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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

21 June 2007

21/06/2007 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #65

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Leonardo Leite, London, UK - 21/06/2007Beginners

My back was feeling it from all those takedowns, but its job wasn’t done yet. After scribbling down notes furiously while the beginners went through their warm-up, I joined in the class to be confronted by a series of throws. I’m not sure if Leo has a judo background, but he seems very keen on takedowns. Along with the basic trip, we also went through both the head throw and the hip throw. That does remind me I need to write those up in my technique summary at some point, particularly as I suck even more at throws than most other aspects of BJJ.

First technique Leo went through was the sit-up sweep. He emphasised pushing forward with the hips, and also coming up on the elbow and then basing off your hand, rather than doing one or the other as I’d previously thought was the case. As with every other time I’ve done that drill, the instructor followed up with the kimura from guard. Chris, as ever a helpful training partner, suggested that when feeding my arms through for the figure four grip, I should focus on the lower part of the arm rather than the upper, which makes it tighter according to Maurição. Seemed to work better. I also need to stop using a monkey grip (holding with the thumb wrapped round), instead clamping my fingers and thumb on top. Finally, I should break their posture more thoroughly when pulling them backwards, aiming to drive their head right into the floor.

I still have the same problem passing Chris’ guard, as while I can open it and start the pass, it always ends up with Chris coming to his knees. Its that old weight problem again, as I’m still not pressing down enough after I’ve gone to grip his head or shoulder. Same thing happened both on my leg pin pass and stack pass (which I still haven’t seen demonstrated in class, so should probably ask one of the instructors about soon). I did manage a sit-up sweep, however, which was good, although I think that was mainly because Chris was taken by surprise rather than my technique being particularly good.

Found myself in half-guard underneath, which gave me an opportunity to try the escape we learned yesterday. Or rather, it would have, if I could have remembered it properly. Vague images of grabbing peoples toes and knees sent me grasping for Chris’ foot, but I wasn’t in position. Another option, possibly more sensible, would have been to concentrate on recovering full-guard. Definitely a skill I need to work on, particularly if I’m in danger of relying on half-guard sweeps instead. That would be deeply stupid if I don’t have the more fundamental recovering guard sorted first.

Finally, side control sparring. I was able to get into mount on Chris, but kept getting swept. This demonstrated to me that I’ve been lazy in mount – previously, I was able to push my partner back down when they tried to sweep, but Chris either had better control of my arm, more strength, or a combination of both. Whichever, I have to be more careful of his hold on my arm, or I’m going to keep getting swept.

From underneath, I was mainly spinning round trying to avoid Chris getting North-South. While I could resist by putting an arm up, it felt like it was pretty much a matter of time before he got the position. I need to find a more solid method of defending – perhaps bridge more at opportune moments, or some other distraction to enable my knee to come through? Right near the end, I flipped right on top of Chris, but again I think that was more down to him trying not to neck crank me that an escape on my part.

Think my back is going to complain tomorrow, but hey – I’ve got until next Wednesday to recover, when its back to the advanced class. Chet kindly gave me a lift to the station in his car, which meant for the first time in ages, I didn’t have to sprint from Edgware Road to Marylebone to get my train back to Amersham. Nice. :D

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