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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

11 July 2007

11/07/2007 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #70

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 11/07/2007Advanced

I was thinking about going along to the beginners class, but the department meeting made the decision for me: it ran until six something, meaning I was only able to make the advanced session as usual.

All the techniques tonight followed on from the same set-up. From closed guard, you start by opening up their gi, then pulling them down towards you. Simultaneously, grab the fabric of their lapel edge down the bottom of the gi with your same side hand (let’s say the right). Pull that up and around their neck, switching your grip to the left hand and dragging down tightly. Having got them in close, you then feed the lapel back to your right hand, getting a deep grip on their collar. Your left hand grabs the material behind their head firmly. Maintaining that hold, you bring your left forearm over, then press it into the other side of their neck, tightening for a cross choke using the lapel (if I'm using the right term there?).

If they manage to defend that choke by grabbing their own gi and bringing their elbows in tight, you shrimp out to one side, still maintaining your grip on the collar. Take a firm hold of their gi behind the head, then pull them down forcefully into your other forearm. This will either choke them or crank the neck – either way, painful!

Alternately, if they instead grab onto your arm, one elbow into your chest to prevent the omoplata, you first push that elbow down to the floor. Move to the side away from that elbow, still staying tight. Reach over their back to their elbow and pull it up. Your right leg moves up their body as you continue to pull on their elbow, pushing off with your other leg to roll over into mount. As you should still have a tight grip on their collar under their arm, lean forward to keep the arm trapped, step over their head, then fall back for the armbar. Remember to maintain your grip on the collar until you can secure the submission with your free arm.

Finally, you can do exactly the same thing up until your reach over to grab their elbow and pull up. This time, instead of bringing your right leg up their body, you drop it down to their same side knee. Pulling on the elbow will now make them swivel onto your stomach (its painful on their shoulder if they try to resist), meaning your can put the hooks in a take their back.

Class finished up with free sparring – there was no specific work from guard passage or something along those lines. I started off with the purple belt I’d been drilling with, a guy roughly my height called Kevin. He was a good training partner, opting for the educational role that senior belts sometimes take. He took it fairly easy on me in sparring: seemed particularly fond of going to knee on belly. I tried balling up when under side control as he was switching to north-south, but not sure if it had any effect: he went to knee on belly, which he may well have done either way.

Main tips I got from Kevin was not to simply let the other person pull me into guard. When they’re leaning back and baiting you into coming forward, grab the material inside of their knees, stand up keeping good posture, then push their legs to one side and go round to side control.

After Kevin, I had a chance to spar Dominique for the first time in ages. She’s certainly gotten a whole lot better since I last rolled with her: I wasn’t able to sweep her at all, which previously I’d been getting. I was able to get to guard, which is a position I’ve only rarely fond myself in advanced classes up to now. and that gave me a chance to go on the offensive. I tried out the armbar technique Colin showed me at the throwdown a couple of months ago, where once you’ve got a leg up by their head to go for an armbar and can’t get it, you simply switch your shin across and try to submit them on the other side. Seemed to work reasonably well, although I’m not sure how tight I had it – initially eased off prematurely because I thought Dominique had tapped (though definitely better to be in the habit of letting go too early than letting go too late, especially in a class setting. Not a great idea to injure regular training partners!).

At one point in guard I brought my leg over the arm thinking about an omoplata, but then completely forgot the rest of the technique, so ended up moving back to guard. I put Dominique in position for a scissor sweep, push sweep, flower sweep and elevator sweep, but only got anywhere close to finishing the last one. I think I need to work the position better before attempting to sweep, as all too often I’d go for a sweep and Dominique would start to pass. I also got stuck in her half-guard at one point, and couldn’t escape: I managed to get an Americana instead, but I think that was mainly because she’d left an arm outside, rather than any kind of set-up on my part.

After sitting out one or two spars, I finished up by rolling with Oli. As an assistant instructor, he’s always great to spar because he’s keen to give out advice. He allowed me to get to guard, where I couldn’t do a great deal, but did have a chance to try some more escapes from the triangle. Oli assured me I had the right idea by posturing up or pushing knee, but should have taken advantage when he readjusted his leg position. At that point I could have pulled my arm out, but was thinking too much about posturing up and pulling back instead.

I also tried to drop down to a single-leg takedown after he stood up in my guard. This worked ok against Dominique, but I wasn’t doing it right. Instead of hooking the leg first and then using my bodyweight to slip down and drive through, I was hooking it after coming down, meaning they could take my back. So, as with sweeps, must remember to get in position first.

Jude is on holiday until September, so I’m guessing Felipe or one of those visiting Brazilian black belts will take over for that period. Somewhat of a shame, in the sense that it means Jude won’t be at the Bristol Open to coach us and drink afterwards. Assuming that I do compete, of course – I’m currently hoping to enter the -64kg category. Should be a cool experience, both in terms of sparring someone outside of RGA and the socialising involved.

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