Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Nick Gregoriades, London, UK - 26/07/2007 – Beginners
Only just noticed my link to fellow RGAer Will’s blog was broken – now fixed, so if anyone clicked earlier on Bill Koplitz and got a 404 error, should now work. If you’re into travel (with a bit of surfing thrown in), then I’d strongly recommend you check it out: seems Will has been just about everywhere!
I decided against the no-gi tonight, as I was still feeling fairly bashed up from yesterday. The elbow remains a little bruised, but I mainly want to rest the left bicep, which felt really sore most of today. Probably from drilling - and then getting caught in - lots of armbars yesterday.
Nick G took the class today, which is always interesting. First, he went through an arm throw, as a response to if they grab the collar by your chest. With your same side arm, you come around and over and grab their collar. To reduce the force of their hold, Nick instructed us to drop our elbow into our opponent, which twists their arm into a weaker position. Pull them towards you, stepping between their legs, keeping your foot pointing forwards. Punch up under their arm, coming right up like an uppercut, at the same time turning into them, making sure your feet are inside their’s. Grab their upper arm with yours (rather than using your shoulder), bend your legs, then lift them up, lean forward and drop them to the side.
The next technique, side control to mount, was taught in two parts, to emphasise the importance of the first step. From side control, reach down and scoop up their elbow, switches your hips into a brief scarf hold, immediately switching back, bringing your knees tight to their body. Trap their arm with your knee as you do so.
Follow that by wrapping your arms around their other elbow, dragging it in close with a gable grip. Using your shoulder and pulling with your arms, drive that elbow up towards you, until both their elbows are up and out of the way. That means you can move on to the second part. Now that you have plenty of space, pop your knee up as high as you can onto their chest. This is to avoid them catching you in half-guard as you try to transition. With your knee in position, shove it down to the floor, right by their armpit if possible.
Sparring was from side control, with Nathan again like yesterday. I was able to make some space underneath, getting half-guard by swinging my far leg over to his near leg and working from there. At one point I also managed to swivel round and come up holding Nathan’s upper body – either that was from knees, or from when Nathan went for an Americana but I managed to pull free. I generally found it easier to be explosive tonight, bridging more than usual and trying to stay proactive. I also attempted to do something with double underhooks, but having got the position I completely forgot what to do with it.
On top, I also felt pretty comfortable. I transitioned from side to side, and I think picked my moments to shift between the different types of side control better than before. Previously when I was moving a hand to their hip, it wasn’t to much purpose and left me open to sweeps, but this time definitely seemed to help in maintaining my position. For the first time, I think I was able to put Colin’s advice from the throwdown in May to good use: I’m hopeful it was more technique than strength and weight, particularly as Nathan is apparently a good 10kg or so heavier than me.
However, I wasn’t able to get any subs, and couldn’t make enough space to get mount either. I vaguely started going for an armbar at one point, bringing my leg across, but gave it up because I didn’t have the arm sufficiently isolated. Americana’s weren’t working for me too well either, mainly because Nathan tended to manage a firm grip behind me head or on the back of my gi.
I should have brought the cash for the Bristol Open before the lesson, but because I wasn’t sure of the price, I hadn’t been to the bank. That meant I had to rush to Sainsbury’s and back after the session finished, but unfortunately, in the process I managed to leave my gumshield on the wall by the mats. Hopefully someone will pick that up and I can get it on Wednesday: will have to send a PM to Pippa on Facebook or something.