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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

08 August 2007

08/08/2007 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #78

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Maurição Gomes, London, UK - 08/08/2007Beginners

I was still feeling a bit under the weather today, but decided that I should at the very least be able to do the beginners. If I felt ok at the end of that, I’d do the advanced as well, but I wasn’t about to force myself. Not to mention an excuse to wimp out is always welcome. :p

Maurição took class today, which automatically means an interesting session. We started off with the basic trip (pull them to one side, step through, sweep the leg), something which I really should have tried at the Bristol Open. Instead of attempting anything, I just clung on to my opponent: if only everything was as easy as drilling. Judo would be the obvious way to improve my stand-up, but that bad experience with an injury last time I tried the sport continues to put me off for the moment.

Maurição then moved on to some fundamental techniques from the guard. First off, the tailbone break he’s showed us before. I’m not sure I’ve been pushing backwards enough on this, and I also need to think more about slicing their feet apart with my hip. As its my favourite guard break, this is what I tried at Bristol, but that merely resulted in getting swept (I think: can’t quite remember exactly how I ended up on the bottom in the first part of that fight).

That was followed by the leg pin pass. Maurição did this a little differently to how I thought it was done, as after opening the guard and pushing his knee onto the leg, he slipped that knee down the leg and then slid into position. That way leaves much less space then what I’ve attempted previously, so this should hopefully make my leg pin pass much tighter. Chris always gets to his knees when I try it on him, so perhaps Maurição’s method is the route to correcting my sloppy technique.

Next up we went through the armbar from guard, moving on to the triangle. Although that choke is a basic submission, I haven’t seen demonstrated that often, especially in comparison with the armbar. Maurição showed it off your opponent’s attempted guard pass. First, you grab their arm and pull it right across your body and close to your leg, swivelling as if your going for an armbar. Your calf then moves up behind their neck, using your heel to push the leg right across (as opposed to your toes: the heel tenses your calf muscle, which in turn makes the grip tighter). Grabbing your ankle (again, not your foot, as that could result in injuring yourself), pull it towards you until you can slip the other leg on top, locking that ankle into the back of your knee. Squeeze your legs and raise your hips for the choke.

Interestingly, Maurição expressly stated that you shouldn’t grab their head and pull down, which I had thought was a standard way of finishing the technique. The triangle was tight enough that I found I didn’t need to pull on the head: then again, my triangle has always been terrible. I’ve got armbars, kimuras and Americanas in sparring before, but never managed to finish a triangle. Maurição’s detailed demonstration today should hopefully result in improvement on my part.

Sparring started with guard passage. I was about to start a stack pass on Chet, when Maurição motioned me to stand up. At first I thought I’d done something wrong (Maurição will quite often stop you to correct technique), but turned out one of the recent female beginners needed someone lighter to roll with.

I’m not sure how to spell her name, but it sounded like ‘Joy-amma’, or possibly ‘Joy-emma’: either way, Brazilian, as Maurição was talking to her in Portuguese. As she’s still fairly new, I was able to try a few different sweeps, mainly the elevator. I also went for a flower sweep at one point, but still not quite landing that one: can but keep trying. I think she’s having similar problems to what has hindered my passing, in particular not leaving space (although she did manage to get round to side control a couple of times).

On top, I went for my normal tailbone break and stack pass routine, also trying the leg pin Maurição had demonstrated earlier. I think like my training partner, I was leaving a bit too much space: getting used to sliding into position is going to take some practice, but should eventually result in better technique. I also tried a standing pass later on, something I need to attempt more often. I’d especially like to perfect that standing tailbone thing Maurição showed a while ago, as that looked like a particularly effective way of opening the guard. However, this time I went for the basic step back slightly and push their knee off your leg method, which seemed to work ok, though I need to be careful to maintain my base.

Class finished with sparring under side control. I don’t think Joyama (must look up the spelling for that) was too familiar with side control (though she still got mount a couple of times), as she was leaving enough space for me to either shrimp back to guard or roll her right over, as she also tended to put her weight too far forward. I was reminded again that I need to bridge more in order to make space (another lesson from Bristol), rather than just getting into position and not doing anything with it. I had a go at getting double underhooks then rolling my partner over, but I forgot to bridge and rock first, meaning I didn’t have sufficient leverage.

The rolling wasn’t too intensive, but I wasn’t feeling 100% at the end of the session, so decided to leave the advanced class until tomorrow (presuming I feel better by Thursday). Nathan got his third stripe today, which was cool as he’s another of my regular sparring partners: will be good to have more fellow white belts in the advanced class.

I had meant to pick up my bronze medal from Pippa today, but left it too late as she’d already gone to join the class. Will have to remember to get it tomorrow. Its amusing that I got a medal for losing, but nevertheless a good way to commemorate my first competition, and also motivate me to do better next time. I may put my name down for the gi tournament in Reading this September, but I want to be certain of transport to and from the venue. Also, need to check my gf doesn’t mind me popping off to another comp: I don’t think she’d mind too much if it’s a while off, but 30th September is kinda near, and weekends are the main time we get together.

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