mention my gf will be happy I’ll be spending a little more time up in Brum. I’ll try to pop down to some other classes, maybe some MMA, but knowing me, I’ll probably be either too shy and/or lazy to make it. We’ll see how it goes: if nothing else, I should have several hours at the throwdown on the 26th May to get back into it.