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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

28 June 2007

28/06/2007 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #68

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 28/06/2007Beginners

I thought that I’d caught my breath back after the long chat with Grant, but as the class went on, I soon felt pretty knackered. That could just be crap fitness on my part, of course, but nevertheless, was definitely feeling it when it came to sparring.

Techniques today focused on escaping side control, starting with coming up to your knees. You lift up your partner, using your forearms against their neck and ribs, using that space to shrimp out. Your arm comes under theirs, reaching back for their gi, enabling you to come to your knees and go for their legs. Your head and leg go up the same side as the knee you’re grabbing, then you drag their knee back and drive through with your head and knee, ending in side control.

Felipe followed that with the counter, which was simply to sprawl, grab around their neck and under one arm, drive them to the ground by walking back (which should also free any grip they might have on your legs), finally moving round to take their back. Jason’s reminder about keeping your hips as far down as possible while staying low on their back applied here too.

Sparring was from side control, in groups of three. I was with Tamvin and Jon, who are both roughly my size. That means I had no excuses about size discrepancies: Jon’s technique worked against me every time, IIRC. Mainly he was good at making space with his arms and recovering guard – I had a lot of trouble simply staying down, even though he’s not a big guy. Oli as ever had some good tips: firstly, transition between side control positions. If the person underneath is pushing with their arms and trying to recover guard, shift your arm back to their hip to block the attempt. That also means you can drive with your shoulder in the same area to try and counteract their arms.

Alternately, you can hook round the arm of the opposite side and used that to swivel round. However, I don’t think I quite understood how that one worked, so will need to double-check. Jon had a suggestion of his own for resisting the transition to north-south, which was to ball up in order to facilitate spinning. Sounds worth a go: I’ll no doubt find myself squished under side control on Wednesday, as has happened every advanced class so far. ;)

Oli also mentioned that from underneath, you should work for the underhook (I think when the other person is shifting round or otherwise leaving space: not sure exactly what the best moment is). That then helps with getting to your knees, as per the technique we worked earlier.

I had a few goes at submissions when sparring Tamvin, but that again is something I need to revise, in particular the Americana and armbar, which are the only ones I’m likely to ever get. Giving the side choke a go would be fun too, but as I’ve only ever seen that when Colin showed me at the throwdown in May, think I’ll leave that until it crops up in class. Due to lack of subs, I ended up aiming to get mount instead, generally by making space then pushing the knee through. However, my technique was rather sloppy and I wasn’t distributing my weight well, so I need to refine considerably.

All in all, today’s classes reminded me just how far I’ve got to go, although I don’t think I’m in any danger of overrating my extremely limited skills. Nevertheless, always good to be reminded that ego is an entirely useless commodity in BJJ, especially for us beginners!

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