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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 (No-Gi)

Class #67

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 28/06/2007No-Gi

My eye turned out to be ok this morning – either it wasn’t as serious as I thought in the first place, or the ice after class and before bed helped reduce the swelling. I looked a little like I’d had an accident with some dark red mascara, along with some random marks on my nose and lip, but not especially sore in the face (though I could feel it a little in my teeth).

Class today focused on takedowns from open guard. Starting from your closed guard, your partner stands up. As they open it up, shift your leg down and push into their knee, at the same time wrapping your other leg around their’s, then finally rising up to wrap an arm around that leg too. Jason emphasised I should try and keep that brace against their knee as long as possible, pushing out in order to break their base. As they move round to try and pass, you should swivel in place posting your hand on the floor. Picking your moment carefully, stand up, step behind and grab the leg you had wrapped up. Lift that up, then dump them over your remaining leg, moving into side control.

Felipe then demonstrated a variation if they managed to step further round. Instead of standing up, you keep the leg wrapped up but come to your knees. Grab their other ankle, drive forward and take them down. If they manage to base out on their heads, you can still take their back. Jason mentioned at this point it was important to get your hips pressing right down and stay low on their back, to prevent them rolling you over.

King of the hill specific sparring was from closed guard, which feels strange in no-gi. The idea was to try and pass standing, so I mainly focused on trying to maintain a good base and see if I could resist their sweeps. I’ve been approaching the advanced classes very defensively so far, as I’m hoping to pick something up by seeing just how I get smashed each time – will have to see if the approach bears fruit. I had varying degrees of holding my balance, but unsurprisingly got swept each time.

The specific sparring had a quick turn around because the class was fairly small today, so got me good and knackered. There’s a fine line between conserving energy, fatigue and simply being lazy – I’m not sure which of the three applied in my case. Probably all of them. Same was true in free sparring, where I once again rolled with Anthony. Pretty much the same thing happened as before, as I got stuck under either side control or mount. I had a go at recovering guard, but I’m clearly still missing some important points: for one thing, I think I could press more with the hands when trying to shrimp out to make space. I briefly got half-guard, which is about as close to control as I’ve got against Anthony so far, but that was swiftly passed. If class keeps going like this, as I fully expect it will, I’m hoping to greatly improve my escapes. Need more revision on my part, though.

Next I rolled with Christina, with whom I ended up in guard more often, which made for a nice change. Not that I wasn’t repeatedly swept, but I did get to have a go at grappling for grips when I backed away, and at one point managed a reversal from under her mount (though I think I then got caught in an armbar or something). This also reminded me why I much prefer rolling with women: they tend to be far more careful when putting on subs, and are also considerate training partners. Same thing with Indra when I last rolled with her – let me work position, while presumably working specific aspects of her game.

I attempted to resist submissions by keeping my elbows in tight, which worked to a certain extent against triangles and armbars against both Anthony and Christina. However, I wasn’t sufficiently pro-active, and also didn’t manage to drive through the knee and escape, as with Grant yesterday. After each spar when asking for tips, the main point they made was that I need to be more aggressive: again, I’m not sure if I’m relaxing in sparring and trying to observe or just being lazy. Definitely need to at least occasionally push for something, rather than always sitting back and waiting to see what they do.

Christina also mentioned that I was coming in with my head low, opening myself up for guillotines (I escaped, but I think she was going easy on me with it). Also, when clinching I was grasping around the neck instead of behind the head, which provides better leverage and control.

After those two spars, I was exhausted. I sat down and had a chat with a guy I’ve seen in the beginners class, but haven’t ever got into conversation. Turns out he’s also called Grant, but is an Australian. We spoke for a fairly long time: I was thinking about going for another spar, but my laziness kicked in and I ended up just talking until time run out. Must be careful not to do that too often – probably should aim for at least three or four spars.

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