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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

29 August 2007

29/08/2007 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #83

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Maurição Gomes, London, UK - 29/08/2007Advanced

I felt sufficiently ok for the advanced class, unlike a fortnight ago when I dragged myself home after the beginners. The first technique was a little confusing, but I think it was a defence against a single-leg. As they go for the takedown (with a leg and an arm wrapped round), you reach back between your legs and grab the trouser of the leg they’ve got curled around your limb. You also grab the back of their gi. Pulling up on their leg, fall parallel by their side, still holding their leg, then push on their knee with your outside leg. This will provide space to bring your leg out and round, so you can then move into side control.

Maurição then went through a variation where you press heavily on their leg with your knee, also pulling up on their gi collar. Drag their other leg behind you, then swing all the way over with the leg you had been using to drive down into them. Switch your base, finishing up in side control. That was then followed by a basic half-guard escape, if I recall correctly.

In specific sparring, which this time was guard passage, I just tried to keep posture and work my defence. I made some attempt at passing guard, with my favoured (but increasingly less successful) tailbone guard break, but generally worked to try and keep my back straight, head up and base solid. I also need to watch my arm, which I occasionally left too far forward, meaning I was very vulnerable to a submission. I was eventually swept each time, but hopefully it helped to some small degree in my sensitivity to submission attempts. Then again, I was sparring blue belts and higher, so they would have been going easy on me anyway.

I only rolled twice once we got the end of class sparring, but that was largely because the room was stuffed with people (though admittedly I’m prone to slacking if given the opportunity). First I sparred Dominique, as in the beginners class, and once again found myself mostly in half-guard, or alternately spinning about trying to recover guard. I had a go at the windscreen wiper sweep Ciaran showed me, but Dominique’s elbow wasn’t really far enough out, so I should have tried for a better set-up first.

I could do with practicing more sweeps from half-guard, given that I’m ending up in that position so frequently, or preferably, methods for recovering full guard from there. At the moment, I either try and just drive my knee through, bounce around attempting to make space or lie there waiting for an opportunity. I need to look back through my log to remind myself of the potentially useful related techniques we’ve been shown, like the sweep Maurição demonstrated where you lift them back into your closed guard.

At the same time, I mustn’t forget to work the basics, like the elbow escape and upa. While half-guard is a tempting position to try for, its pretty pointless if I can’t do the fundamentals, as that means as soon as I spar somebody good at passing half-guard, I’m screwed. Not to mention my half-guard is largely of the noobtastic ‘cling on desperately and hope’ variety.

Like in the beginners, my escapes from underneath side control and mount weren’t up to snuff, particularly when it comes to making space. Same thing happened with Nathan, when I spent even more time in half-guard, Nathan tending to dominate on top. Both he and Dominique are becoming much tougher sparring partners (not that I ever had an easy time against them, but its significantly harder now).

Might also help if I was more aggressive when pulling guard, rather than ending up in either half-guard or a sloppy open guard. Though that’s still better than the previous position I ended up in during advanced class, which was in somebody’s guard after which I immediately got swept. On the other hand, I could try being more forceful in driving for the top position: at present I’m heavily leaning towards guard and half-guard, so I need to be careful I’m not neglecting other parts of BJJ.

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