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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

12 July 2007

12/07/2007 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #71

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 12/07/2007No-Gi

My chin has got a bit bashed up recently, and I’ve developed a friction burn, probably from rubbing against my own gi collar. Rather annoying, but at least no-gi meant the friction was a little reduced.

Felipe had to leave before class started, so Jude took over – I thought he’d already gone on holiday, but I guess his flight must be a little later on. We began with double-legs and ‘pummelling’, which I’ve heard of before but not sure if I’ve actually done (if I have, then it would have been years ago at one of the Kevin O’Hagan classes in Bristol). Basically, each person has one arm overhooked around their partner’s arm, while their other arm underhooks in order to grip round the back. Pummeling is where your switch from arm to arm, the eventual aim being to get both underhooks, which enables the takedown.

That takedown is what Jude showed us next. Having got the double underhooks, you pull on the back and push forward with your head, aiming to bend your opponent backwards and thereby knock them off balance. That should make it easy to keep driving and bring them down to the floor. If they manage to resist, you can also hook a leg.

If your opponent simply steps back once you’ve got double-underhooks, that means they’ll now be leaning forward. That is an opportunity to over-balance them in the other direction. In order to do so, you thrust up with your arms and shoulders, then immediately drop down as low as possible, driving through and up for the double leg. As they are already leaning forwards, due to that sudden motion of throwing them up then moving down, they will now lose their balance and therefore can’t offer much resistance. The thrusting upwards also prevents them from getting a guillotine.

Jude then went through a fundamental technique, which also happens to be one I’m very keen to work on – the shrimp escape from mount. Its basic, but there were lots of details I’d been missing. First, you get your elbow into their knee, the other slightly higher up on their other leg, twisting to your side. One of your legs is up by their bum, the other is out straight. This facilitates shrimping out by pushing with your bent leg: your other leg is easier to pull through because you’ve kept it straight. The important point Jude made here was that shrimping is done with the hips, not just the legs. Instead of merely straightening your legs, you should be really driving with your hips: I could immediately see this made a big difference to the escape.

Having pushed the knee out through a combination of your hips and elbow, your knee pops up past theirs. Bring that out, hook their leg, then repeat the process on the other side. Keep going until you’re able to recover guard.

Next, I got my first taste of leg locks in a BJJ class. The achilles lock works off that shrimp escape. Having got to the position where you’re bringing your knee through, lift their leg and push them to the side. Wrap your lifting leg around theirs, then shove them backwards with your foot on their hip. Their ankle is now open to attack – slip your same side wrist tightly under their achilles tendon, aiming to apply pressure with the bony part of your forearm. Grab the wrist of your other arm, putting the hand of that other arm on top of their shin (i.e., a figure four grip). Finally, pull up and back to apply the submission.

The counter to this is to go for your own achilles lock. Once your opponent has managed to start locking your leg, immediately straighten it out. Grab their knee and ankle on the leg pushing against your hip, then push over to the other side of your body. Finally, apply the figure four hold on that leg and apply your own achilles lock. Because their leg is bent and across your body, they can’t straighten it to resist the lock, which you can. Therefore your lock should come on much faster than their’s.

There wasn’t any specific sparring this time round, so we went straight to free sparring. I started off with Leo, who I’d been training with. As usual, he was able to quickly get on top and start moving to north south. I did attempt the mount escape a few times, and also balled up as he tried to transition, which seemed to help a little bit. The lesson on shrimp escapes really helped me clarify the technique in my head, so hopefully I’ll start having more success with it from now on (although I didn’t quite get it against Leo: think I got into half-guard, though).

Christina rolled me about all over the place, though I managed to get in guard a couple of times against her. It was either with her or Leo that I tried escaping the triangle again, but that might have been where Christina caught me with an armbar. Even more so than against Leo, I tried to draw my knees in so I could spin around underneath, but as with Leo only half-worked. Christina had some useful tips about attacking from knees, which was mainly to do with pulling their arm past you and keeping good head control. Alternately, if they have a leg up, you can grab the leg and head and try to sweep them that way.

Finally, I sparred Aika. Unfortunately, she hurt her elbow early on when attempting a single-leg, which ended up with me on top trying to take her back. I think she whacked her elbow on the ground in the process, so we paused for a moment while she checked it out. I did suggest icing it, and wasn’t sure if we should continue or not, but she seemed willing to keep going. I spent most of the spar maintaining mount, keeping an arm underneath Aika’s head with the other free to post, switching as necessary.

I was able to hold that position (though its worth noting that Aika is one of the very few people at RGA who’s significantly smaller than me, which gives me an unfair advantage), but couldn’t take the next step and set-up a submission. A couple of Americana opportunities presented themselves, but I lacked the skill to capitalise. I attempted to avoid the injured elbow, but then stupidly went for an armbar on the wrong arm: very silly. I seem to remember I let go once I realised, or at least I hope so. Aika was icing her elbow afterwards: hopefully didn’t make it any worse than it already was, but that depends on if I released it in time.

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