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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

27 June 2007

27/06/2007 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #66

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 27/06/2007Advanced

Unusual class tonight, for several reasons. First of all, as there was an odd number of people in the beginners, Jude asked if I fancied doing a bit of sparring in order to even up the groups. I did guard passage with a guy called Roberto, who I think I’ve spoken to before: as usual, I went for the tailbone pass and scissor sweep, also trying to keep the flower sweep and sit-up sweep in mind. Sit-up didn’t work, but it did set me up for a kimura from guard against Roberto. The same thing happened with my other sparring partner, Chet: however, both of those guys are comparatively new. Still, nice to get a few sweeps and passes along with the kimura.

That class was drilling the flower sweep before I joined in, which reminded me how Jude does it a little different from people like Rowan Cunningham. Jude grabs an arm first, draws that across the body, bumps them forward and then secures a hold behind the head before swivelling round for the leg. That means that the head grip can be used to lock down the arm, leaving your other arm free for the leg, as well as facilitating the sweep. Normally I find it difficult to get my opponent right down close in order to grab the head, but I think previously I wasn’t really yanking and holding that arm first. Something to keep in mind next time I go for it.

The advanced class focused on grip fighting, presumably due to the Gomes Cup this weekend. We went through three grips breaks, the first two responding to them grabbing you lapel with the same side hand. One option is to grab their wrist with both hands, thumb underneath, then push up and away with your arms while simultaneously stepping back with the same side leg. Jude emphasised that it has to be the same side leg, or you don’t get the leverage.

I had some trouble getting this every time on my training partner, Grant, who’s a fair bit bigger and stronger than me. He suggested that I could break down the hold by gradually jerking at his grip: that seemed to be a useful fallback if I couldn’t release his grasp on my first attempt.

Next grip break, which I didn’t quite get to drill properly as we were mainly working in a three (can’t remember the other guys name), was to get one of your hands across their fingers (with your thumb pointing towards you, I think), which were gripping inside your collar. The other hand grips in the opposite direction (so thumb pointing away), then you twist with both hands to break the grip. However, I’m not sure I understood that one properly, so will have to double-check.

Finally, Jude showed us how to release a grip on your back, with them reaching over your shoulder. First you grip their same side collar with your same side arm. Then you swing your shoulder underneath their arm and all the way around, so that you end up pressing against the top. Finally you push with your arm and step back on the same side leg.

I was able to get this against Grant, although his strength sometimes meant I had to jerk a bit like with the other grip break, but against Ben I had more trouble. I think that’s because Ben is fairly tall, so has a much longer reach than a shortarse like me. Bringing my arm around the top and pushing that into it helped, but I think that’s effectively ‘cheating’, and presumably builds in bad habits.

We did a bit of drilling on grip fighting, going fairly light contact with one person gripping and the other trying to remove them, then switching partners. Once everyone had tried it out against two different people, it was time for free sparring.

Jude divided the class into those who wanted to start standing up and those who didn’t: perhaps unsurprisingly, the latter was rather more popular. I’m still being a little too timid in asking people to spar, waiting for them to come to me, but eventually had a roll with Anthony, one of the blue belts (which make up the majority of the class, at least tonight). I’d been hoping to work my mount escapes, and soon got the opportunity, as well as defending under side control. I didn’t have much success with either, generally getting into a pattern of holding my partner off for a while, until they gradually got me into some kind of uncomfortable position like a tight north-south.

As I mentioned in my spar against Chris in the beginners class last week, I’m having problems preventing people spinning around on top of my side control – my only defence at the moment is to try and spin with them, holding onto their hip, but I seem to merely delay the inevitable rather than present a serious challenge to their motion. I also need to get better at making space under side control in order to shrimp, as well as being careful of the arm pressed against their neck in case they go for an Americana. Probably shouldn’t be bothering with random attempts at armbars either, as that’s beyond my level at the moment: I saw it in an advanced class once, but I was only watching.

That Anthony finished me off with a loop choke was in a way handy, as I’d been discussing the difference between an Ezekiel choke and a loop choke before class started with Oli. In my glossary, I had the two under the same heading, which is technically incorrect: I’ve now changed it to sleeve choke, which is more accurate. I also didn’t mention that the choke generally requires you to grab the inside of your own sleeves in order to work: without its much more difficult, as in the no-gi variation. As ever, very useful to have a guy like Oli casting an eye over my glossary, as I’m a white belt and therefore still pretty unclear on all the terminology.

A similar thing happened against Grant, although I spent most of my time in his mount rather than side control. I had a go at shrimping out, as well as the upa plenty of times, and even gave the one where you go to butterfly guard a go, but as with Anthony, I was doing little more than slowing Grant down. He eventually went for an armbar, switching to a triangle when I defended. I managed to get out of it by driving his knee to the floor and pushing forward, but he was close to locking it on: I think if he’d pulled down on my head I wouldn’t have been able to escape.

Right towards the end of the spar, I was under Grant’s side control, again attempting to stop him spinning to north-south. Unfortunately, his knee and my face collided in the process, which meant I was out of sparring for the rest of the session. I probably should have immediately gone to ask for an ice pack rather than hanging around by the wall, but did finally go soothe my eye after urging from Indra and Grant (who was very apologetic about the whole thing: not a problem, as it was clearly an accident. Something I’ll just have to get used to in training).

I’ll definitely be sporting a black eye tomorrow, as its already puffed up, but hopefully my face won’t be too sore for class that night. If its really throbbing, then I may just do the beginners class, or skip training altogether. Should be ok, as its only a black eye, but we’ll see.

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