Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Roger Gracie, London, UK - 25/07/2007 – Advanced
I was feeling sufficiently ok to go for the advanced class. Roger ran a fairly similar session, again starting off with an armbar from guard. However, this was done rather differently, as more of a speed drill rather than the technical demonstration in the previous class. Roger wanted everyone to get through as many repetitions as possible in 30 seconds for each arm, then switched to the same thing but with a leg up. Instead of shrimping to get the right angle, you grab the arm, then underhook the leg and swivel into place. Will be good to see the technique demonstrated, though it looks pretty similar to the variation from standing guard I’ve seen.
Roger then moved on to armbar from mount, and this time did go into detail. Keeping your hands tight to either side of their head, you walk you knees up to high mount. Slip a hand into the opposite collar, while shifting your knee up to their head, trapping the arm. Leaning over their body, your leg then isolates their other arm by wrapping underneath at an angle (this locks down their limb). Finally, post a hand by their head and bring your leg over, in order to then pull back on the arm and go for the submission.
At this point, Roger also mentioned two ways in which to break your opponents grip if they’re managing to resist. One way of breaking that grip is to grab the top of their hand with the hand you have underneath, then slip your other arm through to make a figure four. Lift up and press down to partially put on a wristlock, which done correctly will release their hold and enable you to go for the armbar. Alternately, grab their elbow and pull it towards you, which should loosen their grip sufficiently that you can scrape their hand free for the armbar.
Specific sparring from guard was mostly a matter of me getting dragged forward by either Liam or Owen, who have ten and twenty kilograms on me respectively. They easily pulled me down and broke my posture, though despite the weight advantage, I still need to improve technique. Generally focusing on posture sounds like a productive approach, so I’ll try to keep that in mind for next time.
Specific sparring from mount felt much the same, as I continue to have problems escaping. I think I’m making slight improvements, however, as I was at least resisting Owen’s submission attempts for a short while. At one point I was able to throw his leg over and move to side control, but that still leaves me trapped underneath. I also remembered to stick one leg down and straight out in order to go for the elbow escape, but then failed to make any space. Getting into position to do so will be my main aim from now on: if I can at least start getting component parts the escape right, I’ll be happy.
Free sparring, as ever, was even more painful. Again I found myself generally squashed underneath Owen, either in mount or side control. Both continue to be problems: I think I’m tending to get my hands into position and then freeze up rather than making space. Owen was mainly landing armbars on me, which I had trouble resisting. He advised that when I get into a situation where the normal defence isn’t viable (i.e., if I’m being crushed by my partner with my arm isolated, such as under high mount or down by their legs), then I should concentrate on driving my trapped elbow to the floor. That should then facilitate the escape, as the arm is in less danger.
At another point, I think I concentrated too much on trying to get the triangle escape, grabbing Owen’s knee and trying to push it to the floor, meaning Owen simply switched to an armbar. Owen also mentioned that I didn’t get as firm a grip on the knee as I could have – a gable grip or something might have been useful in that situation.
Next up, I sparred a powerful guy called Alex, who I later discovered is one of the strongest people there. That soon became clear in the way he was able to mercilessly slam submissions on me: his collar chokes came on so fast that I only had time to let out a pitiful yelp rather than tap. Towards the end he spun very quickly into an armbar, again catching me and my elbow by surprise, so I sat out of the rest of sparring to give the arm a chance to recover. Feels ok now, but may have to be careful tomorrow in sparring.
I had some small success escaping rear naked chokes, though I only remembered the bridging part of the defence Oli showed me. That gave me some space, and I eventually swivelled out, but then immediately got collar choked. The big problem I’m having with RNC escapes is trapping their arms, which is even more difficult if they happen to be strong.
I also need to be more proactive from my knees – I’m tending to flop around a bit and then get dragged forward into their guard. Breaking their grips would help avoid that, though I couldn’t do it against Alex. He suggested that I bring my knee into it, so I’ll have to try that next time, although will need to check with an instructor quite how that’s done. Finally, Alex also showed me a simple counter to the collar choke, which is to wrap up their elbows and squeeze. I’ve read about that on Bullshido, but haven’t thought to try it yet.
I may just make the beginners tomorrow, as my arm is feeling pretty sore already, so I don’t want to exacerbate that in the no-gi class. If there wasn’t a competition coming up next week, I’d be a little less careful, but I think wimp mode would probably be sensible until I get to Bristol.