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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

13 June 2007

13/06/2007 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #61

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 13/06/2007Advanced

I was in two minds about jumping straight into the advanced, as I hadn’t eaten since 13:30, but decided that as this effectively works out as a two hour class in total, might as well go for it. I’m glad I did, as it turned out to be a great first experience.

The drills were, unsurprisingly, more complicated. Jude focused on passing spider guard, especially fun as I’ve never come across spider guard before. Well, that’s not quite true: it turns out I have, as Owen has used it on me a lot, I just didn’t know what it was called. Spider guard, as far as I can tell, is a form of open guard in which the person on the bottom has their feet pressed right into the crooks of the top person’s arms, also holding onto their sleeves. In order to pass, the first technique is that Person A brings their arm round and underneath one of Person B’s legs, then pushes that downwards. Person A then walks around to the other side, swinging Person B’s leg out of the way and driving through into knee on belly. It will take me lots of time to work out the finer details, but that seems to be the general idea.

Jude followed up with a variation, if the bottom person’s legs prove difficult to get round. The pass begins as before, with Person A bringing one of their arms around and underneath Person B’s leg. This time, Person A moves to the same side and steps their right leg through, driving forward, ending up sitting on Person B’s leg. Person A frees one arm from Person B’s grip, going straight to underhook Person B’s near arm. Having secured that position, Person A then breaks the grip on their other arm, finally bringing their rear leg through and into side control.

The last technique Jude demonstrated was what happened if Person B managed to raise up before you could secure side control. The process is exactly like above, except that instead of bringing your rear leg through into side control, you bring it right round to the other side of Person B’s head, with them on their side. You’ve already got the underhook, so use that to pull them up, then switch your left arm through, grab the bicep of the right arm, hold their wrist, finishing with a kimura submission.

That meant it was time for ‘king of the hill’ sparring, from spider guard. As I expected, I didn’t get too far, but I did get lots of tips. Duncan, one of the blue belts, advised me that when standing, I should stay low. Alex, a brown belt, told me to try and push on the knees. Tomaz (if I got his name right) said I needed to be very careful if my partner gets a grip on my wrists – that gives them control. My aim at this point should be to recover a hold on their knees, as this returns control to me. Its going to be an interesting learning curve – will take me a fair while to learn everyone’s name and who is willing to help out babbling white belts like me, but seems to have started off well.

The same was true of full sparring, if that’s the best term to use. I haven’t gone from my knees and rolled without any specific end point (except submission) outside of throwdowns, and never in a gi, although I suppose to few pre-class rolls I’ve had with Owen count. Both the people I rolled with, Tran and Indra, are people I’ve spoken to before, and they were also both taking it fairly easy on me, which was good. From what I gathered, they were both looking to work their defence, which meant I could in turn work my offence and how to hold position. That showed me that I’m not too used to back mount, as I couldn’t quite work out how to get a choke going against Indra: possibly I should have cross-faced (if I’m understanding that term right) her in order to get both my arms through. It also gave me a chance to work from mount and side control, both of which are positions I’m keen to improve.

The advanced class is much bigger than the beginners, and Gary noted that this wasn’t even an especially busy class. Due to the numbers, not everyone was able to spar at the same time, which is cool by me as I got a chance to chat with Jude, Christina and Indra. That social opportunity is awesome, as it will give me a chance to try and get to know people, something which always makes sparring way more fun.

I think I’ll leave the no-gi until next week, as I haven’t got my rash guard with me, but in general I’m going to aim to try for three classes a week. That’s probably going to consist of beginner and advanced on Wednesday then the no-gi on Thursday, but I’ll see if I’ve got enough gas to go on after the no-gi. Same applies to the Wednesday – if I get especially knackered during the beginners, I might double up on the Thursday. We’ll see how my meagre fitness levels hold up!

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